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

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Krause says having religious friends leads to gratitude, which is associated with better health

Work by Bailey and Dynarski on growing income gap in graduation rates cited in NYT

Johnston says marijuana use by college students highest in 30 years

Highlights

Martha Bailey and Nicolas Duquette win Cole Prize for article on War on Poverty

Michigan's graduate sociology program tied for 4th with Stanford in USN&WR rankings

Jeff Morenoff makes Reuters' Highly Cited Researchers list for 2014

Susan Murphy named Distinguished University Professor

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Sep 22
Paula Fomby (Michigan), Family Complexity, Siblings, and Children's Aggressive Behavior at School Entry

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