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Grade Inflation


Article by Kimberly Selchan

Photography by Kimberly Selchan

I want to deep dive into grade inflation to understand the pros and cons. Also, to share an opposing view to grade inflation, which is grade deflation.

Grade inflation increases the overall average grade of a class thereby, blurring the line to distinguish between high-performing students and average students. Here is a common grade composition for students: Test or final project = 40%, homework =20%, quizzes = 30%, and class participation = 10%. With parents looking at exceptionally high grades, they could be left wondering if their children truly merit the grades (but it’s alright, your children can still achieve amazing things and excel in college despite how they are graded!

“Recall, that grade inflation refers to the phenomenon of awarding students higher grades than they earned.”

Some of the reasons for grade inflation could be:

Increased competition between schools and districts

Competition among schools could drive grade inflation, and having a high average could position schools better. Higher grades and higher graduation rates attract student enrollment and state funding.

Source of motivation for students

Improved grades encourage students on their academic journey and can be a source of motivation to go further.


Many parents of children with high grades come to us for tutoring and test preparation to prepare for college. It can be very surprising and discouraging when a student who maintains close to a 4.0 GPA attains mediocre or low SAT and ACT scores. This brings awareness that students do not recall what they have learned and seemingly mastered in prior years.

Changes in Pedagogies

New assessment methods transcend rote learning and recognize skills that students will need to succeed beyond traditional academic subjects like collaboration, life-long learning, and original thinking leading to a broader grading system.

Contrary to grade inflation (for lack of a better term) is grade deflation, which is the allocation of lower grades to students mainly to uphold some sort of academic excellence for a class or institution. Schools can have a perception that if it is more difficult to get an A in their institution then they are of a higher standard or encourage students to study harder. However, this is false and has a negative impact on students turning their attention to attaining good grades and missing the point of learning, which is a positive behavior change. Grades are supposed to provide a standard measurement of students’ learning. They are a way for students to see what they have learned and where they need to improve and grade inflation or deflation could deprive students of that critical factor; however, tutoring is very useful in mitigating the the effects of grade inflation. According to Educationist Elizabeth Sweger, Tutoring is one way to help those concerned about grades develop a better sense of where a student stands and build a better foundation of skills for that student’s future”.

At Tutor Doctor, we are sure to deliver a tailored approach to learning to each student and ensure we deliver on our promise to every client but, don’t take my word for it here is a quote from the feedback from one of our dear clients’

“Tudor Doctor professional staff analyzes each of our clients to meet them where they are. Their service plans are catered to assist the whole child, and they understand the importance of knowing how to use mindfulness and coping techniques for Severely Emotionally Disturbed Children”
  • All About Kids- BHRF

Kimberly Selchan, Resilient One, and Tutor Doctor Owner

My mission: “To help today's youth become tomorrow's successful adults”.

If you want to help your child or teen discover and pursue their career passion, or you are a provider of these services, don't hesitate to get in touch with me. We can stand together in the community to support the next generation of adults!

Tutor Doctor Chandler-Gilbert

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