It’s a given that some colleges and programs give more A’s than others, but according to data collected by Stuart Rojstaczer from about 230 schools, it seems that average GPAs have been increasing overall.
In the 1930s, the average GPA at American colleges and universities was about 2.35, a number that corresponds with data compiled by W. Perry in 1943. By the 1950s, the average GPA was about 2.52. GPAs took off in the 1960s with grades at private schools rising faster than public schools, lulled in the 1970s, and began to rise again in the 1980s at a rate of about 0.10 to 0.15 increase in GPA per decade. The grade inflation that began in the 1980s has yet to end.
This bump and difference in GPA carries with it implications:
These trends may help explain why private school students are disproportionately represented in Ph.D. study in science and engineering and why they tend to dominate admission into the most prestigious professional schools.
Read the full report here [pdf].
Does this mean teachers and professors have been higher grades, or have students gotten better at earning them?