College Grade Inflation: Does ‘A’ Stand For ‘Average’?

Career College Central summary:

  • The average GPA at four-year colleges and universities has risen from 2.52 in the 1950s to 3.11 in 2006. And according to Stuart Rojstaczer, a former Duke University professor and founder of, GPAs only keep rising.
  • At some colleges, Rojstaczer says, over 50% of the grades given are A's. And while students may be happy, it begs the question: What does an A grade mean?
  • According to Rojstaczer, grade inflation began in earnest during the Vietnam War era — when students who flunked out of college were drafted into the army. Professors began awarding high grades to prevent students from being deployed. When the war ended, grades went back down. But in the 1980s, grades began to slowly rise again.
  • Rojstaczer claims that students' evaluations of courses contribute to the uptick in GPA. Evaluations influence tenure, promotion and retention for college professors. Professors therefore often feel pressured to please their students.

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