Friday, February 20, 2009

Students deserve B's

This article from the New York Times raises the question of student's feelings of entitlements towards grades.  It starts with a survey of students that found that almost 50% expected a B just for showing up.   The author also interviews students who expect that effort alone should raise their grade.

Gerry Gzyrb posted this to the COLS discussion list a few days ago and I noticed that it is on the list of most commonly e-mailed at the Times website.

I think that this expectation generally holds on our campus as well.  

In my classes, I think the average is a low BC. 

This means that many students who show up and do passable work get a low B.  Only students who truly excel make A's.

Thus, I am guilty of fostering these expectations -- I often wonder if I should be tougher.  I am not sure what I would gain from it. . .


Anonymous said...

If you are giving a low BC average and A's are reserved for excellence, then it seems to me that you are giving an appropriate range of grades. With a low BC average you obviously aren't afraid to give a D or an occasional F for very poor or failing performances. Seems to me that you are using the range appropriately. What are you fantasizing about, giving F's not only to those students who don't show up or can't construct a sentence to save their life, but also to those who make some (minimal) sense?

Those who are averaging 3.0 or above are the ones who probably let students by without learning much who should probably be rethinking their grading distribution.

Lake Winneblogo said...

I was just browsing my old entries--I posted some data about grade inflation here back in 2006.

There was quite a vibrant discussion about this then, though nothing ever seemed to come of it!