Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Thompson says criminal justice policies led to creation of prison gangs like Aryan Brotherhood

Schmitz finds job loss before retirement age contributes to weight gain, especially in men

Kimball says Fed should get comfortable with "backtracking"

Highlights

Overview of Michigan's advanced research computing resources, Monday, June 27, 9-10:30 am, BSRB - Kahn Auditorium

U-M's Data Science Initiative offers expanded consulting services via CSCAR

Elizabeth Bruch promoted to Associate Professor

Susan Murphy elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Next Brown Bag

PSC Brown Bags
will resume fall 2016

What Are Grades Made Of?

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Killewald, Alexandra Achen, and Paul Courant. 2009. "What Are Grades Made Of?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, 23(3): 77-92.

The term "grade inflation" covers a multitude of phenomena, some of which are even alleged to be sins. Continuing increases in average grades have been widely documented in many universities over the last several decades. Also widely documented, and often associated with grade inflation, are systematic differences in grade levels by field of study, with a common belief that the sciences and math grade harder than the social sciences, which in turn grade harder than the humanities -- and that economics behaves more like the natural sciences than like the social sciences. The general persistence of these relative differences in grades seem to us to be more interesting and more difficult to explain than the persistence of modest grade inflation in general, and they are the principal focus of this paper. Why, for example, should average grades in English be much higher than average grades in chemistry? And what is going on when relative grades change, when a department's grading practices change markedly relative to other departments? We explore such questions using detailed data on grades at the University of Michigan from Fall 1992 through Winter 2008.

DOI:10.1257/089533009789176799 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2801426. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next