Common Myths - Re: Grades in College
Now that College Parents of America is gaining wider awareness among the public and greater acceptance in the higher education community, many authors of college-related books are starting to send their work my way, hoping that we will choose to publicize these titles to those of you who receive my column.
We give all of these tomes at least a quick once-over, and most of them a closer read. Sometimes, we then choose to mention a particular work on this site.
This article highlights at least a portion of a book that recently caught our eye, entitled Professors' Guide to Getting Good Grades in College, co-authored by Lynn F. Jacobs, Ph.D,, and Jeremy S. Hyman, M.A. Dr. Jacobs is associate professor of art history at the University of Arkansas and Mr. Hyman is a former university teacher and manager of the Professors' Guide project.
The chapter that grabbed our attention, especially during this mid-fall-semester season, is called "Common Myths about Grades in College." After reading these myths, and how they are dispelled by Dr. Jacobs and Mr. Hyman, we think that they apply to high school grading, too. Here they are, with a bit of College Parents of America president James A. Boyle’s commentary thrown in. And peripheral credit to David Letterman, as this list contains the usual ten items, organized in the potential "voice" of your child, beginning with:
MYTH #1: "It's Bad to Be a Grade-Grubber"
The bottom line here is that grades, as Jacobs and Hyman put it, are the "currency of college. Just as pro athletes want to achieve good stats, and employees crave a positive performance review, so too should students aim to do their best, and they shouldn't be embarrassed about being called a nerd or a geek because they get good grades.
MYTH #2: "Why Try to Get Good Grades? All I Need is That Piece of Paper?"
The piece of paper, of course, is a diploma, which is important to achieve in order to be able fill that portion of a job or graduate school application. Increasingly, however, employers and grad schools are looking closely at the achievements of potential students, not just proof that they have done the bare minimum to graduate.
MYTH #3: "College? This is Going to Be a Cakewalk"
Jacobs and Hyman here make a compelling case that is based on some straightforward math. As they write, "Most of the students who go on from high school to college are in the top percentage of their high school class." Simple logic tells you that not everybody can be in the top percentage of a college class, so some portion of students will slide down the grading scale.
MYTH #4: "E is for Effort"
We're all familiar with middle school or high school classes that reward a student simply for turning in all homework, attending and participating in classes, and otherwise making one's presence known to the extent that a teacher comes to believe: "Wow, he/she is really trying," and rewards the student accordingly. That doesn't happen in college.
Reprinted with the permission of College Parents of America. © 2007 CollegeParents.org
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