Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Woody Allen Theory of Grade Entitlement

"I tell my classes that if they just do what they are supposed to do and meet the standard requirements, that they will earn a C,” said English Professor Marshall Grossman of the University of Maryland. “That is the default grade. They see the default grade as an A.”

A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that a third of students surveyed said that they expected Bs just for attending lectures, and 40% said they deserved a B for completing the required reading.

“I noticed an increased sense of entitlement in my students and wanted to discover what was causing it” said Ellen Greenberger, the lead author of the study, called “Self-Entitled College Students: Contributions of Personality, Parenting, and Motivational Factors,” which appeared last year in The Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Professor Greenberger said that the sense of entitlement could be related to increased parental pressure, competition among peers and family members and a heightened sense of achievement anxiety.

~NY Times

HT: TaxProf

MP: Reminds me of Woody Allen's quote, "80 percent of success is just showing up."


At 2/19/2009 1:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really is a shame. It also seems that many young people expect to get paid, promoted, and recognized in their work life just for showing up. I know for a fact this is true. It is sickening.

Is it really any wonder that this country is having problems? I would bet my last dollar that if you were able to take a survey of people who have or are about to lose thier houses, they would tell you it is not fair. That they hold no respondsiblity for their fate. They were able to get the mortgage and that is enough. They should be able to keep the house. Paying for the house is not really their problem.

At 2/19/2009 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MJPerry -- Recently you posted an article on Brits that extract their own teeth; that was making an economic point, I believe. There's an article in today's New York Times (the 5th most e-mailed) about Americans -- uninsured young Americans -- that self-diagnose and treat themselves, and so on. There may be an economics lesson there, too.

At 2/19/2009 9:19 AM, Blogger Frozen in the North said...

This is not a new phenomena, I attended the London School of Economics in the mid 80s, and I can assure you that most American students where somewhat dismayed when they found out that most courses would seldomly give an A, and that in Monetary Economics in particular nobody had gotten an A in nearly a decade.

We in turn were surprised to hear that nearly half their class in Economics at Harvard would receive an A. Our thought was in the US, and A is really is a C.

At 2/19/2009 9:43 AM, Blogger Mike Beversluis said...

Two points:

1) Students/parents pay (borrow) a lot more for school now, and I suspect that's part of it.

2) The "things are going to hell in a hand-basket" and "people in other countries are idiots" trends are alive and well, roughly 20000 years running.

At 2/19/2009 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have suffered the ultimate effect of this "grade entitlement" phenomenon:

We just elected President a guy who -- when vetted against the standards really needed for the job -- has done no more than "show up."

At 2/19/2009 1:09 PM, Blogger Andy said...

I still think it's unfair for professors not to explicitly state what students should do to get an A. It's fine to say "if you just meet the basic requirements you get a C", but it should be explicit what extra work is needed to get an A. It shouldn't be some mysterious process based on the whim of the instructor.


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