Putting Grades in Context
Concerns over grade inflation and disparities in grading practices have led institutions of higher education in the United States to adopt various grading reforms. An element common to several reforms is providing information on the distribution of grades in different courses. The main aims of such “grades in context” policies are to make grades more informative to transcript readers and to curb grade inflation. We provide a simple model to demonstrate that such policies can have complex effects on patterns of student course enrollment. These effects may lower the informativeness of some transcripts, increase the average grade, and lower welfare.
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