Grade Inflation in University Education Departments

From University of Missouri-Columbia economics professor Cory Koedel:

This paper formally documents a startling difference in the grading standards between education departments and other academic departments at universities – undergraduate students in education classes receive significantly higher grades than students in all other classes. This phenomenon cannot be explained by differences in student quality or structural differences across departments (i.e., differences in class sizes). Drawing on evidence from the economics literature, the differences in grading standards between education and non-education departments imply that undergraduate education majors, the majority of whom become teachers, supply substantially less effort in college than non-education majors. If the grading standards in education departments were brought in line with those found in other major academic departments, student effort would be expected to increase by at least 10-16 percent.

The graphs at the end of the paper are worth looking at even if you don’t read another line.

Hat Tip: Abhi Sivasailam.

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