School of Education
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
Mandatory, grade inflation, secondary schools, teachers
Attig, Jason Ashby, "A Phenomenological Study of Secondary Teachers' Perceptions Regarding Grade Inflation in Atlantic State" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3052.
The purpose of this hermeneutic-phenomenology study was to describe secondary teachers’ experiences with end-of-course mandatory grade inflation in an Atlantic State school district. The research focuses on teacher experiences, experiences defined as the conceived ideals influenced by factors that impact teacher attitudes concerning the mandatory inflation of students’ grades. Silverman’s extension of social constructivism theory guided this study by exploring the central research question, what are secondary teacher experiences with end-of-course mandatory grade inflation policies in Atlantic State? Teacher experiences are defined as the conceived ideals influenced by factors that impact teacher attitudes concerning the mandatory inflation of students’ grades. The sample pool consisted of 12 teachers at three secondary schools within the Big Mountain School District. Data was obtained via semi-structured interviews, journaling, and focus groups and was analyzed using Moustakas’s phenomenological reduction process. Findings reveal that teachers strongly believe that grade inflation is supported at the administrator and district level to appease local communities and to avoid being on the list of state-managed schools due to poor performance. Teachers also strongly believe that the grade inflation policy is harming the district’s most vulnerable students by advancing them even though they have not demonstrated sufficient knowledge acquisition during a school year.