Field of Science

Study guides & student entitlement

This editorial from the U. Minn. Daily student newspaper really shows the state of student entitlement.  Do professors "owe" students a study guide for exams?  This was pretty much a pet peeve when TPP was teaching large lecture, introductory courses. You announce an exam already scheduled on the syllabus, and one of the questions you always got was, "Will you give us a study guide?" Sure.  Then the syllabus' lecture outline was copied, an outline TPP was always followed unless noted otherwise, added in the major topics covered in each heading, and sometimes added reminders of illustrative examples provided. Then one astute fellow notices the similarity to the syllabus, and says, "This study guide just copies the syllabus."  Right!  That's the material that's covered on this exam.  Now any competent student should have been able to do the same with their lecture notes, but the problem is that this was not the "study guide" they wanted. Read the editorial yourself. Maddie actually wants her professors to specifically note the material that will NOT be covered on the exam. Now TPP understands that exams cannot be fully comprehensive, but he tried to make his exams representative of the material covered, in depth and breadth, and never, ever, once has he ever said after covering some topic, "But you won't have to know this." WTF? Why would any teacher ever say that? Out of a universe of material on the subject of biology, your knowledgeable professor has winnowed out a minute amount of material that is both essential and necessary to the content of the course at this level, and now students want that professor to winnow out that subset and provide them with the sub-subset that they don't have to learn!  Amazing. This is what happens when education becomes primarily about about grades & credits, and not about learning. TPP doesn't think very many professors are going to be very sympathetic, but obviously Maddie has gotten study guides from some of us somewhere or she wouldn't be so entitled. Isn't it obvious that if a professor spends 30 mins explaining something it'll be on the exam. If it was 2 mins. maybe not so much. We can only hope life will provide Maddie with a study guide so she can put her valuable time to good use making sure she doesn't learn too much. HT to Angry by Choice.

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