Is the culture of “everyone gets a trophy” now affecting the awarding of grades in American high schools? One could easily make that argument based on this report from USA Today:

A’s on the rise in U.S. report cards, but SAT scores founder

The good news on America’s report cards: More high school teachers are handing out A’s. But the bad news is that students aren’t necessarily learning more.

Recent findings show that the proportion of high school seniors graduating with an A average — that includes an A-minus or A-plus — has grown sharply over the past generation, even as average SAT scores have fallen.

In 1998, it was 38.9%. By last year, it had grown to 47%.

That’s right: Nearly half of America’s Class of 2016 are A students. Meanwhile, their average SAT score fell from 1,026 to 1,002 on a 1,600-point scale — suggesting that those A’s on report cards might be fool’s gold.

The new findings come courtesy of two researchers: Michael Hurwitz of the College Board, the folks who bring you the SAT; and Jason Lee, a doctoral student at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education.

Hurwitz called the rise of the A average “really stunning.”

The revelation comes as the USA’s public high schools graduate a record number of students: The average high school graduation rate now tops 83%, according to federal statistics.

But that’s not always translating into more college diplomas. A recent study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education found that just 56% of college students complete a four-year degree within six years of entering college. For students who start at two-year colleges, it’s even worse: Just 29% earn a degree within three years.