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The dangers of grade inflation for young America
http://hotair.com/archives/2012/06/01/the-dangers-of-grade-inflation-for-young-america/ ^

Posted on 06/01/2012 8:10:58 PM PDT by chessplayer

Congratulations, young America, you’ve reached the threshold of academic perfection. Recent studies have shown that an “A” is now the MOST COMMON GRADE for college students in the United States. It’s nice to know that my generation is so well educated. Or perhaps not. Based upon a mountain of contradictory evidence and the environment I see all around me as an American college student, I hesitate to declare victory too soon. When you dig deeper the facts show that grade inflation is what really fuels our college students’ higher GPAs, and A today might be equivalent to a C forty years ago.

Despite the outward appearances of academic perfection, today’s students are not on an upward trajectory toward academic success. Last year, a USA Today report showed that college students make little academic progress in their first two years of college. In fact, 45 percent of students showed no significant gains, a figure which contradicts academia’s goal of educating students. College Students are more likely to focus on their social lives rather than their academic record. Professors caught up with their own research are less likely to pay attention to such habits. Additionally, students spend 50 percent less time studying now than they have in past decades.


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Tremendous pressure on the profs by both the students and their parents to give out A's, even if their work is actually C caliber. Watched the commencement ceremony of a university close to me. Student after student after student graduated either summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude. The minority of the students graduating did so without one of those honors.
1 posted on 06/01/2012 8:11:02 PM PDT by chessplayer
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To: chessplayer

You can’t charge 40K in tuition and give little Timmy a ‘C’. The parents will bitch. People are buying their kids a diploma.


2 posted on 06/01/2012 8:16:43 PM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: chessplayer

One of my favorite movies is “The Paper Chase”. I loved the part where they holed up in the hotel room so they could write their paper without being bothered. That movie is about 40 years old.


3 posted on 06/01/2012 8:24:10 PM PDT by BBell (And Now for Something Completely Different)
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To: central_va

Read that the first two college years are mostly remedial studies,,,teaching them what they should have learned in high school. The real college work doesn’t begin until their junior year.


4 posted on 06/01/2012 8:26:53 PM PDT by chessplayer
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To: chessplayer

I teach a lot of industrial technical classes. I can tell you that A may be the most common grade but the abilities I see don’t merit such.

1. I had an entire table of 6 engineers who could not even plug numbers into a formula and get the right answers. They didn’t know how to work within the parentheses first then add or do the other operations. WTF?
2. When the get the wrong answer their immediate conclusion is that I got the wrong answer. Never mind that I’ve taught this stuff and done this stuff for more decades than they have been alive.
3. Teaching test has left them vacant of reasoning ability. They want to know the answer to pass the test. Give them a problem and they melt.

I’m not encouraged for the future in more ways than one.


5 posted on 06/01/2012 8:28:08 PM PDT by Sequoyah101 (You've been screwed by your government.)
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To: chessplayer
When you dig deeper the facts show that grade inflation is what really fuels our college students’ higher GPAs

Well, some of it is grade inflation, but I'd bet more of it is simply that a far greater percentage of American students avoid math, science and engineering in favor of soft, easy, absolutely useless liberal arts and humanities fluff.

I saw a stat recently that showed there are about the same number of US students pursuing degrees in math, science and engineering as there were in 1984 - even though there are far more students in college now, thanks to the flood of easy college loan money (easy to get, not easy to repay). By contrast there are more students majoring in visual arts today than there are majoring in math, science, and engineering put together - and the majority are foreign students who may or may not put those educations to use in the US.
6 posted on 06/01/2012 8:31:00 PM PDT by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: chessplayer

In my engineering classes, the professor included in his course syllibus the equations he used to normalize grades to a Bell curve. The average grade in that class was a “C”, mathematically derived from the scores of every test, quiz and homework assignment.

There were equal numbers of “D” grades as “B” grades, and the number of “F” grades equaled the number of “A” grades.

We had to bust our butts to get a “C”.


7 posted on 06/01/2012 8:32:50 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: central_va
Now there's just one final test that little Timmy must pass ... it's when I interview him for a job. Unfortunately there are no "giveaways" for that interview.

Over the years I have hired a few Timmy's ... I just gave them lower level jobs with much lower pay than they would have received had they increased their "gray matter" while in college. And generlly they advance through their career much more slowly as well. Over their lifetimes the cost to them must be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It reminds me of that movie that was made about the life of Bruce Lee when the lady who owned the restaurant told him, just before he went to college, that he could always drop out and and return to his job as a dish washer.

