Lame Academic Rant

Okay, granted I’m a non-traditional student–I’m 32. I’ve got one year left and I’ve always worked my ass off for every grade I’ve gotten, and yes, many were “A’s”. So I’m taking an Expository Writing class that I’m really digging, I’m learning a terrific amount about process, form and style, but this class, taught by this particular prof, has a reputation of being a bear. No biggy though. True to form, I’m getting an A by working my ass off when last week–just three weeks before the end of the semester–he announces that he will be “doubling the lowest grade” for each of us. This has happened in classes before and I’ve been moderately annoyed because I feel as if it cheapens my hard won A. You can’t double an A, for chrissakes. Anyway, it really pisses me off in this class, more so than others. Maybe because this is a class in my major, which is English/Writing concentration. I’ve gotten A’s on every paper–four so far, and I expect I’ll get an A on the last one (only because it really is my most creative project this term).

I know this is trivial, so save yourself the trouble of belittling me (if you’re so inclined) for my teensy-weensy, self-important ego and nerdy ambitions. However, I take pride in my work and I’m at university to learn, not to try to pass with minimal effort so I can “make some money” someday. I take no issue with those who are there for that reason, except when academic standards are softened to accomodate them. That’s just bullshit–utter bullshit–and it’s twice as shitty to announce it three weeks before the semester is over. Damn you, Dr. S., you’re lucky I like the hell out of you–you caving, spineless sonofabitch!

It’s called grade inflation. At my college orientation, they had all the incoming freshmen sit down in a giant auditorium to hear the president of the university speak. After he did some introductory rah, rah, rah, “you’re all so great” BS, he decided to instill the fear that is the Responsibilities of Higher Education in us. And so he said, “Look to the left of you. Look to the right of you. One of the people you just looked at …” [dramatic pause] “will not graduate with honors!” The crowd audibly gapsed for breath…

OK, so that didn’t happen (after all, I didn’t go to Harvard), but you can imagine it, right?

Why does it matter what other people do? What matters is that you are learning and growing. You say you arn’t there just to scrape by and pass- and when you get down to it I think your not there to get a particular configuration of three lines on paper. If you take pride in your work, and you are learning and growing, why does it matter what grade you- much less others- get?

This is the sort of thing that makes me glad I don’t get grades at my university.

Such a policy does not encourage anyone to strive. Granted, there are those who will strive anyway, but there’s no reason to reward those who do not. Reward those that do.

presidebt, I feel for you. I’m an academic and I get very annoyed when I’m instucted to be gentle on the underperforming students and hard on those doing well.

I’m happy to use the full range of marks available to me, but many of my colleagues are not. I’ve complained many times that we are insulting and even demotivating the good, hard working students by mollycoddling the lazy ones.

Not all poor performers are lazy - but most are.

How does a grade double? Does a D become a B? Or a C? :confused:

presidebt you expressed my feelings on the subjects so well. sniff Seriously, I agree with you 100%.

I strive because I am paying thousands of dollars and devoting years of my time and damned if I’m not going to get the most I can out of it. Anyone who does anything less deserves exactly what they will get- an inferior education that will not help them grow and succeed in their life.

Thanks spooje, Sir Doris & Pedro for your commiseration. I am on track to become a professor myself one day and I intend to use the full range of marks, as you do Sir Doris, if I end up working in a grade-based environment (which I almost certainly will).

Kayeby, what’s behind the letters is an actual number grade, though grading systems vary by school and sometimes by department. My university uses the tough, 94-100=A, 87-93=B, etc system. My understanding is that a student gets points on any given assignment based on how they meet the criteria. Anyway, to double the grade would mean to double the number, so someone who may have gotten a 67, now suddenly gets 134. Basically it means that everyone is “given” at least one A, since no one scored low enough to get anything but, and since the max out grade is 100 for an A.

Mr. Hand, of course I can imagine it but if you’re trying to make a related point, I must admit, it’s lost on me.

even sven, maybe I shouldn’t care what other people do, but I have to ask–why are you here worrying about what I’m doing? Yes, I’m learning and growing and believe me, I’m thrilled with that, but please note that this is a lame rant for a moderately annoying incident. Am I not even allowed to be moderately annoyed in Dopeland’s Flameville?

So, what you are saying is that your professor is giving you an opportunity to blow off your final.
That’s not nothin’ in my book. :wink:

There are no finals in a writing workshop-style course, but I agree, it’s close to nuthin’ for most people. It’s my own little cross to bear. :wink:

Ohh. I thought you meant he was counting it twice instead of just once. Which would be mean.

I don’t know…I don’t think grades count for a lot in the long run. I think if you learned and grew and all that, you should be proud of yourself. Sometimes that’s hard to see, and I know I often don’t see that, but there’s more to life than grades.

Zoggie: Yeah, but some people are on scholarship, and some people want to get into grad school.

And some professors want to look good and some schools want to pump themselves up.