Nominal GPA and Real GPA: A Simple Adjustment that Compensates for Grade Inflation

Posted: 9 Aug 2004 Last revised: 6 Jan 2008

See all articles by James Felton

James Felton

Central Michigan University - Department of Finance and Law

Peter T. Koper

Central Michigan University - Department of English Language & Literature

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Abstract

Grade inflation is a long-standing problem whose seriousness is demonstrated by a wide variety of studies of grade distributions. A few institutions have changed the information on their transcripts in an effort to account for it. Proposals to index grades have been largely unsuccessful for a variety of reasons. A simple index, the Real GPA, is calculated as a ratio of the individual student's GPA to the average GPA of the class and expressed numerically on the same scale as the inflated nominal grade. Recorded on transcripts next to the Nominal GPA, the real GPA makes the relative degree of inflation in a transcript immediately visible and creates positive pressures on academic standards.

Keywords: Teaching, evaluation, student opinion, grade inflation

JEL Classification: I21, J44, M51

Suggested Citation

Felton, James and Koper, Peter T., Nominal GPA and Real GPA: A Simple Adjustment that Compensates for Grade Inflation. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol. 30, No. 6, pp. 561-569, December 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=572981

James Felton (Contact Author)

Central Michigan University - Department of Finance and Law ( email )

Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
989-774-3269 (Phone)
989-774-6456 (Fax)

Peter T. Koper

Central Michigan University - Department of English Language & Literature ( email )

Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
United States

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