What Are Grades Made Of?
AbstractThe term "grade inflation" covers a multitude of phenomena, some of which are even alleged to be sins. Continuing increases in average grades have been widely documented in many universities over the last several decades. Also widely documented, and often associated with grade inflation, are systematic differences in grade levels by field of study, with a common belief that the sciences and math grade harder than the social sciences, which in turn grade harder than the humanities -- and that economics behaves more like the natural sciences than like the social sciences. The general persistence of these relative differences in grades seem to us to be more interesting and more difficult to explain than the persistence of modest grade inflation in general, and they are the principal focus of this paper. Why, for example, should average grades in English be much higher than average grades in chemistry? And what is going on when relative grades change, when a department's grading practices change markedly relative to other departments? We explore such questions using detailed data on grades at the University of Michigan from Fall 1992 through Winter 2008.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.
Volume (Year): 23 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Rebecca Summary & William Weber, 2012. "Grade inflation or productivity growth? An analysis of changing grade distributions at a regional university," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 95-107, August.
- Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon & Martin Ryan, 2011.
"The Role of Noncognitive Traits in Undergraduate Study Behaviours,"
201132, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
- Delaney, Liam & Harmon, Colm & Ryan, Martin, 2013. "The role of noncognitive traits in undergraduate study behaviours," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 181-195.
- Ehrenberg, Ronald G., 2010. "Analyzing the factors that influence persistence rates in STEM field, majors: Introduction to the symposium," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 888-891, December.
- Maria De Paola & Francesca Gioia, 2011. "Risk Aversion And Major Choice: Evidence From Italian Students," Working Papers 201107, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.