Pump It Up

Last week MadRock linked and wrote on the topic of Grade Inflation. If you didn’t hit that link and read, take a few minutes and do so after you’re done here.

As I stated in the comments, I have seen everything described in that post over the last year and a half or so: From girls getting squiggly in front of the male professors to what I would consider lukewarm temperature arguments. The only class I was worried about was my Calculus class, and I’m pretty sure that me not missing a day of class, being on time and ready to try and learn is what put me over the top to my “C” (my lowest grade since beginning school) because my test scores stunk to high heaven.

This quarter was Humanities and Political Science. The former I was not looking forward to about as much as I was looking forward to the latter. Oddly enough, I received a 3.5 from the Humanities professor and a 3.4 from the PoliSci professor. I’d prefer to say that I “earned” those grades, but if I did I’d feel I was lying to myself just a tiny bit, so I abstain.

I do not feel I “earned” the 3.5 for the following reasons: I flubbed the Week 1 assignment in the Humanities course by misreading the due date, earning me a fat ZERO and then misreading the Week 2 assignment only turned in 2/3’s of what was asked. I was later told by the professor that he actually meant it when we’d write that he had “enjoyed reading” my assignments, even though I’d said that John Stuart Mill wrote like he was paid by the word, said Plato had a boring way of stating the obvious, and whipped my full Nihilist out in weeks six through eight (The Human Condition, Human Emotions and Human Nature, respectively).

He and I are currently in a discussion on the topic of the inequalities between the states, so we’ll see how long he enjoys my writing. But I do not think that just because I write at a certain level above the average college student that I should earn extra points. It should earn my real grade and they should earn fewer points. I’m not going to turn those free points down, mind you. But I’m not going to say I “earned” them. Being at the top of curve doesn’t mean I get to lie to myself.

The same goes for the PoliSci course. There is a neat little program hidden in the online course program where I can see not only my grade, but also the class average for the quarter. Around week four I started noticing that my grades stayed either at or above a certain level while the “classes” level declined in kind. I doubt that they were getting dumber as the quarter went on, so I can only guess that that he got tired of reading essay question answers that were either wrong, poorly worded or pulled verbatim from the book. I later got an email stating that he could tell through my writing that had read the material, stewed it around in my head, and then wrote my answers, which meant that I had learned something and that that was worth a couple of “extra credit” points.

I’m sorry, I thought that learning the subject material was the whole point? I guess I’m just stuck in the 20th Century, or something (which is a whole different post I’m working on).

Internally, I’m giving myself 3.0 in each class, but I am taking the extra points for the sole reason of getting better placement into the University of Washington.

But yeah, from the student side of things, I see grade inflation going on. My GPA is currently the Michelin Man.

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