A comment on this question on undergraduate admissions notes that a good college might get 10x more applicants who all have the maximum possible grade point average, than the college can admit. (The rest of my question is based on the assumption that is is actually true. If it is not, my question might be based on an incorrect premise.) Coming from The Netherlands, this sounds strange to me. We have a standardised test at the end of secondary school, and few people score average grades higher than 8/10 (passing is 6/10), with people scoring 10.0/10 being practically nonexistent (I seem to recall reading about one such student in the newspaper many years ago). The overall average is 6.4/10 for the school category granting admittance to university. For universities I don't have hard numbers but I would be surprised if more than 1 in 30 students score 10.0/10 in undergraduate introductory calculus. Most students seem to score mostly around 6–7/10, which I believe would translate to E–D in the American system, but I'm not sure. Grades 6–10 are passing grades, grades 1–5 are failing grades. My question is for pre-university tests though, the ones that are used to test if people should be admitted to university.
Why is there so much grade inflation in the USA? Is there no standardised testing for whatever tests are used to establish the grades used for undergraduate admissions? This system would make it very hard for Dutch students to gain admission to American universities, because getting the maximum average grade is virtually unheard of.