Entitled, which points to an article in the NY Times
I have an inbox filled with student email saying “I studied really hard for the quiz..” (so why didn’t I get an A?).
This post might sound cynical, but I must not be completely cynical because this surprised me:
Nearly two-thirds of the students surveyed said that if they explained to a professor that they were trying hard, that should be taken into account in their grade.
Ah, yes, I remember it well when I was TA-ing in grad school. I was somewhat desensitized to the problem by my time in the navy, because there was simply no room for changing grades. Student feedback (aka whining) was irrelevant on that point — you were judged by how much knowledge you demonstrated on test day, and that was about it. If you were borderline, you might buy some extra time by passing a verbal grilling in an academic review board, but that didn’t actually change your grade; it merely gave you additional time to pass some tests and raise your average.
In grad school I was a TA the modern physics class, which included a lot of students trying to get into the engineering program. When I passed out the first set of graded labs, there was howling and gnashing of teeth. “A 7? I can’t have a 7! I need to get accepted into the engineering program!” My answer was, “Do better next time.” I had pointed out the shortcomings in the lab reports, so there was ample information how to get a better grade. The funny thing was that my evaluations came back as being a really tough TA, while the other TA for the course remarked how easygoing and laid-back he was (literally a surfer-dude). But the also professor told me that grades from my section were actually higher than his. Tough love wins in the end.
From the article
At Vanderbilt, there is an emphasis on what Dean Hogge calls “the locus of control.” The goal is to put the academic burden on the student.
“Instead of getting an A, they make an A,” he said. “Similarly, if they make a lesser grade, it is not the teacher’s fault. Attributing the outcome of a failure to someone else is a common problem.”
As I’ve noted before, in the students’ view, good grades are earned by the student, while poor ones are given by the professor. Looks like Vanderbilt is pushing to change that concept.