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The article had me speechless!

 

Now that I have recovered, there are two comments I have:

 

1. With STEM, there are certain skill sets a student is expected to acquire before he can graduate. The engineering schools have THOUGHT about their curricula and requirement and put those in place for a good reason.

In STEM disciplines, mastery can be measured objectively - my students either solve the physics problem correctly or they don't; there is no room for my personal taste, or my likes or dislikes of individual students, and even a lot of effort and creativity will not get full credit if the solution is wrong - and the bridge this engineer would have designed would collapse. Grading "easier" would lower standards and produce graduates who do not possess the skills for their jobs.

A point can be made for examining requirements: does a pharmacist need to study calculus based physics? I personally don't think so - but I do not work for a pharmacy school and can not decide their admission standards. I see, however, very good reasons for an engineering student needing rigorous physics and math.

And I would find it unprofessional and unethical if I certified, by giving a good grade, that they have mastered the required material if they have not. It would be lying to their department, and, by issuing a degree, the university would be lying to their future employers.

 

2. The whole debate about GPA is pretty pointless and comparing apples to oranges- because the engineering students do not compete with the English majors.

Despite the maybe lower GPA, engineering graduates have much better job prospects and starting salaries than the majors of the disciplines where it is so easy to earn a good GPA. Our school's graduates (mostly engineers) start with a median salary of $57k. This is hard to beat with a 4.0 in English.

Edited by regentrude
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The comments were interesting.

 

I am surprised that the Education GPA was as low as it was though. In my experience, the Education courses that I took were almost impossible not to get an A in. We rarely ever stayed for the full scheduled course time and there were rarely outside activities/assignments that required much work (grad school). (Yes, I do believe that there may be mythical colleges out there that do have decent education programs. My grad school wasn't one of them.)

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Do you think a school will divulge the % of STEM majors who fall below the minimum GPA for maintaining merit scholarships? Maybe someone in the dept. might speak "off the record?" Perhaps it isn't even a big secret; obviously I don't know.

 

Dd has received notification of significant aid with 3.25 required. How does one assess the risk of falling under the cut-off?

 

jld, this was very interesting find.

 

One anecdote: We met a Cornell grad with a bachelors degree in physics with a GPA around 2.0; he is now in a doctoral program at USC.

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Regentrude, could you say more about what left you speechless?

 

8, could you elaborate on why you disagree with the author? And did you get a chance to read some of the comments? Most seemed to support keeping standards for STEM high.

 

I'd really like to hear more of what people think about the differences in studying humanities/social sciences and STEM . . .

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8, could you elaborate on why you disagree with the author? And did you get a chance to read some of the comments? Most seemed to support keeping standards for STEM high .

 

I didn't read the comments. And, quite simply, STEM majors need to be weeded out. These people end up in jobs that hold people's lives in their hands. So, if they "inflate" grades to make people in those majors feel good about themselves and "stay" in the major, what would public reaction be when plants explode or vehicles malfunction, or planes crash due to the lowered educational standards of STEM graduates just so everyone can be "happy"?

 

I'm sorry, but humanities majors do not take classes that are as crucial to public/worker safety.

 

FWIW.......I have this perspective based on being married during college to my dh who is an engineer and my double majoring in psy and ed. There was no comparison to our work load even when I was taking 21 hrs compared to his 15. I went to bed at 10 and he went to bed around 2-3 am w/ both of us having 7:50 am classes. Yeah, it was hard. Yeah, the grades were tough. But, the positions he has held since college impact lives and those other students that couldn't handle the load and the stress really needed to not continue in the major.

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Regentrude, could you say more about what left you speechless?

8, could you elaborate on why you disagree with the author? And did you get a chance to read some of the comments? Most seemed to support keeping standards for STEM high.

I'd really like to hear more of what people think about the differences in studying humanities/social sciences and STEM . . .

 

What left me speechless was the idiocy of the whole proposal. Even IF (big if) lowering standards would attract more people into STEM: why would we want to produce large numbers of unprepared and unqualified science and engineering graduates???? What good would that do?

The standards for STEM need to remain high because these are skills necessary for the graduates to do their jobs properly.

 

Apparently, statistics and anecdotal evidence suggest that the required skills for graduating as a humanities majors can be obtained with less work - but this fact can have no bearing on the requirements for engineers and scientists.

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I'm sorry, but humanities majors do not take classes that are as crucial to public/worker safety.

 

 

This couldn't be further from the truth.

 

The author mentioned:

Education

Language

English

Music

Religion

 

She did not mention:

 

History

Social and Behavioral Sciences (Political Science, Sociology, Economics, etc.)

