Educational Research and Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Educ. Res. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1990-3839
  • DOI: 10.5897/ERR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 1813

Full Length Research Paper

The changing dialogue on grade inflation: A graduate education program’s look at grading in higher education

Oluwatoyin Adenike Akinde
  • Oluwatoyin Adenike Akinde
  • Department of Graduate Teacher Education, College of Education, Concordia University St. Paul, United States.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 16 July 2019
  •  Accepted: 04 September 2019
  •  Published: 31 March 2020


This research was based on a mixed-method design. The terms assessment and evaluation have a deeply seated significance in the matters of curriculum, learning outcomes, and instructional strategies, to name a few. What has been established through the literature is that grading in higher education is surrounded by many controversies, one of which includes what criteria is graded. However, one area in which there was a convergence is that grade is an indication of student’s mastery of the subject, that is, what student understand, know, and can do. In the process of programmatic assessment, a department of graduate education increased its grading scale. The before and after data, which was the student's grade, was evaluated to determine if the increase in grading scale (treatment) had an impact on the frequency of students who earned A in a particular course. The result shows that the treatment did not have an impact on the number of students that earned A. In a further analysis, it was evident that students in the graduate program advanced their effort and employed a greater level of rigor in addressing course assignment after the grading scale was increased. What was also established from this study is that the use of rubric as a grading tool fostered transparency, which contributes to the dialogue on grade inflation and adult learners.   


Key words: Grading, assessment, evaluation, rubric, adult learner.