The AIR Professional File
Spring 2013, Article 130
Alternative Estimates of the Reliability of College Grade Point Averages
Joe L. Saupe, Mardy T. Eimers
The purpose of this paper is to explore differences in the reliabilities of cumulative college grade point averages (GPAs), estimated for unweighted and weighted, one-semester, 1-year, 2-year, and 4-year GPAs. Using cumulative GPAs for a freshman class at a major university, we estimate internal consistency (coefficient alpha) reliabilities for the several GPAs. We compare these reliabilities to similar reliabilities found in the literature. Principal findings are that different cumulative GPAs have different degrees of reliability and that GPA reliability increases at a decreasing rate with number of semesters completed. Understanding these differences in reliability has implications for how GPAs are used by institutional researchers in practical as well as theoretical studies. The literature review and methods of the study should be useful to the institutional researcher who undertakes an investigation that involves GPA reliability.
Joe L. Saupe, University of MissouriMardy T. Eimers, University of Missouri
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