Here are some excerpts from the article of  Daniel Trout, professor of English at Montana State University, that  stimulated  D. J. Daly to write about  Idiocy of SET.


Low Marks for Top Teachers
College students have a powerful say in how their teachers are graded.

By Paul Trout
( Washington Post Monday, March 13, 2000; Page A17 )



Every year I compete with my colleagues for a share of merit-pay money.  I have to receive high scores in each class I teach, at least 3.60 on a scale of 4. To get scores this high, I have to make a lot of students happy. There's the rub.


What makes many students happy nowadays? "Understanding" and "friendly" instructors, "comfortable" courses and "fair" grades. To translate: teachers who are not demanding, workloads that are not taxing and grading standards that are not high. 

(From  "Low Marks for Top Teachers" by Paul Trout)


Studies have found that students give lower ratings to instructors that have high standards and requirements--two attributes closely associated with student learning.

(From  "Low Marks for Top Teachers" by Paul Trout)


One study found that for every 10 percent increase in the amount of material students learned, the professor's rating decreased by a half-point.

(From  "Low Marks for Top Teachers" by Paul Trout)


The researcher advised professors seeking a perfect rating "to teach nothing and give at least 66 percent of the class A's."

(From  "Low Marks for Top Teachers" by Paul Trout)


Many college students are unprepared for the rigors of higher education. Growing numbers cannot read, write or compute proficiently and have, at best, only a weak grasp of basic historical and cultural information. Students with these handicaps (but with exalted high school GPAs and plenty of self-esteem) rarely appreciate being made to read, write and reason cogently....

(From  "Low Marks for Top Teachers" by Paul Trout)


many students now coming to college have almost no desire to learn, to know and understand things outside their narrow vocational interest.

(From  "Low Marks for Top Teachers" by Paul Trout)


According to a UCLA survey, 40 percent of each freshman class is "disengaged" from educational values and pursuits. Students are inattentive, easily bored and unwilling to work hard, especially on difficult or abstract material outside their interests.

(From  "Low Marks for Top Teachers" by Paul Trout)


Students themselves report that many of their peers "just get by and are more interested in meeting people than taking the academic seriously." One of them said that about half just "don't care."


If even Mark Edmundson, a six-figure full professor at the University of Virginia, complied with student demands for "comfortable, less challenging" classes--as he admitted doing--what sort of heroic resistance can be expected from those trying to reach a salary of $50,000 before retirement?

(From  "Low Marks for Top Teachers" by Paul Trout)


If this system is ever to be dismantled, it will have to be done by those outside the academy. It is up to taxpayers, parents, legislators, public-interest law firms and alumni to make sure that our college graduates aren't products of Father Guido Sarducci's "five-minute university."














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