This setting lets you change the way you view articles. You can choose to have articles open in a dialog window, a new tab, or directly in the same window.
Open in Dialog
Open in New Tab
Open in same window

Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 23 No. 3 (Summer 2009)

Expand

Quick Tools:

Print Article Summary
Export Citation
Sign up for Email Alerts Follow us on Twitter

Explore:

JEP - All Issues


What Are Grades Made Of?

Article Citation

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

DOI: 10.1257/jep.23.3.77

Abstract

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.

Article Full-Text Access

Full-text Article (Complimentary)

Authors

Achen, Alexandra C. (U MI)
Courant, Paul N. (U MI)

JEL Classifications

I23: Higher Education and Research Institutions

Comments

View Comments on This Article (0) | Login to post a comment


Journal of Economic Perspectives


Quick Tools:

Sign up for Email Alerts

Follow us on Twitter

Subscription Information
(Institutional Administrator Access)

Explore:

JEP - All Issues

Virtual Field Journals


AEA Member Login:


AEAweb | AEA Journals | Contact Us