Monday, July 10, 2017

What's Wrong With College Today

The AJC drops this nugget in an article on the challenges and stress of college, particularly Smith:
With workshops on impostor syndrome, discussions on perfectionism, as well as a campaign to remind students that 64 percent of their peers will get (gasp) a B-minus or lower, the program is part of a campuswide effort to foster student "resilience," to use a buzzword of the moment. 
Setting aside the fact we're talking about Smith, and ignoring the made-up edu-babble of "impostor syndrome" and "resilience" let's just focus on the key failing of 36 percent getting NOTHING BUT A "B" OR BETTER! Really? An entire college career without even a B-minus let alone an ego-crushing C? And this is at Smith. What is your darling facing at a state school? Nothing but A's?

Back in the day, before every snowflake had a constitutional right to a college diploma, over 69 percent earned a "C," plus, minus, it didn't matter. It was a generally accepted fact that most folks were average, only a few were exceptional and equally few were not cutting the mustard. When you moved from high school where you were in the top ten percent to college where you were surrounded by all the other schools' top ten percent you were then confronted with a new average. Where you may no longer be in the top ten percent.

Absolute standards of learning and performance were set to be met, or not met. There was no curve and whenever a whiny class suggested such it was met with the observation that under absolute standards there was nothing preventing a class with nothing but A's whilst a curve guarantees as many F's as A's and as many D's as B's with the vast majority getting C's. Nonetheless, The Curve became the norm.

The Curve ran its course in the nineties dying out in the naughties but there was no return to the high expectations and academic rigor that preceded The Curve. The Curve coincided with high school grade inflation, low standards, a tuition-driven business model and the intellectually bankrupt notion that everyone, including the ignorant and ill-prepared are college material. More importantly the normal distribution (none dare call it The Bell Curve) was supplanted by a bi-nodal distribution, known as The Dumb Bell Curve, with Tiger Cubs at the top end and the flotsam and jetsam of failed public schools anchoring the other. Blowback over getting C's evaporated but the mantra of "Success for All" pushed the entire Dumb Bell Curve into the range of B or better. Academia continues to blow fluff into their tuition driven bubble by replacing academic achievement with a mere participation award.