Ratcheting Down on Student Ability

George Leef

In today’s Pope Center piece, Professor Norman Van Cott of Ball State University writes about his experience in teaching introductory economics to both an “honors” section and a regular section. The difference in results is striking. Van Cott concludes that American colleges and universities (BSU is pretty typical) have already ratcheted down a long way with regard to student ability; to expand “access” to many more high school grads, as many politicians say we should, would lead to increasing pressure on professors to dilute their courses and inflate grades.

Van Cott himself won’t do either, but most will go along.

One point that I think stands out is the level of effort devoted by the “honors” students compared with the effort of the others. A lot of college students prefer to coast along without putting in much effort, as the recent study by Marks and Babcock showed. The “I can get by without working hard” mentality that K-12 ingrains in many young Americans obviously carries on into college.

  • Share

Most Commented

January 9, 2023

1.

NAS Celebrates the Nomination of Reform-Minded Trustees to the New College of Florida Board

The National Association of Scholars is delighted with Governor Ron DeSantis’ nomination of six education reformers to the Board of Trustees of the New College of Florida....

December 7, 2022

2.

New Study Tracks Rise of DEI in STEM Departments, Associations, Grants, and Literature

A new study published today by the National Association of Scholars, Ideological Intensification, offers an in-depth quantitative analysis of just how far DEI has advanced into STEM fields....

January 5, 2023

3.

NAS Condemns the Attacks against Jordan Peterson

The National Association of Scholars condemns the unrelenting illiberal attacks being levied against Dr. Peterson and against anyone who dares push back against the enemies of intellectual f......

Most Read

May 15, 2015

1.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

October 12, 2010

2.

Ask a Scholar: What is the True Definition of Latino?

What does it mean to be Latino? Are only Latin American people Latino, or does the term apply to anyone whose language derived from Latin?...

March 22, 2023

3.

How Many Confucius Institutes Are in the United States?

UPDATED: We're keeping track of all Confucius Institutes in the United States, including those that remain open, those that closed, and those that have announced their closing....