Grade entitlement at John Carroll?

March 26th, 2009

High GPAs and even higher test scores are the goals of most, if not all, students today. But do John Carroll University students feel they deserve high grades even if their work isn’t up to par?

According to a recent study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, students today feel more entitled to higher grades than they did in the past.

The study shows a large percentage of students surveyed believe attending lectures or completing course reading warrants at least a B.

As mentioned in the study, students believe they deserve higher marks if they put hard work into an assignment.
However, professors are quick to point out that even if hard work is present, the work may not be A+ material.

Debra Rosenthal, associate English professor and graduate program director, has noticed this trend in her classes.
“It seems students believe that if they do the work–reading, writing an essay– they should be rewarded with a high grade for effort, whether their work is good or not,” she said.

Rosenthal also said some students believe teachers give them low grades instead of earning them.
“They blame the low grade on me, rather than on the quality of the work itself,” said Rosenthal.
Janet Larsen, psychology professor, does not see a trend in either direction.

“It is hard to know whether there has been any real change in student expectations. I personally don’t see much difference over the past 25 years,” she said.

Larsen said most students who work hard and submit good work receive the higher grades.
Other students who don’t put forth the same amount of effort seem to realize why they didn’t receive higher marks, according to

Some students at JCU feel this trend is happening.

They agreed that if students put a lot of effort into a project, they will expect high compensation for that work.
Juniors Pam Anson and Megan Greene both believe students feel a sense of entitlement when it comes to high grades.

“I think that many of the students who do poorly think they should have gotten higher grades, even if they don’t deserve it,” said Anson.

Greene said, “I think that when students put a lot of work into studying or an assignment, they will always feel some sense of entitlement to a better grade, even if the resulting work isn’t amazing.”

Sophomore Chris Lewis feels the issue of grades is different from person to person.
Lewis feels that students earn their grades, and what they get is what they deserve.
He also commented on a statement one of his professors said while in class.

“One of my teachers mentioned that the one difference between when she first started teaching 20 years ago compared to today is that students seem less motivated now in terms of reading their material and doing the work.”
Junior Zoran Miling said he has not seen such grade entitlement at JCU, but believes students’ grades should be consistent with the quality of their work.

“I don’t think that there is an overall sense of entitlement, but I do believe many students think they should have received higher grades based on the time they dedicated to an assignment or exam,” said Miling.
Miling has also witnessed situations in which students have protested their grade.

“I’ve seen students confront teachers politely to discuss their grade,” said Miling.
“Either the teacher defends the grade they gave or the student gets a few more points.”

Miling personally does not feel entitled to higher grades if they are undeserved.
“The grades I receive are the ones I earn. I have only myself to blame for earning a low grade,” he said.

Sophomore Christina O’Keefe feels more ambivalent.
“I feel that most of my classes this semester aren’t reflective of the work I am putting in, but at the same time I understand that the bar I am trying to reach might be too high,” she said.

“I realize there is more to the college experience than just the grades, but GPA is important,” said O’Keefe.
“You put all this work in and may visit your professor, but there are only so many As or Bs they give out.”