Student Entitlement

From the NY Times:

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.

Rationales for this sense of entitlement?  Here’s a few:

Professor Greenberger said that the sense of entitlement could be related to increased parental pressure, competition among peers and family members and a heightened sense of achievement anxiety.

Aaron M. Brower, the vice provost for teaching and learning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, offered another theory.

“I think that it stems from their K-12 experiences,” Professor Brower said. “They have become ultra-efficient in test preparation. And this hyper-efficiency has led them to look for a magic formula to get high scores.” 

James Hogge, associate dean of the Peabody School of Education at Vanderbilt University, said: “Students often confuse the level of effort with the quality of work. There is a mentality in students that ‘if I work hard, I deserve a high grade.’ “

In line with Dean Hogge’s observation are Professor Greenberger’s test results. 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.

And here’s some comments from students:

“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.”

Sarah Kinn, a junior English major at the University of Vermont, agreed, saying, “I feel that if I do all of the readings and attend class regularly that I should be able to achieve a grade of at least a B.”

Yup, I hear the same sentiments from my students all the time.  A solution?

“College students want to be part of a different and better world, but they don’t know how,” he said. “Unless teachers are very intentional with our goals, we play into the system in place.”

Teach to the “test” (in a good way).

10 thoughts on “Student Entitlement

  1. Pingback: Where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on[.] « The Edge of the American West

  2. Why do I get the feeling you’re a manifestation of Zelig?

    It is odd that I’d never even heard of UCI before I applied here, and yet now…

    Mikhail, it’s the last line of Beckett’s Unnameable truncated because I’ve always wanted to make a joke via an editorial insertion.

  3. To counter your sophisticated literary reference, I would like to point out that my Homer reference is, of course, to Homer Simpson, not the blind poet-sage of the olden times…

    Unrelated comment – speaking of olden times, I was rereading Euripides’ Bacchae this morning and I am wondering if they ever put it on these days as a sort of a contemporary play? The back of my book warned various “professional and amateur” theaters/actors not to use the text of the translation without authorization, so I wonder if anyone knows of a recent production…

  4. Karl, I have to say that the opening of this version caught my attention right away, I’m sure the original was as weird as this one:

    a transvestite in a white pleated linen skirt,
    combat boots,
    an orange silk blouse or tunic,
    a cut-off woman’s nylon stocking on his head, knotted at the top,
    a gold cigarette holder
    five days’ growth of beard
    enters the stage at a dignified pace,
    takes his place in the pool of light,
    turns front,
    holds for a moment.
    Then he begins to whirl very slowly, like a dervish,
    at center stage,
    in silence.

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