Date of Award

Summer 6-20-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Christopher Maddox, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Karen Ellefson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Cherri Barker, Ed.D.


There exists a lack of communication among teachers about grade inflation. The problem is teachers do not understand the consequences of grade inflation. This instrumental case study is important because without meaningful grading, students are less prepared to function in today’s society and teachers are subject to high levels of scrutiny and criticism from all stakeholders involved. The purpose of this instrumental case study is to explore how freshmen teachers perceive grade inflation within a southeast high school. The three main research questions involve how freshmen teachers perceive grade inflation, why freshmen teachers should discuss grade inflation, and what shared experiences do freshmen teachers have about grade inflation. The data triangulation in this instrumental case study involves a qualitative Qualtrics survey administered to all 12 teacher participants, a one-on-one interview with seven out of 12 teacher participants, and a focus group session with the remaining 5 out of 12 teacher participants. Based on the Qualtrics survey, 11 out of 12 teachers in this instrumental case study inflate their grades. The majority of teachers in this instrumental case study express pressure from both administration and coaches to inflate grades when students are not meeting the requirements of passing a class on their own merits. After analyzing the Qualtrics survey data, how students perform in their classes is not an indicator of how they will perform on their state standardized exams. In an ever-changing, global community, we cannot ignore teacher perceptions of grade inflation. These teacher perceptions are critical to our system of educating students.

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