8 posted on 06/01/2012 8:32:50 PM PDT by The Duke
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To: chessplayer

Some study showed that 80% of people think they are above average. It didn’t matter what was being measured. 80% of people think they are smarter than average, 80% of people think they are taller than average, 80% of people thing they are better looking than average, etc.


9 posted on 06/01/2012 8:33:29 PM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: Sequoyah101

I teach a lot of industrial technical classes. I can tell you that A may be the most common grade but the abilities I see don’t merit such.


Used to be a student could feel a real sense of accomplishment if they got an A. Now with almost everyone getting an A, it’s like “so what?”


10 posted on 06/01/2012 8:33:38 PM PDT by chessplayer
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To: chessplayer

First day of Introduction to Management, York College of Pennsylvania, 1978:

Prof: Would you agree that the grade of “C” means average?
Class: Yes.

Prof: Would you agree that most of you are average?
Class: Yes.

Prof: Therefore, most of you will receive “C” ‘s.


11 posted on 06/01/2012 8:33:52 PM PDT by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini--nevertheless, Vote Santorum!)
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To: chessplayer

This is true in most colleges, and has even reached the top schools like UW Madison and UC Berkeley.


12 posted on 06/01/2012 8:34:25 PM PDT by Thunder90 (Romney barely won in OH with a 12-1 money advantage, he can't beat Obama that way.)
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To: Hodar

I have heard of courses where the professor “Skewed to the Left”- This is where more students failed than got A’s, and more D’s than B’s.

Oh, and if the A students didn’t get over 60% on the test, they got dropped to a “B” anyway (”C” for below 50%). Hardly anyone got an A in that course (Once in a 2 year occurrence). BTW, the average score was a 27%.


13 posted on 06/01/2012 8:37:42 PM PDT by Thunder90 (Romney barely won in OH with a 12-1 money advantage, he can't beat Obama that way.)
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To: Sequoyah101
I had an entire table of 6 engineers who could not even plug numbers into a formula and get the right answers. They didn’t know how to work within the parentheses first then add or do the other operations. WTF?

Without going into details, I work for a military base supporting the USAF. About 6 years ago, the base hired a bunch of "Engineering Technology" folks to do low level engineering work. These "Engineers" demonstrated the gifts you describe, and after "a bunch" of money was wasted, the base brought in some "Electrical Engineers" - who were able to solve the myrad of relatively simple problems within a year.

The 2-Star who ran this base, and several other bases in neighboring states isssued a directive - "Absolutely no hiring of Engineering Technology degreed personnel, regardless of experience level without his direct involvement".

This small group of incompetent "engineers" have ruined the chances of hundreds or thousands of other "Engineering Technology" degreed professionals from pursing a degree with the USAF.

14 posted on 06/01/2012 8:39:53 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: chessplayer

Twenty years ago, I got an “A” in a course. That translates to a 4.0 getting averaged into the rest of my grades. That’s the highest grade you could get. I had gotten a 98% in the course, so I figured I should have gotten an “A++” and told the professor so. He had my grade changed to an “A++” in my transcript. It still only counted as a 4.0 though. I think he gave B+ to anyone who showed up.


15 posted on 06/01/2012 8:41:43 PM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: Born to Conserve

“Some study showed that 80% of people think they are above average.”

Not me. I always called myself Medium Mears.

Medium height.

Medium weight.

Medium income.

Medium intelligence.

All those “mediums” have served me well over the years.


16 posted on 06/01/2012 8:43:31 PM PDT by Mears (Alcohol. Tobacco. Firearms. What's not to like?)
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To: Thunder90
BTW, the average score was a 27%

Dr. Myron at SDSU? He was my advisor - he took pride in washing engineers out.

Teachers like that are worse than useless. The tests were so convoluted and difficult that no one really had a chance of answering any single problem. You "shot-gunned" the 4 question test and hoped your partial credit would pass you.

All you would up doing was vomiting up formulae and derivations in the hope of guessing you were on the right path. Meanwhile, a student who happened to bypass this teacher actually LEARNED the topic of the course, passed the test and understood the what/why and when's of the various principles.

