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Grade Inflation: When A is for Average

Posted by Jed Applerouth, PhD on November 12, 2019 in Admissions, Education, Featured, Jed Said

At the recent IECA conference in Atlanta, I presented a session on grade inflation with admissions officers from Georgia Tech, Oglethorpe and Emory. We discussed the implications for admissions with so many applicants each year having steadily increasing GPAs. An A average is no longer a distinguishing factor for most applicants, and admissions officers have to work harder to discriminate between students, putting more weight on other achievement factors.

The rise in grades over time reflects a cultural change and a shift in our perception of what grades are supposed to measure. There was a time when Cs and Fs were not uncommon and As were relatively rare. That time has passed. We have shifted to a culture where As and Bs are the norm, Cs occur with decreasing frequency and Fs are rarely, if ever, given. 

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