Pop Quiz: Academic Entitlement
This is undoubtedly not a new issue here on School of Doubt, but I was once again struck (at the end of the semester and seeing student comments) on how students seem to think they should be rewarded with a good grade for simply showing up and doing the bare minimum. If they actually do more than that minimum they should all get A’s and B’s.
One student actually said that in her evaluation – that I should have given her a better grade because she put in so much effort. Never mind that she never followed instructions and turned in work that was completely irrelevant to the task at hand (and therefore had no idea what was going on in class when we discussed the assignment). I could cite dozens of similar comments, though none so brazen.
This post from 2012 discussed the idea of how a student’s “academic entitlement” altered the way they approached the class and the instructor, including instances of disrespect when the student did poorly on assessments. More recently, a survey at the University of Windsor showed most students aren’t like this, but that the ones who are will likely not do well academically or on the job. Just last month, another report on the rise of incivility and entitlement in the college classroom was published in the American Association of University Professors.
Most of the articles suggest or outright declare that this is a new phenomenon – the student-as-consumer model gone wrong. Most of them also provide advice on how to prevent this in your own classroom, including the writing of clear syllabi and the enforcement of consequences outlined in them, defending the value of assignments, and providing examples of the kind of work you expect to receive a given grade. During my years of teaching, my syllabus has indeed become extremely transparent on my expectations and the consequences of not meeting those expectation, not to mention how grades are assigned.
And yet, I still get evaluations saying I should given grades for pure effort…
I’m betting jodee gets comments like that when she assigns papers or homework assignments and gives poor grades for poor work. I’m betting all the teachers who read this will nod to themselves too. I know when I was a student I didn’t have these expectations and that I knew I had to work hard to get good grades and my peers knew it too. I am always so surprised when I encounter this attitude that students deserve a good grade for simply turning something in.
So here’s my two-fold question to you: is academic entitlement really a new thing? And where does the disconnect arise between the instructors’ expectations and the students’ on how grades are given?
The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the afternoon (ET).