Grade Inflation under the Threat of Students' Nuisance: Theory and Evidence
Wan-Ju Iris Franz
This study examines a channel, studentsâ€™ nuisance, to explain grade inflation. â€œStudentsâ€™ nuisanceâ€ is defined by â€œstudentsâ€™ pestering the professors for better grades.â€ This paper contains two parts: the game theoretic model and the empirical tests. The model shows that the potential threat of studentsâ€™ nuisance can induce the professors to inflate grades. Ceteris paribus, a student is more likely to study little and to pester the professor for a better grade if: 1. the professor is lenient; 2. the studying cost is high; 3. the reward from pestering is high; 4. the cost of pestering is low. My original survey data show that 70%+ of professors think that studentsâ€™ nuisance is â€œannoyingâ€ and â€œcostly in terms of time, effort, and energy.â€ Regression results indicate that themore the student values the grade, the higher the studying cost, and the more likely the student is to pester the professor.
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