Selected Moments of the 20th Century

A work in progress edited by Daniel Schugurensky
Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)


Arvo Juola raises concerns over grade inflation in higher education 

This year, Professor Arvo Juola  (Michigan State University) releases an article on a pioneering study of an incipient problem that would continue affecting institutions of higher education in the United States and other countries over the following decades: grade inflation. 

Below is the abstract of his article "Grade Inflation in Higher Education: What Can Or Should We Do?":  

ABSTRACT: Data from a 1974 national survey of 134 colleges was presented to verify that grade point averages had increased 404 points from 1965 to 1973. Approximately two-thirds of the increase occurred since 1968 and the 1968 to 1970 period showed the highest average annual increments. Essentially, the same pattern and magnitude of change was revealed for college subgroups classified on the basis of size, geographic area, curricular emphasis, degrees offered, and public-private. Possible actions to counter the trend were cited but rational initial steps proposed more research to identify the scope of the problem and reasons for the movement. Dialogue to develop an institutional or unit perspective was considered an essential phase. Grade inflation was considered to be but symptom of a broader problem; namely, of an increased concern for student views and subsequent instructional innovations to adapt to these views. (Author)

Over the next quarter century, the problem persisted. For a thorough examination of this situation, please see the very informative article “Evaluation and the Academy: Are We Doing the Right Thing?: Grade Inflation and Letters of Recommendation” by Henry Rosovsky and Matthew Hartley published by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002.


ERIC document ED129917


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