Home of Dr. Christine B. Whelan

‘A’ for Effort? Major Media Outlets Wake Up To Grade Entitlement

A fantastic — and snarky — piece in yesterday’s New York Times spawned an even snarkier blog on TNR.com: Seems University professors are irritated by the sense of entitlement their Millennial students are displaying.

Effort deserves an ‘A,’ students say. Says Jason Greenwood, a senior kinesiology major at the University of Maryland:

“I think putting in a lot of effort should merit a high grade,” Mr. Greenwood said. “What else is there really than the effort that you put in?”

“If you put in all the effort you have and get a C, what is the point?” he added. “If someone goes to every class and reads every chapter in the book and does everything the teacher asks of them and more, then they should be getting an A like their effort deserves. If your maximum effort can only be average in a teacher’s mind, then something is wrong.”

Prof. Marshall Grossman, who teaches English at the University of Maryland, disagrees:

“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.

While I do reward students who are clearly trying hard, meeting the bare minimum standards doesn’t land you a top grade. Colleges and Universities have a gate-keeping function: If we don’t accurately assess the performance of students — and help them improve — then these same students will have a rude awakening in the “real” world.

Read the whole piece here.

While the New York Times let the quotes speak for themselves, TNR.com got a little nasty (but quite funny!) as it took a swing at the idea of getting top grades just for trying hard:

Did the reading? Attended class? Stayed up late working on a paper? Good for you, puppy! Sure, you did a craptastic job on that paper–not to mention the final–suggesting that you have no more than a fourth-grader’s grasp of the material. But what the hell!? You worked hard. You showed up–even when you had that reallllly bad hangover. You may not have learned much, but you sure did try. Have a nice fat A. And here’s hoping it comes in handy when your first employer fires you for not being able to tell your ass from your elbow when it comes to doing your job.

Read the whole tirade here.

Getting a bad grade in my class? Want that ‘A’ just to boost your self-esteem Come to my office hours. Learning the material — and learning how to learn — is where real and lasting self-esteem is created.

February 20, 2009 - Posted by | Academic Musings

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