We know from previous survey research that teachers who hold high expectations for all of their students significantly increase the odds that those young people will go on to complete high school and college. One indicator of teachers’ expectations is their approach to grading—specifically, whether they subject students to more or less rigorous grading practices. Unfortunately, “grade inflation” is pervasive in U.S. high schools, as evidenced by rising GPAs even as SAT scores and other measures of academic performance have held stable or fallen. The result is that a “good” grade is no longer a clear marker of knowledge and skills.
Authored by American University’s Seth Gershenson, Great Expectations: The Impact of Rigorous Grading Practices on Student Achievement examines to what extent teachers’ grading standards affect student success. Specifically, this report investigates the following questions: