Higher Education

, Volume 68, Issue 6, pp 1005–1023

A synergistic approach to turning the tide of grade inflation


DOI: 10.1007/s10734-014-9758-5

Cite this article as:
O’Halloran, K.C. & Gordon, M.E. High Educ (2014) 68: 1005. doi:10.1007/s10734-014-9758-5


Higher education in the United States is facing increasing demands for colleges and universities to demonstrate what students learn and that they are providing a high-quality education experience during the undergraduate years (Pascarealla et al. in Chang Mag High Learn 42(1):16–22, 2010). Despite evidence of the elevation of grades in higher education dating back to the 1970s, attempts to rein in this phenomenon have been largely unsuccessful (Nikolakakos et al. in Coll Univ 87(3):2–14 2012). It is our contention that attempts to reform grading have not succeeded because their focus is too narrow. After providing background information on the extent and causes of grade inflation, we will propose a synergistic approach to dealing with the problem of grade inflation.


Institutional change Grade inflation Educational reform Student learning Academic standards 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Education and Human ServicesMontclair State UniversityMontclairUSA
  2. 2.Rutgers Business SchoolNew BrunswickUSA

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