"Earning" the Grade
I remember when I was in school, and that was not really that long ago, that every grade that I was given on my transcripts was actually the grade I "earned" in a course. If I didn’t earn the grade I wanted, I accepted that fact because it was obviously because I didn’t do enough to achieve that particular level. There was only one grade in college that I felt I didn’t deserve and I did appeal that grade. I lost the decision 3-2 at the university grade appeal’s board, but earned some respect that day. Although I am not exactly proud of all of my grades in college, outside of that one, I can truly say that my transcripts show the grades I earned.
This particular scenario does not always seem to hold true in today's times with todays students. It amazes me the boldness of some students who email me and ask for higher grades, higher than what they have earned in my classes. I hear a variety of reasons including I will lose my scholarship if I don't get a higher grade, I really need that grade to make my parents happy, I need that grade to graduate, etc. I do everything possible in my classes to help students, including scaling exams and most times scaling final grades. On many occasions, these scales have raised a student's grades by a letter and on the rare occasion, two letter grades, but unfortunately, some do not think that even that is good enough. In my opinion, if students want a higher grade in my courses, then they should earn the grade.
Too many students today sit in class, staring blankly or playing on the computer during a class instead of paying attention and taking notes. Has college truly changed over the last 18 years that students no longer need to take notes? I believe with the amount of information that is given to students today that this should not be the case, that they should be taking notes and applying concepts they learn in class later instead of trying to recall what they heard. Today’s teenagers are bombarded with information and have the internet at their fingertips and unfortunately, I believe this is part of the problem. They think they can Google anything and everything and that they do not have to remember anything, but what they forget is a major focus of my classes is the learning process and critical thinking, which cannot be googled.
I have to say that there have also been a few students who have accused me of grading unfairly, but I attest that to be the furthest from the truth. I grade each and every person equally and have always done so. I do not have favorites when it comes to grading. Those type of accusations actually hurt as I treat my students the way I wanted to be treated as a student, and that is fairly and justly. I would never do anything to hurt a student on purpose.
Maybe it's me, but honestly, I believe that each and every student should be held accountable for the grade they receive on their transcripts as that grade should truly reflect what they have "earned" in a course and not what they may have been "given" as a part of either not doing the work, or even perhaps, not doing the work to the level of standards expected by the professor to earn a higher grade.