Grade inflation: fact or myth?

Amelia L. Bello, Roger M. Valientes


Real grade inflation is the upward shift in grades without a similar rise in achievement (Kohn [2002]; Rosovsky and Hartley [2002]). It implies a decline in standards and obscures the role of grades as a signal of academic ability. Guskey [2003] believes that resolving the debate on grade inflation depends on clarifying the purpose/meaning of grades. Grades may be used either to discriminate among students or to reflect the degree to which students have learned. The research attempts to validate the presence of grade inflation in courses offered by the Department of Economics, University of the Philippines Los Baños. Using grades from 1986 to 2005, an upward trend is seen in 10 out of 18 courses. However, the source of this uptrend could not be exactly pinpointed. Further studies relating admission requirements, curricular changes, teaching evaluation/faculty complement, and mechanics of grading to the actual grades must be conducted.


JEL classification: A10, A22


grade inflation; grade standards

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.