On 2/18/13, the Lariat wrote an editorial advocating a standardized grading scale. In general, the article argued that Baylor should not allow professors to require a percentage higher than 90 in order to receive an A.
The basis for the argument comes primarily from a feeling of unfairness. According to the article, a professor “should be able to lower the threshold to earn an A,” but raising it “is deceiving and can really affect students who work hard.”
I disagree. For a grade cutoff to be considered “deceiving,” it must be misleading or confusing to students. “Deceiving” also implies that professors are trying to trick students into receiving lower grades. This is simply not the case. If a grading scale is on the syllabus for the entire semester, there is nothing deceiving about it.
The main reason the editorial did not sit well with me is because of the entitlement language. The highlighted quote in the article commented on students’ hard work, claiming “we’re shorted when a professor doesn’t give us the grade we would have earned in practically any other class without a skewed grading scale.”
Do we really deserve the grade we think we deserve? From my experience, we are quicker to call something “unfair” and blame the system before acknowledging our own failures. The mentality that we, as students, get to decide which grades we “should” get from our classes startles me.
Quite honestly, Baylor has a reputation for being academically rigorous. I’m sure we could sacrifice some of our standards in order to increase students’ average GPA; however, that would be ill-advised for our national reputation. If we are to be truly concerned with learning and educational attainment, we must look beyond our grades on paper.
The Lariat, in conclusion, argues that “at the very least, students should be able to enter a class and know, before a syllabus is given, what an A is.” Why? Where else in life are we able to know the requirements of succeeding before seeing the requirements?
Let’s stop blaming “unfair” grading scales and instead work on motivating ourselves to excel in our classes, whatever it may require.