With the increase in competition of getting into top universities, high schools have had to adapt, often inflating their students’ grades. Grade inflation is an increase in students’ grade point averages, GPA, without a corresponding increase in quality of work.
Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Scheduling Andrey Aristov said, “Historically speaking, we’ve seen no grade inflation for a long time, but in the last 10 or so years we’ve seen a large uptick in grades here at Loyola.
“This uptick could be a result of the increase in the number of AP and honors classes and the increase in the quality of student work,” said Aristov.
Loyola offers 28 different Advanced Placement, or AP, classes. These classes offer a more rigorous workload than that of the regular classes and reward the student with an extra grade point. For example, a student in an AP class who gets a B would have the same GPA as a student in a regular class who gets an A. This boosts the student’s GPA, resulting in an overall higher average.
The administration has addressed this growing anomaly by informing the teachers of what is occurring at Loyola. In a meeting last year, the administration looked at the number of A’s given, the number of B’s given and the distribution of grades among teachers. The administration has neither restricted nor forced any of teachers to give out certain grades.
English teacher Thomas Marsh said, “As a teacher, I do not feel pressure to give out certain grades. I’m mindful of the fact that we are supported by the administration to give whatever grades we want.”
In addition to the increase in AP and honors courses now available, Loyola students tend to score higher than national averages on ACT, SAT and AP exams, regardless of GPA.
Marsh said, “Loyola students are typically high performing students, so when considered in a national context, I do believe that Loyola students tend toward the A, B and maybe C spectrum. There is a level of excellence here that is consistent, and I certainly don’t think the administration mandates that.”
Colleges throughout the country are conscious of grade inflation among high schools.
“Based on the information given to us, grade inflation can eventually harm the institution’s reputation if we start to see grade averages get too high. Then perhaps universities will not take our assessment as seriously,” said Marsh.
Counselor Jesse Rueter said, “I definitely think Loyola is not known for inflating grades. Although if you look at the numbers, grades are inflating here at Loyola, but our grades are not inflating at the same rapid rate as our peer institutions and other schools.”
“Yes, grades have inflated here over the last 20 years, but not to the degree that warrants any major change,” said Rueter.
Grade inflation is also affected by the discrepancy between teachers. Each teacher has different teaching styles, creating a different standards for certain grades.
Aristov said, “It is important that a student who does a particular amount of work or quality of work for a particular teacher in English 1 receives the exact same grade as another student who has a different teacher in the same subject. We are there in certain departments, but not in all departments.”