Though I have been vaguely aware of the phenomenon of grade inflation based on anecdotal data, the discussion in our GRAD 5104 class was the first time that I heard this issue labeled and discussed directly. I have certainly been curious about the differences in grading between my parents’ time in college compared to my own and the seeming discrepancy between a “C” being “average” (which would seem to mean that the statistically the majority of grades received should be at or near a C) versus the overabundance of A’s and B’s given in so many classes.
A 2016 (Carter & Lara) article examines whether grade inflation is continuing to rise or has stabilized, as well as the significance of the terminology that is used to describe each letter grade. These authors pose the idea that if we pay more attention to the terms we use to define a letter grade, we may be able to stall or even repair the previous grade inflation that has occurred. They do also conclude that while grade inflation appears to be continuing, it may have reached a plateau rather than continuing to climb.
Since grade inflation is a relatively new idea to me, I have yet to form any strong ideas or opinions about the phenomenon. However, it does seem that there could be some deleterious effects if grade inflation continues. I would be interested to hear others’ comments about whether this is an issue that needs to be addressed, and if so, what can be done to impact it.
Carter, M. J., & Lara, P. Y. (2016). Grade Inflation in Higher Education: Is the End in Sight?. Academic Questions, 29(3), 346-353.