An interesting statistic from this article from the Madison (Wisconsin) Times: in fall 2008, the average grade in social work courses was 3.70 on a 4.0 scale, and the average grade in mathematics courses was 2.79. (The article doesn't indicate why these two departments were chosen, but I suspect they're at the extremes of the distribution.) This is a fact offered in an article about how students feel more "entitled" to high grades than in the past.
I don't want to comment on how students may or may not feel entitled to high grades. Most of the information I've seen indicates that this sort of entitlement is more common now than in the past; I haven't been teaching long enough to feel like I can comment intelligently on historical trends. (And I wouldn't want to include data from when I was taking classes, because my friends and I may or may not have been a good sample.)
From 3σ → left.
04 August 2009
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Students do need to try out their expectation skills before launching out into the commercial world.
Maybe grades need to come with a disclaimer that points out the average grade, or with a five number summary of grades or somesuch...
I teach at UW and this was a dopey article. In math, a huge proportion of our enrollment is made up of students who are meeting requirements and haven't chosen to take our courses; this isn't really true of any department on campus. Given that, it would be rather surprising if the average GPA in math courses weren't low!
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