Feeling Entitled to Good Grades


Today the Most Emailed New York Times article is entitled “Students Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes“. It’s a good read, especially for professors or college students tired of the endless grading battle that occurs every semester in almost every course.

The article describes how students bring a certain expectation of making good grades to college and are disappointing when they realize that their work ethic has earned them less than their expectations. Some researchers attribute this feeling to Generation Y’s sense of entitlement. Due to an increase in the competitiveness of the learning environment, researchers think that students have suddenly gone bonkers trying to make exceptional grades at the cost of true learning.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt the same way about my grades, though. Sometimes, I definitely deserve B here and there, but in other cases, I find it difficult to rationalize why I didn’t make at least the A- cut. I think that most of my work could be described as “quality work”, with the exception of the essays that I crank out at 1:00am the day of the due date. Yet still each semester my transcript reveals an unexpectedly low grade for a course that I thought I had in the bag. Am I one of these so-called students with a “sense of entitlement”?

Perhaps, but there are a lot of students out there that feel the same way. Each semester at NYU Stern professors pass out their syllabi and voice disclaimers that go something like this, “The grading system is outlined in my syllabus. The grade on your transcript will reflect the effort and quality of your work. Please do not call or email after this course, asking to negotiate your grade. There is a system to my grading, and I haven’t made a mistake yet.”

Maybe it’s our generation that needs to chill out. Or maybe it’s the elementary school environment that we grew up in. Perhaps it’s our parents’ faults for pressuring us to be super duper awesome. Who knows? So, for the meantime, I think we can all stop emailing our professors for grade negotiations, and our professors can continue to keep up the great work in outlining their expectations.

How about we all give organic learning a try? I’ve realized that classes that are the most fun are the ones that I genuinely enjoy and forget about grades in.

With all of that being said, I’m interested in student stories about grading! Comment below!

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3 thoughts on “Feeling Entitled to Good Grades

  1. Without bad grades, how do you reward people who do exceptional work- who study day and night just to improve their grades marginally? If people have this extreme work ethic (or have some sort of extraordinary gift), shouldn’t they be compensated with a rarely attained grade? I definitely think, though, that restricting grades are better than allowing grade inflation. If high marks mean nothing, then employers are forced to use other metrics such as standardized tests to separate the wheat from the chaff.

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