Last week, controversy spilled onto the ACB regarding the publicizing of each class’s Dean’s List (read: GPA of at least 93.35 with at least 3.00 graded credits) on its respective class blog. For some, the decision to make public this information—a first—constitutes a violation of academic privacy, or an affront to Wesleyan’s proclaimed emphasis on learning over grades, or just generally “a high school thing to do.” A few anonymous ACB-ers weigh in:
- “i can’t actually believe that the names were posted online. yes, my name is on the list for my class, but i don’t like the sense of competition and knowing who has what GPA that it gives.”
- “Releasing the list of names feels like a high school thing to do. One of the nice parts of Wesleyan is the laid back atmosphere. Turning it into an open competition is a stupid idea. Everyone should just ignore it.”
- “I’m on another year’s list…wish this wasn’t online. So pointless.”
- “i don’t like it. makes me feel uncomfortable to have other people know my gpa, even though it is pretty good. so glad no one posted my year’s list on the acb. this is such competition-encouraging, ego-boosting bullshit.”
Word. Yesterday’s Argus brings more thoughts on the public Dean’s List: a Wespeak (and petition) from Rachel Pincus ’13, who calls the decision “inimical to Wesleyan’s values of collaboration, community, and learning for learning’s sake”:
Knowing that small, private liberal arts colleges are frequently accused of grade inflation, it’s hard to see why Wesleyan would want to drive up the average GPA by encouraging students to compete more lustily – or take easier classes. (Not to mention that sophomore CSS majors don’t get letter grades at all, and can therefore never be recognized on this list – whatever happened to the praiseworthy trend toward narrative evaluations?) It seems inimical to Wesleyan’s values of collaboration, community, and learning for learning’s sake to force the quantitative discussion of individual students’ grades into the open. Let us appreciate our education on our own, individual terms, not necessarily as a means of approval from some outside party. Most of us have seen enough of that competitive, grade-grubbing attitude back in high school.
What say you? To what extent does publishing students’ names in this context institutionalize high school-style grade-grubbing competition? Should congratulatory academic notices of this sort remain confined to the private realm? It’s worth discussing, and I’m curious for more perspective; hit up the comments if you’re inclined.