Criminal Justice

 

And a few more I'm sure I'm forgetting because I just woke up and the coffee hasn't worked its way to my brain yet.

 

What is the significance of these majors (besides falling under the "humanities" umbrella at most universities)? They are the ones that the federal government recruits from to staff the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, other 3 letter agencies and the Armed Forces. Especially the Intelligence Services.

 

Those are pretty crucial to public/worker safety.

 

 

a

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This couldn't be further from the truth.

 

The author mentioned:

Education

Language

English

Music

Religion

 

She did not mention:

 

History

Social and Behavioral Sciences (Political Science, Sociology, Economics, etc.)

Criminal Justice

 

And a few more I'm sure I'm forgetting because I just woke up and the coffee hasn't worked its way to my brain yet.

 

What is the significance of these majors (besides falling under the "humanities" umbrella at most universities)? They are the ones that the federal government recruits from to staff the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, other 3 letter agencies and the Armed Forces. Especially the Intelligence Services.

 

Those are pretty crucial to public/worker safety.

 

 

a

 

:confused: You really think those are comparisons? I am not convinced. If they were comparable, they also are structured in such a way that they have built in "filters". They recruit.......but they also train/test/filterr independent of the college education. I suspect the college education is a "pre-filtering" process. If someone graduates with a history degree, they are not qualified to walk through the door as a field agent. They require training by those agencies.

 

I do have a lot more thoughts, but my dh is on vacation and just read over my shoulder and asked me to not get further involved in the discussion.

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asta, I'm not quite understanding what you and 8 may be disagreeing about. Are you saying that the social sciences are more challenging than the humanities, or that they are harder to get higher grades in? And 8 is saying that there is no comparison between the hard sciences and the social sciences? I understand that 8 wants to respect her dh's wishes not to get involved in a debate, so I was wondering if you could enlighten me. Thank you.

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The problem my daughter is running into is that she needs to maintain a certain GPA to keep her scholarship. But the GPA levels were set for the entire college, across all majors. In some majors, you get an A in every class if you just show up. However, she has to go and choose to major in physics, where one actually has to do some work. So she might potentially be penalized if she only does a good job.

 

The GPA one needs to keep a scholarship shouldn't have been set by the folks in the humanities to apply to the whole school. But from the side of people in the humanities, anyone who isn't keeping a straight A GPA doesn't deserve to keep a scholarship.

 

My daughter is relieved that she took a lot of the harder classes in her major before she ever got to college.

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I was a science major, a neuroscience major back in the day when we had to invent our own curriculum, and I was always working longer and harder than my compatriots who studied the humanities. But, I did not choose that major for a job, GPA, a social life, resume building potential. I chose it b/c I loved learning the chemistry and math and physiology. It was amazing. I am much more adept at humanities (I went into college as a French/IR/History major) but, I realized that learning something that I loved was more important.

It would have been nice to have a high GPA when I finished but, it was better to have had the opportunity to learn cool stuff. BTW, I was able to get good jobs after college, also grad degrees, research positions, etc. I would not have liked my teachers to have dumbed down the grading or the courses if it would have meant getting to do less.

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I was a science major, a neuroscience major back in the day when we had to invent our own curriculum, and I was always working longer and harder than my compatriots who studied the humanities. But, I did not choose that major for a job, GPA, a social life, resume building potential. I chose it b/c I loved learning the chemistry and math and physiology. It was amazing. I am much more adept at humanities (I went into college as a French/IR/History major) but, I realized that learning something that I loved was more important.

It would have been nice to have a high GPA when I finished but, it was better to have had the opportunity to learn cool stuff. BTW, I was able to get good jobs after college, also grad degrees, research positions, etc. I would not have liked my teachers to have dumbed down the grading or the courses if it would have meant getting to do less.

 

 

Wow! Interesting! I would like to hear more about what you did after college, if you wouldn't mind providing more detail.

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asta, I'm not quite understanding what you and 8 may be disagreeing about. Are you saying that the social sciences are more challenging than the humanities, or that they are harder to get higher grades in? And 8 is saying that there is no comparison between the hard sciences and the social sciences? I understand that 8 wants to respect her dh's wishes not to get involved in a debate, so I was wondering if you could enlighten me. Thank you.

 

Neither. I'm saying that one cannot compare apples and oranges. And I was lumping social and behavioral sciences in with humanities (because that is how my uni did it).

 

I think that society has a tendency to say "engineering = hard", "political science = easy" (just grabbing 2 examples out of the air there - one could just as easily say "physics" and "history" or any other two subjects). When, in actuality, there is no basis for comparison, as the two subjects require two different kinds of thinking. A person may be exceptional at the type of thinking required for engineering, but not be so hot for political science, and vice versa. It doesn't mean that one is "smarter" than the other; it just means that their brains work/focus/operate best in different subject matter.

