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Grade Inflation in the United States

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,583 times Debate No: 53142
Debate Rounds (1)
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In some European schools, fewer than 10% of students get A's. Is there grade inflation in the US? Has this caused the "A" to lose value, or do students actually deserve the "A" they receive? Why does the United States get so many "A"'s, yet they are not the #1 academic nation?


Actually a typical American school is built around a rank based grading system so that the average grade for students is in the 70-80 range. Teachers often curve the grades to fit this model.


Percentage of students receiving grade


Top 7%


Next 24%


Middle 38%


Next 24%


Bottom 7%

Rank based grading is the prevalent system in American schools because it directly counteracts grade inflation. It also gives an indicator as to how well a student is doing compared with other students and is known to push students to perform better by appealing to their competitive nature. Studies have shown that rank based grading produces better results including one by Todd Cherry and Larry Ellis which is detailed in International Review of Economics Education, volume 4, issue 1 (2005).
( this link shows an excerpt from the study that should demonstrate the benefits of a rank based grading system.

There is also an aspect of standards based grading (students being compared to a standard of what educators, businesspeople, parents, and other stakeholders have determined to be what every student should know and be able to do) designed to test the competence of students. Examples of this would include the SAT and ACT but those are both excellent at making sure it is only a small percentage of the test takers who can ace these and they are not a recurring grade students get throughout High School and Middle School.

Obviously the American education system is designed to prevent the majority of students from getting A's to prevent grade inflation.

(C:\Users\owner\Documents\Structure of the US Education System.doc)-this is from the US Department of Education.

Can also be found at (

If you were referring to Elementary School according to Wikipedia this is because "grades may represent rewards from teachers for being friendly, prepared, compliant, a good school citizen, well organized and hard-working rather than mastering the subject material."

Debate Round No. 1
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by graceek 7 years ago
hey duff!!!! :-) <3333
Posted by graceek 7 years ago
hey duff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) <3
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by OliveJuice 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Tied. Spelling & Grammar: Both were decent in this area. Arguments: Went to Pro for well-thought-out and completely structured arguments that are highly convincing. Sources: Pro is the only one to have presented sources at all, reliable or not.

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