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Grades Up but Test Scores Down

Doing well in high school is a very important step in anyone’s overall education progression. Those that do well in high school and get good grades will have a better chance of getting into a top college which could then lead to more career opportunities. Over the past twenty years, more and more students are getting better grades. However, a recent study has found that this may not necessarily mean that they are learning anything (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/07/17/easy-a-nearly-half-hs-seniors-graduate-average/485787001/).

The recent study pointed out that in 1998 about 39% of all high school students had a GPA with an A grade average. By the 2016, this level had increased to more than 47%. At the same time, the overall graduation rate for high school students is at an all-time high.
While this would seem to point to the fact that students are doing better in school and learning more, recent standardized test results point to the opposite. In fact, in the same time period the average SAT test score has fallen from 1,026 to 1,002, on the original 1,600 point scale.

The reason for this is not fully known, but the results have been fairly surprising. Most would have expected that the test scores would remain flat at a minimum. Many believe that this points to the fact that grade inflation is rampant in many areas across the country. This could help the average student graduate from high school with a higher GPA than they would have decades ago.

Another fact that was pointed out in the survey is that the highest level of grade inflation is taking place in larger schools in more affluent areas. At the same time, the average GPA of students in less affluent areas are seeing that their overall grades are about the same, but scores have ticked up.

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