In “Making the grade” Wiesenfeld begins by asserting that if students don’t like their grades they argue with him by wanting to “trade” them for something better. Wiesenfeld believes that the students do not really care about the academic purpose of study or the love of knowledge, but to pursue other goals. He asserts that students should take the process of receiving grades more seriously and be aware of the teachers’ problems since it is impossible for teachers to give good grades if the standards of the paper are not met. The article highlights the dilemmas of the teachers who cannot simply give grades to the students due to their “disgruntled-consumer approach”. Wiesenfeld explains that in order to obtain good grades, students must work hard and study rather than considering grades to be to them to get a good grade without hard working or caring about the knowledge they get in the class.
The author is alarmed by the “indifference” of the students “towards grades as an indication of personal effort and performance” who want good grades whether they deserve it or not. He wonders if the students will be happy if they get the grades they don’t actually deserve. It troubles Wiesenfeld to see that students only consider it important to pass in class with a minimum of C grade and obtaining true knowledge does not actually concern them. Students do not realize the importance and benefits of studying and acquiring information and consider it important only to get a degree without the necessary “long hours and hard work required”.
The author is extremely angry with this no care attitude of the students in acquiring knowledge and information and warns that they should “take themselves seriously now” and realize that their attitude is not only self-destructive but socially destructive”. He alerts the students that if they did not do this, the “country will be forced to take them seriously later when the stakes are much higher”. The author asserts that lack of information and knowledge will result in the erosion of quality and resultantly the erosion of the country’s capability and ability to perform well.
Wiesenfeld elucidates what would happen when an incapable person would get a job and the result will be the multiplication of the “eroding academic standards” which will begin to multiply with more and more students having a similar approach. Giving several examples of the ill effects of incapable students graduating and taking jobs, the author laments the plight of the companies where they work.
He gives an example of a worker being killed due to the collapse of a Light Tower in Atlanta, killing a worker. This collapse and death were due to the miscalculations of a worker who was wrong in affirming the amount of weight the Tower could withstand. The extent of potential harm to the lives of innumerable students thus depends on the ability and capability of the students who are the future of the nation. The author tries to make the crucial point that the irresponsible behavior of these students is a risk to the lives and economy of the companies where they may be employed, in spite of their incapability. Indeed, the consequences of not studying and graduating to get jobs are extremely dangerous.
Wiesenfeld states that since most of his students are science and engineering majors, he cannot give them grade if they don’t deserve them, for the simple reason that their grades could affect the future and lives of innumerable humans. but, the author affirms, that the students are often angry and displeased if they do not get the grade that they “want” rather than what they deserve. The students also don’t realize the importance of submitting their work on time and earning a good grade for it. They are extremely careless about the time aspect and most of their submissions are late and never on time. He laments that students do not value the importance of time and scheduling their work and wonders why these students do not consider it “fair” to be judged according to their potential.
The sense of fairness of the students works when they do not receive the grade to maintain their scholarships or when they face the dangers of “flunking out” simply because they have not worked hard enough to earn the grades they want so badly. Wiesenfeld clearly states that for him and all teachers it is absolutely necessary to help and “preserve a minimum standard of quality” which is essential for the well-being of the society and the maintenance of its “safety and integrity”.
Thus the article clearly asserts that it is necessary to provide only those grades to students which they clearly deserve and grades should not be granted on the basis of loss of scholarships and dangers of failing. He outlines his moral responsibility to society and the world and pledges that he will only give the students the grades they deserve.
Wiesenfeld, K. (1996). Making the grade. NEWSWEEK.