Monday, January 21, 2008

Good point

This letter writer to the Gazette has a good point. I don't know about MUS scholarships, but I do run into a lot of college students who are worried about not getting grades high enough to keep scholarship money coming in.

That's too bad. One message I try to get across to students is not to freak out too much about grades; they don't matter that much in the long run, and they can distract students from getting out of college the most useful things that are there. But it's a lame message to students who will have to drop out if their grades drop even a little bit.

The result is that some of the best students are among the most timid -- afraid to stick with a course that proves challenging, afraid to explore outside their major, afraid to take an innovative approach to an assignment. I especially see it in German classes, where the skills needed to learn a language don't match up all that well with the skills needed to succeed in college overall. I hate it when students quit because they are afraid they may not get the A they need.

It's a bum way to run an educational system.


Anonymous said...

When I was a student at MSU-Billings there were many students who were very good at picking their courses based on the grading reputation of the particular Professor. There were also students who floated through by taking the easiest courses and skipping anything that was perceived to be hard. All of this was to artifically inflate GPA's. All of the GPA pressure was self induced. Many of these graduates failed miserably in the real world.

Senor Frog said...

I've seen yet another side to this. I've had "career" students -- frequently education or music education majors -- who sign up for curses they never have attended so they can qualify as having taken enough credits to keep the student loans and Pell Grants coming. They get the easy "A" grades in their chosen fields, still have a GPA high enough to keep them in and the gravy trains keeps rolling.