NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

C's a Thing of the Past on Report Cards

January 28, 2003

Educators admit grade inflation in the nation's high schools has become so rampant that a C-grade is almost unheard of. According to a nationwide study by the University of California at Los Angeles, students are studying less, but being rewarded with better grades than their predecessors.

  • Thirty-three percent of students say they spend six hours per week or more studying or doing homework -- the lowest proportion since researchers first asked the question in 1987 -- yet 46 percent of them managed to graduate with an A average in 2001.
  • Only 17 percent earned A's in 1968, while 44 percent did in 2000.

While students are increasingly using their computers and the Internet, it is unclear whether this has allowed them to complete their homework in less time, or whether the time students spend using the computer takes away from the time they could be spending on their studies, education specialists report.

  • Frequent use of personal computers hit a record 84 percent last year -- compared with 82 percent in 2001.
  • The proportion of students surfing the Internet for purposes other than studying or research rose from 52 percent in 2001 to 62 percent last year.

The UCLA survey is conducted annually and this year included roughly 282,000 freshmen at 437 universities.

Source: Ellen Sorokin, "High Schoolers Study Less, But Grades Rise," Washington Times, January 28, 2003.


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