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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: December ::
Re: Plagiarism
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2842  Friday, 14 December 2001

[1]     From:   Jeffrey Myers <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Dec 2001 09:59:17 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.2838 Re: Plagiarism

[2]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Dec 2001 14:56:16 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2838 Re: Plagiarism

[3]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Dec 2001 15:14:14 -0500
        Subj:   Plagiarism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeffrey Myers <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Dec 2001 09:59:17 -0500
Subject: 12.2838 Re: Plagiarism
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.2838 Re: Plagiarism

> Clifford Stetner, whom I believe teaches at a public
> university, wrote:
>
> > Like mass media, grade inflation is the product of a
> similarly profit
> > driven university system
>
> I am under the impression that there is as much grade inflation at
> publicly funded schools as at private institutions, if not
> more.  Grade
> inflation hardly results from a fear that if Student A flunks out the
> loss of his tuition will bankrupt the school.  Rather, the operative
> considerations are those that Cliff would be expected to sympathize
> with:  Political correctness ("no one should be called a failure, it
> hurts their feelings"); reluctance by the administration to admit poor
> judgment ("we let them in, now we have to let them get out") and
> litigiousness by students who feel free to raise a ruckus if
> they don't
> get honor grades.

You left out perhaps the major reason: faculty increasingly dependent on
student evaluations for tenure and promotion need to keep everyone
happy.

Jeff Myers

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Dec 2001 14:56:16 -0500
Subject: 12.2838 Re: Plagiarism
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2838 Re: Plagiarism

> Clifford Stetner, whom I believe teaches at a public university,

In fact I attend a public university and teach currently at two private
universities (it being impossible to survive any longer without freeway
flying from one ridiculously underpaid position to another). As to your
assumptions regarding my sympathies, if they were accurate I would allow
my students such grammatical constructions as this:

Clifford

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Dec 2001 15:14:14 -0500
Subject:        Plagiarism

Grade inflation probably has less to do with Political Correctness than
with changing economic realities and altered power relationships.  Back
in the 50s, you could graduate from Yale with a 75 average and
immediately count on an old boy network that would set you up for life
as an executive in a top company.  Grades weren't important because
pedigree was.

Moreover, there was really no way to complain about grades 50 years ago
because it was the province of the faculty, and the faculty was backed
to the hilt by the administration.

All that has changed. First, at both public and private schools, student
evaluations wield enormous power, and faculty give high grades to insure
that their evaluations are not too low. Second, the mantra now is that
students are "consumers" whose every wish is to be catered to. Students
want high grades, and faculty better give them. Third, at private
colleges, students (or their parents) now pay over $30,000 per year.
Parents want to insure the success of their "investment," and hence the
pressure from alumni and parents to give high grades.

If all this sounds somewhat corrupt, well, it is. Rumor has it that at
Princeton, in liberal arts there are only three grades: A+, A, and A-.
Even at a public institution like Marshall, last year the composite
grade average in liberal arts was 2.7 (out of 4.0). It probably should
be about 2.2, at the highest.

In the midst of inflating grades, I remain,

Yours truly,
--Ed Taft

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