College — no place for easy A’s

IUS Horizon

As students graduate high school and plan to take on the next milestone by attending college, some are often plagued with the naive belief that college will be the same as high school.

For instance, in high school, some students may not have had to put much effort into achieving an A on a test, but, in college, grades are supposed to be rigorously earned.

One should expect the standard would increase at a higher institution of learning in regard to academic success and the motivation to try.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

As years pass, self-entitlement begins to explore a new level and even finds its way into the college classroom. Some students are under the impression they are entitled to earn an outstanding grade despite hardly doing the bare minimum while lacking even a miniscule amount of energy.

There has been a rapid increase in grade inflation in the past couple of decades, and the cause may be based on faculty choosing to grade generously to gain impressively positive reviews.

By receiving positive comments, the faculty member may be awarded with incentives and perhaps job security, which is always a hot commodity especially during economic troubles.

There are many potential causes for grade inflation. One popular concept is the development of consumer-based philosophy in regard to higher education.

Because students’ tuition continues to increase, they are becoming more expectant to be rewarded with good grades.

Grading standards and the motivation to go above and beyond the standard intellectual level have weakened.

Where is the academic challenge?

If professors continue to oblige the commercialist culture by providing students an easy A in return for admirable reviews, the institution and standards of higher education will continue to falter.

Students expect to be rewarded with a desirable grade because they have invested time and a lot of money into earning a degree.

Grade inflation is rampant, and more students have the mentality that as long as they turn in assignments and regularly attend class, they should receive an A.

Grades should not be based solely on attendance or whether a student turned in a marginal assignment.

Grades should be given because the work was done well, and the concepts were grasped.

Students are being commended just for showing up to a class when attendance used to be imperative to even pass.

The expectations of some professors have plummeted as students graciously attend classes and turn assignments in — clearly prioritizing college for a moment — but refuse to assume full responsibility in achieving educational excellence.

Professors sometimes marvel at the sole fact that students have taken the time out of their day to attend class and submit in-class assignments.

The lack of effort in college can make one question how these students will be if they make it to the real world. No one wants a doctor to perform an intricate, life-improving surgery on them if this doctor has been a slacker all his life.

College grades have become a process of negotiation instead of rightfully earned.

If a student receives a D on an assignment, he may quickly devise a plan to convince the professor he deserves a B just because he attends class.

A lot of professors are understanding and are willing to work with their students in order to help them succeed. Unfortunately, some of the tactics of professors are only enabling a student’s lazy behavior.

Stuart Rojstaczer, a retired professor of geology, civil engineering and environment at Duke University who has research interests in grading in colleges, has put together a comprehensive study of college grading throughout the decades.

According to data compiled by Rojstaczer, IU  Bloomington’s average GPA was 2.83 in 1976. The average GPA has continued to increase, and, in 2008, the average GPA was 3.16.

Almost 43 percent of all letter grades given were A’s. That compares to the 15 percent in 1960 and 31 percent in 1988. Only 10 percent of grades awarded are D’s and F’s.

Grades are supposed to be a valid measurement of intelligence and effort, not an insignificant and easy path to a career.