Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kids Today

You know the phrase, "at least he gets an A for effort"? It's not an educational promise, just a figure of speech and an insult at that. It means that, in spite of the fat that you came up with the wrong answer, at least you gave it a shot.

Per today's New York Times (via Prawfsblawg), kids today seem to think it's an entitlement:

A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that a third of students surveyed said that they expected B’s just for attending lectures, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the required reading.

* * *

Jason Greenwood, a senior kinesiology major at the University of Maryland echoed that view.

'I think putting in a lot of effort should merit a high grade,' Mr. Greenwood said. 'What else is there really than the effort that you put in?'

'If you put in all the effort you have and get a C, what is the point?' he added. 'If someone goes to every class and reads every chapter in the book and does everything the teacher asks of them and more, then they should be getting an A like their effort deserves. If your maximum effort can only be average in a teacher’s mind, then something is wrong.'
Jason, perhaps it time that somebody explained to you that not everybody in life gets As. It's not about effort, it's about comprehension and understanding. That's how the real world works. I know there's the sports cliche that winners are the ones who "want it more," but that's basically bullshit. I hate to break it to you, Jason, but you just might be average. At least academically.

I've seen briefs that I know an attorney worked on really hard. They were still barely readable and couldn't string together a coherent argument. A court isn't going to give your client time off for "effort." Effort's part of the equation, but not all of it.

I'm not particularly surprised where one commentator place the blame for this kind of attitude:
'I think that it stems from their K-12 experiences,' Professor [Aaron M. Brower, the vice provost for teaching and learning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison] said. 'They have become ultra-efficient in test preparation. And this hyper-efficiency has led them to look for a magic formula to get high scores.'
In other words, "teaching to the test" is leading kids to think that the rote work of test prep is what education is all about. It's not, of course. The sooner we realize that and get back to actually learning about the world around us and how to learn itself, the better off we'll be.

No comments: