Wednesday, June 08, 2005

We grade output, not input 

David Beito, noting a WaPo article on how students are whining more about grades these days. Citing faculty who complain about students who want an 'A' based on how much they worked rather than the grade on their exams, David writes:
I share Shepard's anger about the popular "labor theory of value" used to justify higher grades. Let's always remember, however, that the root of the problem lies elsewhere. The administrators have repeatedly proven to the main force behind grade inflation on campus. Their motivations are far more insidious than those of the students. The students just want good grades but the administrators want to dumb down standards as a means to increase their power and budgets, via a higher student body count.

The worst offenders are faculty members who, instead of fighting the good fight to uphold standards, shrug their shoulders and let the administrators get away with it.

The title of this post is what I tell students on day one, and further inform them that those who tell me they should get a better grade because they worked so hard would be escorted from my office.

I'm reminded of a Stiglerism: A student comes to Professor Stigler to complain about receiving an 'F' in the class, that he didn't deserve it. Stigler replies that he agrees the student didn't deserve an 'F' ... but that is the lowest grade allowed under university policy.

My grade sheets are now all computerized with web access, alas..