Thursday, February 19, 2009

Entitled to an "A"

Lake Wobegon's children are "all above average", meaning that everyone gets an "A". In conversations with teachers over the years, grade inflation is a sore spot. "A's" are expected and "B's" are awarded if you really mess up. "C's" and "D's"? Forget it. In the churches I've served there has been a pressing climate of achievement on young people from their parents and even peers to succeed at any cost.
In Wednesday's New York Times there is a great article on "Student Expectations" that qualify a student for an "B." 30% of students expected a "B" for attending lectures and 40% expected a "B" for completing reading assignments. Students "often confuse the level of effort with the quality of work." Because they worked hard on a project, they believe they should get high marks, even if the project is flawed. What's happened over the years, according to the article, is that the academic burden has shifted from the student earning the grade to the teacher proving that the grade is accurate.
As an adult, I see this atmosphere infect a lot of my peers. We show up, put in our time, get exhausted and expect rewards, without looking at results. Could this be what's happened in our financial community as well? Bonuses not based on real productive frutis?


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