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Analysis of Sojourner Truth

Essay Topic:

“In some cases, campuswide averages have crept up from a C just 10 years to B-plus today” (411). In Brent Staples essay “Why Colleges Shower Their Students with A’s” he makes many issues and arguments on the subject. Many college level institutions are faced with demanding consumers and competition from other universities over grade issues.

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The colleges have simply started just handing out more and more A’s to their students to better their satisfaction. This action taken by the colleges is having many repercussions on grade inflation and making the value of degrees meaningless worldwide.

With this alarming statistic about the campus wide averages and the universities resorting to giving the consumers what they want is creating a terrible storm about to bring in serious problems. In Staple’s essay, he points out many valid reasons why several college level intuitions are just handing out A’s to their students left and right. Although he makes good arguments for his reasons, I have to question that not all his reasons are truly valid. I believe that colleges are giving into the demanding students and parents because they want to save their reputation and status in society.

Colleges are more willing to give out better grades to students when their jobs are on the line. Staples explains that “professors at every level inflate to escape negative evaluations by students whose opinions now figure in tenure and promotion decisions” (411). Professors have to remember that every grade they give to a student may be questioned and have serious consequences concerning better job opportunities. Students want to get the grade they think they deserve and they will go as far as to complain and place the blame on a certain professor.

I think that it is ridiculous those students figure in part in a professor’s promotion decisions. I also strongly believe that whatever grade a student receives on any paper is their final grade and they should have no room to question the professor’s reasons. Staples also suggested that “some departments shower students with A’s to fill poorly attended courses that might be canceled” (411). Colleges have to give out the grades the students are begging for so they can keep their classes from getting canceled thus saving their own jobs.

Again, he is emphasizing that if teachers want to keep their steady jobs they have to motivate the students in some way to stay enrolled in the classes. This strategy seems like just a form of bribery the teachers have to offer to the deceptive students to keep their jobs afloat. Colleges these days have to grade carefully and be aware of the consequences that students do in some form determine their career movements. The consumers, the students and also the parents believe they should get out as much as they put into their college educational life by exercising their right to question and inquire about their grades.

Today, colleges of every stature permit [students] to appeal low grades through deans or permanent boards of inquiry” (411). Unlike high school where you had to accept the grade you received on a paper, on the other hand colleges permit students to present their graded work to a higher power if they believe it was wrongly evaluated. I believe this rule is giving students and parents too much power over the professors who have been through many years of extensive education and know what elements make up a whole hearted A paper.

Enforcing this assumption again “the evidence suggests that students and parents are demanding– and getting– what they think of as their money’s worth” (411). Students and parents are getting more and more demanding as the years go by. The way they perceive things is that either the student is paying their own way through college or the parents are putting their money into their child’s education and they expect to get every dime out of it. If they are going to use their own money they are expecting to get the best grades possible—no exceptions. These blood sucking animals will not back down without a fight.

They will stand, they will protest, they will argue. The students and parents have a right to question grades, but to an extent. Their arguments should not be so demanding and they should be happy they are getting a voice to express their side of the story. Students and parents are becoming very demanding concerning grades and will go as far as they can to get what they think they deserve. Some universities wanted to use the Johnson plan of calculating grade point average differently than before, but this plan would make student’s academic careers much more complicated.

Staples exclaims “Valen Johnson, a Duke University statistics professor, came under heavy fire when he proposed recalculating the grade point average to give rigorously graded courses greater weight” (412). Johnson proposed this plan thinking that it would help students be more successful, but all it would do was make everything very worse. Under this plan all courses would be given the same equal weight, but this plan would have many drawbacks. Depending on what major a student had, that student would be required to take certain courses that pertained to their desired degree.

By making all courses equal weight, students would have to do very well even in the classes not associated with their major causing many academic problems. I strongly believe this proposed plan of recalculating grade point average is a very horrible idea. Johnson certainly did not put into perspective that making every course the same weight, would make the lives of the students much more difficult. He simply made the students have to do well in every class they took on no matter if it the class seemed easy or hard. The student government beat back the plan with the help of teachers in humanities, who worried that students might abandon them for other courses that they currently avoided” (412). Again, most college professors and members of education boards objected to adopting the Johnson plan because of the major repercussions it would bestow on students. I believe students would get overwhelmed with having to make sure they did exceptionally good in all their classes even those not required for their major.

These students would have to make sure not let their grades slip because no matter the course the grade point average would be worth the same. To some people this plan may seem in genius; however the Johnson plan is not an ideal plan to better educational movements. Adopting the Johnson plan to colleges would be disastrous and also very stressful to the college students, so keeping the grade point average as it is calculated is the most logical choice to make.

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