17 posted on 06/01/2012 8:44:42 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: Sequoyah101

Is the Bell Curve at play ?


18 posted on 06/01/2012 8:47:22 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: chessplayer

When I went to Ohio State for electrical engineering, they told us in orientation to look to your left and your right, and that only one of you three would make it through the program. They weren’t kidding. Talked to a recent gard - it’s still that way (although they do allow a bit more remdial math up front that does NOT count toward your major).

Old joke there: lim EE (GPA ->0) = business

Except now the business school rocks.

So there are still some REAL colleges...


19 posted on 06/01/2012 8:47:22 PM PDT by piytar (The predator-class is furious that their prey are shooting back.)
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To: Sequoyah101

I worked part-time as a math tutor while in college. It was ridiculous the number of people going for math-heavy majors who I had to teach junior-high-level math to.

One guy even seemed proud of the fact that he’d never learned to multiply or divide. He even tried to trick me into taking one of his tests for him!!!


20 posted on 06/01/2012 8:48:36 PM PDT by Ellendra ("It's astounding how often people mistake their own stupidity for a lack of fairness." --Thunt)
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To: Mears
All those “mediums” have served me well over the years.

That's because you've used them in an above-average way, by understanding them in an excellent way, in order to follow brilliant ideas without being sabotaged by below-average people.

21 posted on 06/01/2012 8:51:00 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: chessplayer

I’d have to agree. I teach Core Humanities at the local community college. Mostly Sophomores who cannot write to save their lives. My courses are history intensive and writing intensive. I tell the students on Day 1 that while an “A” might be the most common grade on college campuses, unfortunately for them, they are in Professor Crapgame’s class and an “A” is the LEAST common grade I give out. I usually have at least as many if not more “F”s...


22 posted on 06/01/2012 8:52:03 PM PDT by Crapgame (What should be taught in our schools? American Exceptionalism, not cultural Marxism...)
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To: Mears

I’ve read enough of your posts to know that you have WAY anove average common sense, which is far from common. Or average.


23 posted on 06/01/2012 8:53:37 PM PDT by piytar (The predator-class is furious that their prey are shooting back.)
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To: Ellendra

Geez, I still have my slide-rule from the 60’s.


24 posted on 06/01/2012 8:53:50 PM PDT by umgud (No Rats, No Rino's)
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To: piytar

Um, grad...


25 posted on 06/01/2012 8:55:10 PM PDT by piytar (The predator-class is furious that their prey are shooting back.)
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To: Crapgame

How cruel! What chance for success will these poor kids have if you don’t give them good grades? /s


26 posted on 06/01/2012 8:55:57 PM PDT by kevao
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To: Thunder90

“I have heard of courses where the professor “Skewed to the Left”- This is where more students failed than got A’s, and more D’s than B’s.”

I was in one of those. To add insult to injury, the professor could not speak English, had illegible writing, and did not use a textbook.

“Discrete Mathematical Structures”. They used it to weed out first year graduate students. We called the professor “Hitler”, though he was Taiwanese. He clicked his heals and saluted at each QED.


27 posted on 06/01/2012 8:57:12 PM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: Hodar

You’d think it would be simpler to give a test to the candidates, so obvious louses would get filtered out (and the rest would know that their competency was being honored). I cannot grok a graduate not being able to use BOOK FORMULAS, and as for not being able to follow the evaluation logic of nested parentheses — even with calculators which can reproduce this with open and close paren keys — good grief.

As for remedials — when I entered engineering school I had the opposite situation. I was able to test out of English rhetoric altogether. I had mastered that in high school. And I did just fine in college papers. They did have me go through calculus again, no test-out being possible, but that was pretty much an easy coast as, once more, I had mastered a year’s worth of it in high school.

The policy for grading was pretty much bell curve, though the policy often was that if there were one or two stellar students well above the grouping they would not be counted in the curve, but just awarded the A. I was often one of those stellar students. It did ease relations with my classmates who didn’t feel so antagonistic towards the “curve raiser.” I didn’t really care a lot about there being no A+, the normal A being enough to open just about any door during that era.


28 posted on 06/01/2012 8:58:59 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Let me ABOs run loose Lou!)
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To: All
I came across the following question posted on Yahoo Answers the other day:
I am a teacher. We are ranked on a 1-5 scale. So, 50 percent of my eval was 2.76, 35 percent was 2.0, and 15 percent was 4.0.

