Students may expect higher grades for less effort, study finds

By Gus Bode

SIUC students may follow a national trend of believing they are entitled to good grades by just showing up to class, some professors say.

According to a Feb. 17 article in the New York Times, a study at University of California at Irvine showed about one-third of students surveyed believed attending class most of the time entitled them to at least a B in the course.

The study, which surveyed 400 undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 25, also found more than half of surveyed students believed if they are ‘trying hard,’ instructors should reconsider their grades.

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Alanna Oster, a graduate assistant in the SIUC English department, said she has seen a similar philosophy from students in the English 102 course she teaches.

She said she hasn’t seen the amount of effort she’d like from her students and spends much of her time preparing them to function at a higher level for the rest of their college experiences.

‘I think it’s a high-school mindset, honestly. They go to class and they do whatever work they can do in class and they get by,’ Oster said. ‘I think that they come in and they don’t realize that it’s different and that I am going to expect certain things as a college student.’

Jim Allen, director of the university’s core curriculum, said he believes there is a discrepancy between what instructors expect and what students believe is enough.

Students of this generation treat the higher education system as consumers buying a product, Allen said. They expect to get what they think they pay for – good grades.’

In the 1950s, Allen said, more than 70 percent of the university’s funding came from the state. Today, it receives less than 30 percent of its funding from the state, he said, leaving the students to make up the difference in their tuition and fees.

‘Students expect to be deferred to,’ Allen said.

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If a student is not happy with his or her grade point average, the professor will hear about it, he said.

Brandon Luttrel, a senior from San Antonio studying electrical engineering, said it should take more than just attending class to get a B.

‘If you show up and try and put in a good effort, you should get at least a C,’ Luttrel said.

Doing a lot of good work in addition to that, should receive a B, he said.

Seth Reith, a junior from Monmouth studying aviation flight, said general education classes often require less work, such as not having to necessarily do the required reading to get a decent grade.

‘I definitely think showing up is important,’ Reith said. ‘You should get some kind of credit for that.’

Allen said though he sees reasons why students have become more aggressive about their grades, he doesn’t see this problem too much at SIUC.

‘Most students I see are very polite,’ Allen said.

Madeleine Leroux can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 259 or [email protected]

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