Grade Inflation: Does a 4.0 GPA Mean Less Than it Used too?


Paxton Scott

From 1999 tp 2009, the average GPA increased .33 points for high school

 What is grade inflation?

Grade inflation is when the average GPA is skewed artificially high as a result of easy assessments or teacher leniency. Grade Inflation occurs as a result of three main reasons: schools want to look good in comparison to other schools, teachers do not want to hurt students chances of participating in sports or getting into college, and for teachers giving better grades can sometimes be easier than dealing with backlash from students and parents over bad grades.

What are the effects of grade inflation?

There are a number of outcomes from grade inflation —  both good and bad. The positive effects are that low performing students might be more likely to get into college and be more likely to continue schooling because of higher perceived success. However, both these effects only continue as long as grades continue to inflate. Once grades stop inflating, perception would catch up with reality and these potentially positive effects would cease to exist.

Conversely, there are a number of negative effects resulting from grade inflation. First, grade inflation forces colleges to focus more on standardized test results instead of GPA. This can hurt students who do not score as well on standardized test.

Grade Inflation also makes it more difficult for high performing students to stand out. Fifty years ago, graduating high school with a 4.0 was a feat that only an elite few managed to pull off. Comparatively, roughly 13.7% of DHS’s 2014 graduating class were honored with white robes as a result of having a 4.0 or better.