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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » Also, this is one of my arguments (kinda) against egalitarianism

Also, this is one of my arguments (kinda) against egalitarianism


Punk College Kids Think They Deserve to Triumph:

“Many students come in with the conviction that they’ve worked hard and deserve a higher mark,” Professor Grossman said. “Some assert that they have never gotten a grade as low as this before.”

He attributes those complaints to his students’ sense of entitlement.

“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.”

College is supposed to be difficult. It’s supposed to be an accomplishment, not just a hurdle. It’s not an obstacle or a tedious way to improve yourself. Not everyone triumphs; if they did it wouldn’t be a triumph. (I do get A’s though. Hahaha)

Tim Burke (Via Megan McArdle) on the subject:

I’m not terribly consistent in my internal understanding of what I’m doing when I grade. In general, I tend to imagine the B as the default grade, and an A as a grade that says, “You did something considerably better than ordinary”. The C means, “This is really not as good as ordinary work”. Failures are either, “This is dramatically worse than the norm” or “You blew this off, and I can see that you did”.

I freely confess that I tend to have a slightly different understanding of how this scaling works out based on my understanding of what a student is capable of. The more I’ve graded a student, the more I form an expectation about what they can do. A student who has done consistently excellent, original work for me is likely to draw a much more negative reaction from me for doing ordinary work than a student who has done fine, decent but undistinguished work consistently. If I graded blind, I suspect I’d still have some pretty good guesses over time about the identity of writers, but maybe that would help shake up some of my assumptions. I’m weighing trying to do that next year for the first time.

I tend to pick professors I’ve heard were challenging when possible – my schedule doesn’t always allow for it, though. I took the same maths professor this semester as last because I’m familiar with his style and mathematics aren’t one of my stronger suits. According to what I’ve heard, my English professors are pretty rough on grading – same as last semester, and I’m fairing pretty well so far. The rest were chosen for scheduling purposes alone (but I’ve mentioned my Philosophy prof before).

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