NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Impact of Grading Standards on Student Achievement, Educational Attainment, and Entry-Level Earnings

Julian R. Betts, Jeff Grogger

NBER Working Paper No. 7875
Issued in September 2000
NBER Program(s):   CH   LS

Despite recent theoretical work and proposals from educational reformers, there is little empirical work on the effects of higher grading standards. In this paper we use data from the High School and Beyond survey to estimate the effects of grading standards on student achievement, educational attainment, and entry level earnings. We consider not only how grading standards affect average outcomes but also how they affect the distribution of educational gains by skill level and race/ethnicity. We find that higher standards raise test scores throughout the distribution of achievement, but that the increase is greatest toward the top of the test score distribution. Higher standards have no positive effect on educational attainment, however, and indeed have negative effects on high school graduation among blacks and Hispanics. We suggest a relative performance hypothesis to explain how higher standards may reduce educational attainment even as they increase educational achievement.

download in pdf format
   (145 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7875

Published: Betts, Julian R. & Grogger, Jeff, 2003. "The impact of grading standards on student achievement, educational attainment, and entry-level earnings," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 343-352, August. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Figlio and Lucas w7985 Do High Grading Standards Affect Student Performance?
Jacob and Lefgren w13514 The Effect of Grade Retention on High School Completion
Neumark and Wascher w12663 Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research
Figlio and Kenny w12627 Individual Teacher Incentives And Student Performance
Hanushek, Kain, and Rivkin w6691 Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us