Grade inflation threatens the integrity of college grades as indicators of academic achievement. In this study, we contribute to the literature on grade inflation by providing the first estimate of the size of grade increases at the student level between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. By controlling for student characteristics and course-taking patterns, we are able to eliminate alternative explanations for grade increases. Our results suggest that grade inflation has occurred across decades, at a small yet non-negligible rate. Suggestions for future research are discussed.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the National Council on Measurement in Education.
- Grade increases
- Grade inflation
- Instructor leniency
- Levels of analysis