March 25, 2016
College Professor Perplexed At Lack of Skills of Students
On the other hand, a grave disservice has been done to those students who are interested in learning and have genuine academic credentials. Because businesses can no longer be certain that college degrees indicate anything meaningful, they insist that their new employees take additional classes to obtain various certifications. Often these workers have to spend inordinate amounts of money and time to increase learning because the university degree has been so devalued in the first place. Dumbing down education results in many victims.
Low IQ levels, total indifference to learning, no curiosity, specious logic, no in-depth training in critical thinking and writing – these are the real-life factors that face college instructors. Low grades are frustrating for many students, because they truly don't know what they don't know.
Often I will be told that I am the rare instructor who insists on correct formatting for a research paper even though this is an integral item. One student gave me a paper for which she had received an "A," and on the very first page, there were syntax and grammar errors that the other instructor had apparently ignored. Is it any wonder that so many students think they are writing "A" papers when no one has actually pointed out their substandard writing? They were never taught basic English grammar in the first place, so how can I hold them responsible?
Too many instructors are reluctant to do their job because (a) the errors are so numerous that the work involved in correcting them is monumental, (b) they fear student retaliation, (c) often the chair of a department will not back up an instructor's decision, and (d) the status of teachers is so poor that we are viewed as mere facilitators rather than purveyors of knowledge.
And yet, as college instructor Daniel J. Smith wrote in May 2015, "the expectation of high grades without merit is on the rise." He explains why bumping up a grade leads only to "reducing the opportunity for people to experience the life satisfaction that comes through earned success," whether in the academic or business world. I concur. But again, I ask: How can I possibly grade these students? And how can we stop penalizing students who actually belong in college when the very degree they are seeking is so devalued?
March 22, 2016
How Can I Possibly Grade These Students?
By Eileen F. Toplansky