Welcome to Grade School...er, College, Part Troi

Friday, August 15, 2008
This is my last week in the class from hell. I'm so glad.

Last week's retarded correspondence revolved around the students sending additional e:mails around to the entire class bitching and whining about how they got such "low grades" on their papers. The grades in question ranged from 84% to 87%.

Please bear in mind that these are the same papers that the professor had to give back for rewrites because so many of the students turned in substandard work.

So the professor received failing work; rewrote the syllabus to account for the failure; allowed the failing students to rewrite the work to ensure they would pass; gave grades based on the rewritten paper; and is now being vilified for holding these failures to a certain standard of excellence in order to receive an "A."

After watching these e:mails make the rounds for a few days, I sent a single sentence e:mail to all: "I received a 97%." Shortly thereafter, another student (who's comments appeared to be intelligent and who didn't complain about the rewrite) replied with, "I received a 95%."

There were no more whiny-ass e:mails after that.

However, there was a comment on the message board indicating that the student in question felt their paper should be graded based on the amount of effort he put in, since he was an adult student and had so many other fish to fry. Shit on a shingle. Entitled much? After I was done gnashing my teeth and snatching my hair out, I responded with:

"I disagree. When I receive my degree, it will say "University of Denver," which I consider to be a fairly prestigious university. As such, I expect my degree not to be "watered down" with grade inflation.

"Like it or not, grades are the measure of academic achievement in this country. They should be based on as objective a standard as possible, and taking someones "effort" into it is not an objective standard of excellence.

"If an "A" (or "B," or "C") paper requires measurable benchmarks to be graded as such, I don't want a higher grade because I'm an adult student versus a traditional student. It's not fair to me, and it's not fair to the traditional student who's degree will not differ from my own.

"That's the compromise we make as non-traditional students - we do have other obligations, and we "trade" the single-minded dedication a traditional student would have for a balanced life."

Too bad I can only choose my professors, and not my classmates, too.

10 comments:

Tania said...

I think you my be my next girl crush.

I rarely disagreed with the grades I received in college. Sometimes I thought they graded me too high. Remind them that if they only want to be able to pay their money to get a grade and degree, we can offer them some fine institutions in Indonesia.*

*We are working with a program in Indonesia to have them send student nurses here for their clinicals. The preceptors from Indonesia were telling stories yesterday.

Janiece Murphy said...

Hehe. That's the best offer I've had all week.

I felt like posting something about the students going to the University of Phoenix instead of DU, but decided that would be a bit too impolitic, even for me...

John the Scientist said...

Awesome smack-down. You rock.

I had a student like you when I was a TA: she was non-traditional, but enrolled full time with the 18 year olds. Her motto was "I'll smack some sense into them, so the TA won't have to."

Your prof's lucky to have you.

Lance Weber said...

You're way nicer than I am, but then I don't feel the need to tolerate stupid the way we do other handicaps, so I probably would have launched one of my infamous napalm laden replies that spent an inordinate amount of time examining their lack of academic motivation, inability to learn, propensity for self-indulgent whining, etc...

Oooh, I'm already getting wound up. If you'd like, I'll write it and you can send it out!

vince said...

Good reply. And I, too, would have been much less politic than you. The last time I was in college was as a non-traditional student while running my own business. I worked my tail-end off to get good grades (as a full-time student) while working my tail-end off working.

I'd have told them if you're unable to both work and go to school, then pick just one. But don't expect to coddled just because you have to make a living.

Jeri said...

I think we should start calling you "curve buster" for skewing the grading curve so *unfairly high*. :)

Janiece "curve buster" "Legs" Murphy. Ma'am.

And you're doing a nice job of keeping the idiots in line.

Janiece Murphy said...

I've been called "ball-buster" before (along with "pushy bitch" and other less flattering things), but I kind of like "curve-buster."

::snort::

Nathan said...

I'd like to see an example of Lance's flaming. If it meets muster, we can put him on retainer!

Random Michelle K said...

OK, I can't help myself.

Troi? Really?

mom in northern said...

Poo'd
Forgive me for telling tail out of school...

In the family she is known as "Short legs"

(grining)

By the way glad to see your IT guy is on the ball