(EDUCATION VIEWS) – On November 8, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute held an event which dealt with the issue of grade inflation in U.S. schools. The National Assessment on Educational Progress (NAEP) has shown that only about a third of high school seniors are academically prepared for higher education. This is in spite of the fact that some of these students have GPA’s that would indicate otherwise. Adam Tyner, associate director of research at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Michael Hurwitz, Senior Director of the College Board, and Bailey Cato Czupryk, a Partner at TNTP, discussed the causes and consequences of inflated grades and possible solutions.
Tyner discussed the results of a study by Fordham entitled Grade Inflation in North Carolina’s High Schools. This study looked at the grades students received in Algebra in North Carolina high schools. He said: “…grades can be misleading… for the superior level-really the mastery level-only about a fifth of A students meet that high bar…” and “…a majority of B students don’t meet the college and career ready standard and more than a third of them don’t even meet the simple proficiency standard.” The study also showed that median cumulative GPAs have increased, and this has occurred primarily in affluent schools.