e-book Power in the Highest Degree: Professionals and the Rise of a New Mandarin Order

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Academic inflation leads employers to put more and more faith into certificates and diplomas awarded on the basis of other people's assessments. Academic inflation is similar to inflation of paper currencies where too much currency chases too few commodities. Credential inflation refers to the devaluation of educational or academic credentials over time and a corresponding decrease in the expected advantage given a degree holder in the job market.

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Credential inflation is thus similar to price inflation , and describes the declining value of earned certificates and degrees. Credential inflation has been recognized as an enduring trend over the past century in Western higher education , and is also known to have occurred in ancient China and Japan, and at Spanish universities of the 17th century. A good example of credential inflation is the decline in the value of the US high school diploma since the beginning of the 20th century, when it was held by less than 10 percent of the population.

At the time, high school diplomas attested to middle-class respectability, and for many years even provided access to managerial level jobs. More recently, however, the high school diploma barely qualifies the graduate for manual or menial service work. One indicator of credential inflation is the relative decline in the wage differential between those with college degrees and those with only high school diplomas.

A predictable result of credential inflation is a glut of the credential markets and overschooling. It is estimated that 30 percent of the college graduates in will be forced into jobs that do not require a degree.

The causes of credential inflation are controversial, but it is generally thought to be the result of a strong push for education in the s and 90's along with increased technological access to higher education. This has resulted in entry level jobs requesting a bachelor's or higher degree when they were once open to high school graduates. In particular, the internal dynamics of credential inflation threaten higher education initiatives around the world because credential inflation appears to operate independently of market demand for credentials.

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This is because employers take it for granted that degrees are positively correlated with greater ability. See Michael Spence's job-market signalling model. Although credential inflation has been acknowledged for years by institutions of higher education, a clear solution or consensus on how to address the problem has not yet been found or agreed upon.

Academic institutions are generally expected to provide education to qualified applicants who desire admission, and many economists and politicians find the idea of government regulations on private hiring practices to be a large overstep in combating the issue. The push for more Americans to get a higher education rests on the idea that those without a college degree are unemployable. Many critics of higher education, in turn, complain that the "college completion" movement is what feeds credential inflation, with employers imposing a degree requirement for many jobs that never required one simply because they can.

Credential inflation is a highly controversial topic. There is very little consensus on how, or if, this type of inflation impacts higher education, the job market, and salaries. Some common concerns discussed in this topic are:. Grade inflation is the tendency to award progressively higher academic grades for work that would have received lower grades in the past. It is also an issue in Canada and many other nations, especially Australia and New Zealand. Princeton University took a rare stand against grade inflation in , and publicly announced a policy designed to curb it.

The standard by which the grading record of each department or program is evaluated is the percentage of "A" grades given over the previous three years. Credentialism and educational inflation Due to credentialism and educational inflation, job candidates are required to obtain higher degrees for positions that formerly had lower credential requirements. Pictured is a graduate student at her Ph.

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D graduation ceremony. See also: Professionalization. Retrieved December 12, from Encyclopedia. University of Nottingham.

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Credentialism and educational inflation - Wikipedia

Archived from the original PDF on Retrieved Philip E. Weeden American Journal of Sociology. Cavanagh Gender and Education. Retrieved 4 October British Medical Journal. Boundless, 14 Nov. Retrieved 08 Jan.

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Retrieved 4 March Hallinan ed. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Dore, Berkeley: University of California Press. New York: Academic Press.


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Credentialism and educational inflation

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