Grade Inflation and Course Choice
AbstractA conflict exists between the incentives offered to students and the institutional goal of increased science and math education. Students make their course choices in response to a powerful set of incentives: grades. These incentives have been systematically distorted by the grade inflation of the past 25 years. As a consequence of inflation, many universities have split into high- and low-grading departments. Economics, along with Chemistry and Math, tends to be low-grading. Art, English, Philosophy, Psychology, and Political Science tend to be high-grading. This paper presents evidence from nine colleges and universities that grade inflation has led to a divergence among departments in grading policies. We then discuss the results of an econometric study we conducted at Williams College of the influence of grading policies on course choice. The impact that differences in grading policies across departments have on the distribution of enrollments was also estimated, and policy implications of the findings are discussed.
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): 5 (1991)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Kiridaran Kanagaretnam & Robert Mathieu & Alex Thevaranjan, 2003. "An economic analysis of the use of student evaluations: implications for universities," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 1-13.
- Maria De Paola & Francesca Gioia, 2011. "Risk Aversion And Major Choice: Evidence From Italian Students," Working Papers 201107, UniversitÃ della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).
- Langbein, Laura, 2008. "Management by results: Student evaluation of faculty teaching and the mis-measurement of performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 417-428, August.
- Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner, 2013.
"A Major in Science? Initial Beliefs and Final Outcomes for College Major and Dropout,"
University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity
20134, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
- Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd R. Stinebrickner, 2014. "A Major in Science? Initial Beliefs and Final Outcomes for College Major and Dropout," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 426-472.
- Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd R. Stinebrickner, 2013. "A Major in Science? Initial Beliefs and Final Outcomes for College Major and Dropout," NBER Working Papers 19165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ewing, Andrew M., 2012. "Estimating the impact of relative expected grade on student evaluations of teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 141-154.
- Manuel Bagues & Mauro Sylos Labini & Natalia Zinovyeva, 2008. "Differential Grading Standards and University Funding: Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 2008-07, FEDEA.
- Karen E. Dynan & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1995. "The Underrepresentation of Women in Economics: A Study of Undergraduate Economics Students," NBER Working Papers 5299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mary R Hedges & Don Webber, 2012. "Using student evaluations to improve individual and department teaching qualities," Working Papers 20121205, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
- Marian Krajc & Andreas Ortmann, 2007.
"Are the Unskilled Really That Unaware? An alternative explanation,"
CERGE-EI Working Papers
wp325, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
- Krajc, Marian & Ortmann, Andreas, 2008. "Are the unskilled really that unaware? An alternative explanation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 724-738, November.
- Iris Franz, Wan-Ju, 2010. "Grade inflation under the threat of students' nuisance: Theory and evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 411-422, June.
- Rask, Kevin & Tiefenthaler, Jill, 2008. "The role of grade sensitivity in explaining the gender imbalance in undergraduate economics," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 676-687, December.
- Rask, Kevin, 2010. "Attrition in STEM fields at a liberal arts college: The importance of grades and pre-collegiate preferences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 892-900, December.
- William R. Johnson & Sarah Turner, 2009. "Faculty without Students: Resource Allocation in Higher Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 169-89, Spring.
- 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, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 95-107, August.
- repec:fth:prinin:348 is not listed on IDEAS
- Paul M. Anglin & Ronald Meng, 2000. "Evidence on Grades and Grade Inflation at Ontario's Universities," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(3), pages 361-368, September.
- AysegÃ¼l Sahin, 2004. "The incentive effects of higher education subsidies on student effort," Staff Reports, Federal Reserve Bank of New York 192, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Wan-Ju Iris Franz, 2007. "Grade Inflation under the Threat of Students' Nuisance: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 070806, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
- Kwang Soo Cheong, 2000. "Grade Inflation at the University of Hawaii-Manoa," Working Papers, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics 200002, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
- Ost, Ben, 2010. "The role of peers and grades in determining major persistence in the sciences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 923-934, December.
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.