So what is my rank on 1-5 scale? Help! Very stumped!

While my response may have been perhaps a bit over the top, I call 'em like I see 'em:
You're a teacher and you can't do a simple weighted average??? I certainly hope that you're not a math teacher.

Multiply each score times its weight and sum them:

(0.5 * 2.76) + (0.35 * 2.0) + (0.15 * 4.0) = 1.38 + 0.7 + 0.6 = 2.68

And people wonder why the kids aren't learning much?

And, yes, that question was for real:

Yahoo Answers post

29 posted on 06/01/2012 9:00:23 PM PDT by Bob
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To: Bob

Someone was pulling your leg!


30 posted on 06/01/2012 9:02:24 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Let me ABOs run loose Lou!)
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To: Crapgame

It makes a difference whether you always force a bell curve that way, or whether you have a fixed set of standards in which any student, in principle, could excel without hurting the others.


31 posted on 06/01/2012 9:05:51 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Let me ABOs run loose Lou!)
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To: Bob

For real, my pulled leg. Look at the data; doesn’t that appear rather artificial and contrived?


32 posted on 06/01/2012 9:07:18 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Let me ABOs run loose Lou!)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Not sure that there is a test you could give to “filter” those out - because a degree in Engineering is to a great extent a demonstration that “I have learned to learn”.

For example, my High School was exceptionally poor at most technical classes. Our “Math” teachers were hired based upon their ability to coach sports. Often, the students would have to teach the teacher in subjects like Algebra - forget Calculus. Our bone-headed high school teachers couldn’t master basic Algebra, Geometry or Trig.

Naturally, I paid dearly for their incompetence; but they apparently were really good at coaching basketball - you know, the important stuff.

Me, I’m happy to learn - and I’m a quick study. Being able to grasp complex subjects quickly and move on has served me well. I do wish I understood the higher level maths better - but I put my head down, passed the course and haven’t used the course material in my 25 yrs as an engineer.

What matters is the aptitude, the attitude and the ability to break a complex problem down into a hierarchy of simple challenges. Everything else can be learned, as needed.


33 posted on 06/01/2012 9:10:04 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: Hodar

There are engineering certification tests (for example Professional Engineer) and so it’s not impossible; and anyhow being unable to use book formulas properly should be a sure disqualifier. It won’t eliminate all the dunces but at least the duller ones will not be able to ruin it for the rest.


34 posted on 06/01/2012 9:14:16 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Let me ABOs run loose Lou!)
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To: Bob

I believe you, without reservation or condition.

I’m dumbfounded at what many “Educators” consider to be “competency”. I would fully expect an Art, English or Spanish teacher to have mastered this level of math, but I’m often accused of under-estimating High School level “Educators”.

Frankly, I have very little respect for them as a profession. And every bit of disdain has been earned.


35 posted on 06/01/2012 9:14:16 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I went back to school for some courses in a new area, and half the students were, er, “entitled”. They clearly were in way over their heads, but it was a city subsidized university. They had to be there, and they had to pass. I asked the professor how he handled the grading curve. He said that with a curve this bimodal, he simply separated the to ‘bells’, and super-imposed them. The grade for the average from the top bell was a B-, and the grade for the average from the low bell curve was a B-. He said that the, er, “entitled” students always dropped out anyway, so inflating their grades did no harm. And this way he didn’t get a knife in his ribs in the parking lot.


36 posted on 06/01/2012 9:15:34 PM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: piytar
When I went to Ohio State for electrical engineering, they told us in orientation to look to your left and your right, and that only one of you three would make it through the program. They weren’t kidding.

I lived that also--except for my engineering school, only one in four made it to graduation.

I made it, and then I found that my real education occurred after college.

37 posted on 06/01/2012 9:16:26 PM PDT by exit82 (Democrats are the enemies of freedom. Be Andrew Breitbart.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I’m aware of the EIT, I took it and passed it the first time through without having to study. I worked full time while going to college (boy, that sucked more than I care to think about). My grades were “average”, I’m sure that they would have been much, much higher if I was afforded the time to study and do my homework. But, alas I’m just a poor farm boy from the middle of no-where.

We were required to take the EIT prior to graduation, so I grabbed my CRC book, and went in prepared to bomb it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I passed it with an overall score of 84%. I think my Professors were more shocked than I was.

I thought you were referring to a battery of tests for the Freshman/Sophmore years of engineering; to assertain competency.


