Grade inflation is rampant. Students think of a “B minus” as an F. I constantly get criticized for grading too harshly, even though I find my mean grade point average has risen over the past decade. A “C” to today's student is unfathomable. “Professor, I am on scholarship. How can you give me a C?” I remind them that I do not “give’” grades, but such semantics are lost on the student who yearns for an A at any cost. I tell them that I got Bs and Cs and I never complained, because I knew I deserved them. They do not believe me. (Maybe I should post my undergraduate and graduate transcripts on my office door?)My great-uncle has the same complaint about young employees at the store he manages. Why do they think that $2 an hour is so unreasonable? After all, he was paid less than 50 cents an hour when he was young, and he didn't complain...
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Inflation is a difficult concept
Back in October 2008, a disillusioned professor under the pseudonym "Josh Smith" wrote an essay for the Chronicle of Higher Education, "I'm leaving," about his decision to exit academia. It's an interesting read, but I can't help noticing a tension between Smith's criticism of his students' intellectual laziness and his own, um, shaky analytical ability: