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The impact of grade ceilings on student grades and course evaluations: Evidence from a policy change

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  • Gorry, Devon

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effects of a grade ceiling policy on grade distributions and course evaluations. Results show that the effects vary based upon the level of the grade ceiling. A ceiling set at 2.8 decreased overall grade point average (GPA) by reducing the number of As and Bs and increasing the number of lower grades given. This low ceiling also increased the number of withdrawals and significantly lowered course evaluations. A ceiling set at 3.2 decreased overall GPA by reducing the number of As and increasing the number of Bs given, but the effects on course evaluations were smaller in magnitude and insignificant.

Suggested Citation

  • Gorry, Devon, 2017. "The impact of grade ceilings on student grades and course evaluations: Evidence from a policy change," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 133-140.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:56:y:2017:i:c:p:133-140
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2016.12.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. De Witte, Kristof & Rogge, Nicky, 2011. "Accounting for exogenous influences in performance evaluations of teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 641-653, August.
    2. Braga, Michela & Paccagnella, Marco & Pellizzari, Michele, 2014. "Evaluating students’ evaluations of professors," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 71-88.
    3. Clifford Nowell & Richard M. Alston, 2007. "I Thought I Got an A! Overconfidence Across the Economics Curriculum," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(2), pages 131-142, April.
    4. William E. Becker & William Bosshardt & Michael Watts, 2012. "How Departments of Economics Evaluate Teaching," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 325-333, July.
    5. Michael A. McPherson, 2006. "Determinants of How Students Evaluate Teachers," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(1), pages 3-20, January.
    6. Beleche, Trinidad & Fairris, David & Marks, Mindy, 2012. "Do course evaluations truly reflect student learning? Evidence from an objectively graded post-test," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 709-719.
    7. William Bosshardt & Michael Watts, 2001. "Comparing Student and Instructor Evaluations of Teaching," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(1), pages 3-17, January.
    8. Krautmann, Anthony C. & Sander, William, 1999. "Grades and student evaluations of teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 59-63, February.
    9. Paul Isely & Harinder Singh, 2005. "Do Higher Grades Lead to Favorable Student Evaluations?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 29-42, January.
    10. Scott E. Carrell & James E. West, 2010. "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 409-432, June.
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    12. Kristin F. Butcher & Patrick J. McEwan & Akila Weerapana, 2014. "The Effects of an Anti-grade-Inflation Policy at Wellesley College," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 189-204, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Veronica Minaya, 2020. "Do Differential Grading Standards Across Fields Matter for Major Choice? Evidence from a Policy Change in Florida," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 61(8), pages 943-965, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    A22 I23 J24;

    JEL classification:

    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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