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Grade Dropping: An Empirical Analysis


  • Ellen Sewell


It is a popular practice among college professors to drop the lowest component grade in computing the course grade. A benefit of this practice is the elimination of the need to evaluate excuses or administer make-up exams. The author uses data from a controlled experiment to examine the impact of such a policy on student behavior and course performance. The policy was found to have no significant impact on the decision to miss an exam or to "write off" an exam. However, performance on a comprehensive final exam was negatively and significantly affected by such a policy. In short, significant costs were identified that would offset the benefits of a grade-dropping policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Ellen Sewell, 2004. "Grade Dropping: An Empirical Analysis," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 24-34, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:35:y:2004:i:1:p:24-34
    DOI: 10.3200/JECE.35.1.24-34

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    Cited by:

    1. Raymond MacDermott, 2009. "The Effects of Dropping a Grade in Intermediate Macroeconomics," New York Economic Review, New York State Economics Association (NYSEA), vol. 40(1), pages 40-50.

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