Purdue Professors Analyze Past Grade Data To Investigate Grade Inflation

May 17, 2017

The average Purdue GPA has risen from 2.8 to nearly 3.1 over the past 30 years.
Credit Purdue University

Faculty members are poring over past academic records to investigate whether grade inflation occurs at Purdue.

Agriculture professor Levon Esters says the investigation came at the urging of Purdue President Mitch Daniels.

Esters says besides GPA records, the investigative committee has to consider other factors that could be affecting grades – such as Purdue’s changing approach to student academic services, or increased parent involvement.

“We believe very strongly in student success and academic success, so I think that could be an issue,” he says. “I do think that it’s the profile of the student – you’re bringing students that have a higher academic profile.”

Last fall, Daniels told the University Senate that Purdue’s average GPA has risen a third of a point over the last 30 years. The data has been provided to the committee by the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment and Effectiveness.

But Professor Esters says GPA may only be one part of the picture. He says they haven’t analyzed enough of those records to draw conclusions yet.

“No one knows what we will find at the end of this tunnel, if you will,” Esters says. “So, we’ll just have to wait and see, analyze the data, come up with some findings and conclusions, discuss as a committee – make sense of it.”

He says he hopes the committee will have a report ready for the University by the end of the fall semester.

After that, he says the President and Provost may decide to act on their conclusions.