Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Future of America

Crap! I have to depend on these people for Social Security when I retire?!

New York Times
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.

Jason Greenwood, a senior kinesiology major at the University of Maryland echoed that view.

“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.”

The article also mentions 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."

Is this a recent phenomenon? I studied engineering in undergrad. Our grades were usually what we got on the midterm and final. Since it was mainly science/engineering classes, typically there was a right answer to questions. If you didn't get the right answer, you don't get any points (or just partial credit). I tried really hard in most cases and ended up with a B+ GPA. I didn't expect a B grade just for showing up. Maybe things work differently for "fuzzy" majors in college.

I'm not sure where the mentality that you should get an 'A' if you put in a lot of effort comes from. It's not like that in the real world. At work, I make a lot of slides for our CFO. I can try as hard as I want but if the slide are not ready for the meeting, or if the numbers are all wrong, I won't have a job for long. Likewise, I fly to Asia every few months. I don't care if the Boeing engineer tried really hard or not... I want them to get it right.

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