38 posted on 06/01/2012 9:18:11 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: chessplayer
Nice read:


39 posted on 06/01/2012 9:18:47 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Someone was pulling your leg!

That's certainly possible - I misread the name as being one that someone claiming to be a teacher has been posting under for several months. This was done by a 'drive-by' poster with a similar name.

40 posted on 06/01/2012 9:19:11 PM PDT by Bob
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To: Mears

“Not me. I always called myself Medium Mears.”

If you were “medium” at judging yourself, you wouldn’t judge yourself “medium”. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.


41 posted on 06/01/2012 9:19:41 PM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: piytar

Wonder if it was truly ethical to hocus them that way (and anyhow, that could have been three champs abreast). There’s the old saw about the bumblebee that never knew it shouldn’t fly, and so it did.


42 posted on 06/01/2012 9:21:56 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Let me ABOs run loose Lou!)
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To: exit82
I made it, and then I found that my real education occurred after college

Isn't that the truth!! I was scared wit-less at my first job, just waiting for someone to present me with an engineering problem, and have them realize I hadn't a clue as how to design anything. I could do matrix math, permutations, differential calculations, relativistic physics, express Reynolds Equations, and roughly explain Special Relativity.

But, connect a J-K Flip-Flop into a timing circuit?

However, to my school's credit; the assortment of tools and concepts I had learned really helped me absorb new material quickly, easily and orderly.

43 posted on 06/01/2012 9:24:24 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: Hodar

I’m speaking in the context of the horror story of the USAF engineering tech hires who proved so spectacularly incompetent, so the entire category of candidates had the kibosh put on them. The prospective hires should have to take a test to show such things as being able to follow book formulas. So anyone who “graduated” because, say, some dean owed some generous alumnus a favor wouldn’t be able to spoil it for the rest.


44 posted on 06/01/2012 9:25:12 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Let me ABOs run loose Lou!)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

We both know that there is an EIT Certification put forth by the various states for Mechanical and Electrical engineers.

I’m not aware of there is a similar “Engineer-In-Training” Certificate for Engineering Technology graduates. If so, I agree that this would be a good “Gating Function” in the hiring process.


45 posted on 06/01/2012 9:31:28 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: Hodar

My degree was in Civil Engineering, but I could absolutely relate to what you are saying.

In my first job, I stayed late reading blueprints to understand the buildings I was working on.In school, we had never gone through an entire set of building blueprints. There was so much in the real world that wasn;t covered.

I asked a lot of questions and didn’t act like I knew it all—because I sure didn’t.

I listened and learned and grew, step by step.

But like you, I had a toolbox of methods and discipline that I could apply to acquire the information I needed and to use it correctly.

Even now, I laugh at that time period and what an eye-opener it was. Kept me humble, that’s for sure.

And 36 years later, I’m still learning.


46 posted on 06/01/2012 9:32:09 PM PDT by exit82 (Democrats are the enemies of freedom. Be Andrew Breitbart.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I have fixed standards and they are laid out in each course syllabus. Of course most students can’t be bothered to read the syllabus. I did love the Journalism major last semester that complained to me about the rough grading of her grammar. She told me that she is a journalism major/writer and no professor had ever taken points away from her for her grammar. I referred her to the College Writing Center.


47 posted on 06/01/2012 9:32:43 PM PDT by Crapgame (What should be taught in our schools? American Exceptionalism, not cultural Marxism...)
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To: Crapgame
She told me that she is a journalism major/writer and no professor had ever taken points away from her for her grammar.

That just ain't right.

48 posted on 06/01/2012 9:36:54 PM PDT by kevao
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To: Theoria

There seems to be some huge overall spike that coincides with the official end to the Vietnam War (end of U.S. military involvement, that is), Watergate, and the election of Jimmy Carter.


49 posted on 06/01/2012 9:44:43 PM PDT by thecodont
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To: HiTech RedNeck

That is horrible. To graduate unequipped to perform in your career is downright dangerous and explains a lot of the problems we are having.

I’m very careful in hiring. I have people write me a quick essay.

My husband worked in a place where he inherited a division with workers who had reading comprehension issues and could not write. He had to carefuly check everything until he could revamp that division staff. They would give him ebonics stuff to sign his name to! They had college degrees.


50 posted on 06/01/2012 9:56:24 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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