Aug 30 2012
Two years ago I was not satisfied with my A- result in the Marketing Management class in my MBA course, that I confronted the lecturer and argued with him. After all, I thought I was one of his best students in the class. If some others could get a full A, why not me too?
But he asked me instead, “What makes you think you deserve an A?” I didn’t have a good answer to that. I was made speechless.
It’s getting normal for students to expect an A instead of B or just a pass. After all, it’s becoming easier to get A nowadays. It’s also becoming politically incorrect for lecturers not to dish out A’s. In fact, for many students, the grade A has become the passing grade.
It’s good to aim high, but do we deserve it? Looking back, I didn’t really complete all my works diligently. I submitted late for one assignment. There were weaknesses in my case analysis. There were areas I couldn’t justify well in my presentations. There were weak spots in the subject I still couldn’t grasp well.
An “A” means excellent performance. But I didn’t perform well enough to qualify for it. If I went to Harvard Business School instead, I wonder I might not even pass! It’s only because others got A in the class that made me think I should get A too.
To limit the number of students who get A’s in a class, some schools might impose a “quota system”. Now all students are ranked statistically and A’s have become a precious treasure.
But what happens to those who deserve to get A but are edged out by even better students? What if undeserving ones getting A just because there are not enough students to fill in the quota for A’s?
Or perhaps students are marked and given their own grade they deserve. If the whole class have done excellently, then all should get A’s. If nobody deserves, then nobody should get it. I’m more inclined toward this solution.
But then students may compare one class to another, or one school to another, and find it unfair. Why is it that, given the same effort, they can’t get A while those in another class or school can?
And for those of you who think you should get A, allow me to ask you the same question. What makes you think you deserve to get A?