Grade inflation: should we be concerned?

J Nurs Educ. 2004 Oct;43(10):475-8. doi: 10.3928/01484834-20041001-08.


Grade inflation is defined as an increase in grade point average without an associated increase in overall student ability. The literature supports the idea that grade inflation is rampant throughout higher education. Shoemaker and DeVos described the scope of the problem in higher education in general and note the lack of existing empirical information in nursing education. Given the perceived problem in faculties of nursing, the widespread nature of the issue of grade inflation across universities and colleges, and the lack of empirical data, understanding the nature of grade inflation is important. This article will discuss a study designed to investigate the extent to which grade inflation is an issue within a western Canadian faculty of nursing. Recommendations related to grade inflation are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Bias
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate* / standards
  • Educational Measurement / standards*
  • Emotions
  • Empathy
  • Faculty, Nursing* / organization & administration
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Manitoba
  • Motivation
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Students, Nursing / psychology