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Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes (New York Times)

tokenadulttokenadult Posts: 17,473Super Moderator Senior Member
edited March 2009 in Parents Forum
“I tell my classes that if they just do what they are supposed to do and meet the standard requirements, that they will earn a C,” he said. “That is the default grade. They see the default grade as an A.”

A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that a third of students surveyed said that they expected B’s just for attending lectures, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the required reading.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/18/education/18college.html
Post edited by tokenadult on
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Replies to: Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes (New York Times)

  • BaelorBaelor Posts: 3,640Registered User Senior Member
    I would say the fundamental problem is that there is an association of effort with achievement (the students in the article said this themselves). "If I work hard, why shouldn't I get an A?"

    Effort has replaced quality in high school, so of course college students have the same mentality.
  • -Lurker--Lurker- Posts: 1,420Registered User Senior Member
    Of course they expect a B. Every other university in the country is doing it, how do they benefit from grade deflation and getting a 2.0? I'll tell you this - it isn't going to help them in the job market.
  • tokenadulttokenadult Posts: 17,473Super Moderator Senior Member
    Does getting a B from a college known to have grade inflation help in the job market?
  • -Lurker--Lurker- Posts: 1,420Registered User Senior Member
    Most employers don't have enough knowledge about said colleges to know which are known for grade inflation or deflation unless they specifically recruit regionally and have a relationship with the college. This is the minority.
  • pennypacpennypac Posts: 150Registered User Junior Member
    Well, I gotta tell ya, I don't know of many employers who ask to see your grades when they offer you a job. The expectation is that if you graduate, you did the work. There's a pretty big disconnect between academia and reality for most professions.
  • fendergirlfendergirl Posts: 4,651Registered User Senior Member
    I wasn't asked about my grades when I interviewed for my job... they asked about my major and when I graduated, but never once a question about grades.

    as far as the argument does effort warrent grades, I don't think it is... at least not all the time.. I sat next to a girl in one of my accounting classes who read every chapter, did every practice problem, every practice quiz, etc.. and for our exams, her grades were 12, 36, and 42. She obviously didn't get it.. so, to say that she deserved a B for failing every test she took, is outlandish (IMHO). I remember i got a 96 on my first test and she asked if I could help her study for the next one. I did... she just couldn't grasp the concepts. She failed and took it over again... barely passing the second time through. I don't know why she didn't go talk to the prof about it.

    on the other hand, i had a physics professor who had a policy where if you didn't miss a class and you did all of your work, you were guaranteed a C. I don't know of anyone in my class that was getting 12's or 36's or 42's on their exams though. generally speaking, if you came to class and did the work you knew enough to get a C.
  • laxtaxilaxtaxi Posts: 758Registered User Member
    This should be no surprise. A college education costs an obscene amount of money. Students put themselves and/or their families in debt for years. There is a resulting expectation that it has to be 'worth it.' Leaving a college with a C average $100,000 in debt is not satisfactory. So I see a direct relationship between the cost of college and the expectations for high grades among its students.
  • frazzled1frazzled1 Posts: 5,030Registered User Senior Member
    I don't understand how anyone can expect a B for just showing up. I thought that grades were computed using the scores earned on essays, papers, labs, quizzes, exams, etc.? So if a student has a 90-plus average, then he or she can expect an A. How is the professor supposed to know a student has completed the required reading if the student's work doesn't reflect it?
  • Queen's MomQueen's Mom Posts: 1,964Registered User Senior Member
    This is caused by the fact that many of these kids got Bs in High School just for showing up-now they expect the same in college.
  • geeps20geeps20 Posts: 3,250- Senior Member
    the quote is stupid..IMO...A student's work is graded..they get what they get
  • InthebizInthebiz Posts: 623Registered User Member
    I ran into this so many times when I was teaching . . . "why did I get a C when I tried so hard??" Sorry, in my mind it's not appropriate to reward effort. I reward results. (Funny thing, my boss is much the same way!!)

    I think student attitudes about rewarding effort is a result of the emphasis on "self-esteem"
    in elementary and high schools. Everyone who shows up gets a medal/grade.

    It's also the shift to students seeing themselves as consumers. I paid my tuition therefore I should get the grade I want. I often joke that the cure for our current budget woes is to buy into this consumer mentality . . . if you want As, your tuition is $50K but for $20K you can get Cs. Those with big bucks can buy their degrees without attending a single class!
  • jessiehljessiehl Posts: 3,328Registered User Senior Member
    I think student attitudes about rewarding effort is a result of the emphasis on "self-esteem" in elementary and high schools. Everyone who shows up gets a medal/grade.

    I've never bought into this. When I was a kid and swam on a summer league team, everyone got a participation trophy at the awards banquet. *Trust me*, everyone over the age of six knew the difference between those and the real awards. And these were some pretty sheltered kids. I have trouble believing that any child who is not very young is clueless enough to not understand the difference between the token that everyone gets and the real recognition.

    I think this comes more from general grade inflation. It also may come from students internalizing some weird distortion of the bootstrap myth (that anyone can get ahead if they only work hard).
  • mdocmdoc Posts: 442Registered User Member
    I believe that achievement, not effort, should be determinative of a college grade. I do think that kids coming from a lot of high schools are surprised by college grading, though. In high school, many teachers grade homework; some actually grade it and others give full credit just for doing it (whether it's correct or not). Teachers give small quizzes that are graded. Participation is often graded. Final exams at my D's high school can count for no more than 20% of the grade. Kids are used to having the opportunity to get lots of A+ grades on little things that then pull up less than stellar major test grades. It's a shock to arrive at college and not be able to bolster your test grades by participating and doing your homework. I'd like to see teachers of junior and senior level college prep courses in high school start weaning the kids from the easy participation and homework grades and explain to them what college will really be like.
  • ModadunnModadunn Posts: 6,251Registered User Senior Member
    It is (I think) fairly well-known that Harvard is horribly guilty of this. Students coming into the school have won a real prize by getting in and anything less than an A has a tendency to push kids over a cliff. It would be my theory that this sense of entitlement at elite colleges continues into adulthood. My brother has young employees under him and he is completely frustrated with the work ethic and people basically asking for raises just for showing up! His response is you want a raise for doing your job? Show me you know more than just how to show up on time and doing the job you were hired to do. And that's the same as college. A is for outstanding work. C is for average. Just doing the job at hand is average. And the sooner we put this back into the mix, the sooner people will stop growing up to think they are entitled to more for doing less.
  • toadstooltoadstool Posts: 1,145Registered User Senior Member
    D's prep school give C for all work on time as assigned. Higher requires going above and beyond. BS has not had a 4.0 in two years.

    Unfortunately, these kids take it in the teeth on internships, merit aid, scholarships, and college admissions.
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