Press Releases | General Education

Bursting the Grade Bubble

ACTA Releases Guide to Tackling Rampant Grade Inflation
February 18, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC—As study after study continues to find that grade inflation at universities nationwide shows no sign of abating, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni released today a short guide to help trustees rein in galloping A’s.

Measuring Up: The Problem of Grade Inflation and What Trustees Can Do was sent to the boards of more than 500 universities that are responsible for the education of nearly six million students. Harvard professor Harvey C. Mansfield, who has for many years protested grade inflation at his university, endorsed the report in a letter to trustees.

The guide brings together and assesses various strategies that universities across the country have adopted to address grade inflation. It concludes that the first step is to initiate a vigorous campus-wide conversation on the subject, as the University of Colorado recently did with success.

“Grade inflation hurts students by discouraging hard work, it hurts universities by lowering academic standards and it hurts employers by rendering transcripts worthless,” said ACTA president Anne D. Neal. “It’s time for trustees to act.”

In 2003, ACTA published the report Degraded Currency: The Problem of Grade Inflation, which concluded that grade inflation had reached epidemic proportions. It found that aside from a few exceptions, average GPAs have drastically increased over the past decades.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is an independent non-profit dedicated to academic freedom, academic quality and accountability. Since its founding in 1995, ACTA has counseled boards, educated the public and published reports about such issues as good governance, historical literacy, core curricula, the free exchange of ideas and accreditation in higher education.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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