 

My comment about the gvt positions was referencing the fact that those agencies seek out people who think in a certain way. And, believe it or not, the training those people eventually receive is merely procedural, it is not integral to their ability to do their jobs. Just as a civil engineer's ability to build a bridge is based in their knowledge of subject matter, the ability to "think outside the box" that those agency personnel garnered through their "dreamy" humanities degrees is what allows them to do their jobs.

 

I can't really speak to the grading issue. I think there is simply so much more than a person's major to be considered when discussing grades: age, maturity level, economic situation, all of it. I've seen young, immature students bomb the easiest classes on the planet (seriously: cut out fall leaves for a bulletin board for your final exam??), and I've seen older students not even bat an eye at highly advanced ________ classes and do very well; simply because they are secure in their abilities and recognize that it is not. the. end. of. the. world. if they don't make a 99 in a class.

 

That is all I can think of right now. I need to do dishes.

 

 

a

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I think that society has a tendency to say "engineering = hard", "political science = easy" (just grabbing 2 examples out of the air there - one could just as easily say "physics" and "history" or any other two subjects). When, in actuality, there is no basis for comparison, as the two subjects require two different kinds of thinking.

 

:iagree:

Edited by Gratia271
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I think that society has a tendency to say "engineering = hard", "political science = easy" (just grabbing 2 examples out of the air there - one could just as easily say "physics" and "history" or any other two subjects). When, in actuality, there is no basis for comparison, as the two subjects require two different kinds of thinking. A person may be exceptional at the type of thinking required for engineering, but not be so hot for political science, and vice versa. It doesn't mean that one is "smarter" than the other; it just means that their brains work/focus/operate best in different subject matter.

 

 

I completely agree that there are different ways of thinking. There is, however, one way to draw comparisons between different subjects: the amount of work a student has to put in to acquire whatever skills necessary to receive the degree in the respective field. I would find it resonable to assume that something that requires a lot more work is harder than something that can be accomplished with less effort.

So, one could definitely consider a major where students spend 60 hours per week on their studies as harder than a major where class attendance and one extra hour per day are sufficient.

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At my college, my economics degree may have been a bit easier than my husband's physics degree if you are talking about how much time we spent on outside work but not by very much. YOu certainly couldn't get by with spending one hour a week outside of class in economics. For that matter, about the only class I could do with one hour per week of homework was something like music appreciation. My dd;s criminology class in CC had much, much work than any undergrad class even I had. No, not all classes are the same but that is why I am not letting my dd who wants to go to law school go to a school where the teachers like to grade hard. She needs a good GPA to go to law school, a good gpa for the government job she wants to get for a job a few years before going to law school, and also needs it for her health. SHe is smart and very hard working and doesn't need crazy hard grading. She always does more work than required (just her personality) and I don't need her driven to a nervous wreck.

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At my college, my economics degree may have been a bit easier than my husband's physics degree if you are talking about how much time we spent on outside work but not by very much. YOu certainly couldn't get by with spending one hour a week outside of class in economics. For that matter, about the only class I could do with one hour per week of homework was something like music appreciation. My dd;s criminology class in CC had much, much work than any undergrad class even I had. No, not all classes are the same but that is why I am not letting my dd who wants to go to law school go to a school where the teachers like to grade hard. She needs a good GPA to go to law school, a good gpa for the government job she wants to get for a job a few years before going to law school, and also needs it for her health. SHe is smart and very hard working and doesn't need crazy hard grading. She always does more work than required (just her personality) and I don't need her driven to a nervous wreck.

 

For Pre-Med they tell you to beware of hard grading colleges and profs too or else med school is unlikely. I've read reports of how students choose non-honors levels of courses in order to get a higher grade than they would have in the honors level course (college courses). That just seems wrong, but it is what it is. We're looking at colleges carefully.

 

I'd like to think MY doctor took challenging courses and learned more vs taking easier courses just to get in.

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I completely agree that there are different ways of thinking. There is, however, one way to draw comparisons between different subjects: the amount of work a student has to put in to acquire whatever skills necessary to receive the degree in the respective field. I would find it resonable to assume that something that requires a lot more work is harder than something that can be accomplished with less effort.

So, one could definitely consider a major where students spend 60 hours per week on their studies as harder than a major where class attendance and one extra hour per day are sufficient.

 

I spent that much time. Wanna guess what my major was?

 

(that isn't meant snarkily - it is meant to prove my point)

 

a

Edited by asta
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