Grade Inflation

Institutional Factors

  • New models of governance
    governance of academia has seen corporate models replacing traditional orientations: new emphasis on efficiency, service provision, accountability, rather than intellectual rigor
  • Elite institutions
    self-reinforcing sense of superiority at top tier institutions leads to grade inflation; others institutions follow lead of elite colleges
  • Funding
    increased emphasis on accountability leads to greater emphasis on admissions, retention, graduation rates; which in turn places pressure on institutions not to scare students away with too high standards
  • Student evaluations
    the implications of student evaluations for pressure on instructors is obvious; in 1973 only 30% of institutions used student evaluations; today they are essentially universal
  • Instructor workload
    publish or perish environment, larger classes leads to workload pressures; easier to give high grades since low grades require more marker comments, effort advising students, etc.

© Robert Runté 2005. This site last updated: May 3, 2005