Journal of Academic Ethics

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 187–197

What is Ethical About Grade Inflation and Coursework Deflation?


    • E. J. Ourso College of BusinessLouisiana State University
  • Ronald E. Flinn
    • College of Business AdministrationCreighton University
  • Kenneth J. Reichelt
    • E. J. Ourso College of BusinessLouisiana State University

DOI: 10.1007/s10805-010-9117-9

Cite this article as:
Crumbley, D.L., Flinn, R.E. & Reichelt, K.J. J Acad Ethics (2010) 8: 187. doi:10.1007/s10805-010-9117-9


Recent research questions the validity of student evaluation of teaching (SET) data to measure teaching and learning. Yet, there is extensive use of this instrument around the world, which arguably contributes to a decline in the rigor of college classes. This performance measurement has lead to both unethical grade inflation and coursework deflation as faculty try to entertain students rather than educating them. These unethical teaching techniques used by many faculties are on the same plane as the unethical practices of executives “cooking their books.” Ethical and unethical SET management techniques of professors are discussed herein, along with incentive and structural pander pollution of administrators and universities.


Student evaluation of teachersPander pollutionGrade inflationDysfunctional behaviorImpression managementEarnings management

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010