Published on 2012/03/13
Should Effort Impact Assessment?
As with all things in life, the effort put into work will be reflected in the final product and rewarded. Photo by Theodore Scott.

What role does effort play at the college level? Should it have any direct impact on grades?

I believe effort is a key consideration at the college level. There is, and maybe I am too old school, a direct relationship between effort and success at the college level. The more effort put forth the more success. This relationship is not linear as some people are just more suited to college work than others. My sense is however that no matter where one is on the spectrum of ability that effort will help lead to success in proportion to doing nothing or expending no effort.

It’s important to recognize as well that students today, as opposed to twelve years ago when I was teaching full time, are different. There are quite frankly many more distractions now. The Internet is ubiquitous—Facebook, Twitter, etc. exist and are all demanding of students’ capacity to accommodate the level of effort required to be successful in college. There are still many brilliant students who can manage and excel, there are also, like always . . . most students . . . who are average . . . who I think struggle a bit more at managing their time and putting in the effort they need to in order to be successful in college. The costs of college and the dependency of students on cell phones and creature comforts (e.g., Starbucks, etc.) impacts the efforts that they can put forth.

Should effort connect to grades? Well simply put . . . yes. That is what faculty measure by recording a grade for their students. They set expectations of students and measure their effort relative to those goals. Grades are in many ways measures of the impact of effort. Grades are imperfect measures of effort as there are other influences on course performance than effort (ability, prior experiences, etc.) but generally (and I have taught thousands of students) the effort grade connection works fairly well.

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Readers Comments

WA Anderson 2012/03/13 at 9:53 am

I don’t know if effort is always reflected in grades that are given. You can try your best at something and fail.

Also, I don’t think it’s fair to excuse students being distracted because of the non-essential devices that they can’t be separated from. We should look at integrating these tools into the learning process to bring students more in tune with their education!

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