Do students value an easy A?

9 May

Do students typically gravitate toward college courses that are more likely to yield an “easy A, ” instead of taking more difficult classes that will make greater demands on their time without the assurance of a high grade?  Also, in their subsequent course evaluations, do students who take the so-called easy classes rate them higher and the tough ones correspondingly lower?

An interdisciplinary team of Penn State researchers, including faculty from the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Penn State World Campus, decided to find out, aiming to “help inform how we approach course preparation and teaching,” according to Lawrence Ragan, World Campus director of faculty development.

The researchers recently surveyed a group of University Park campus students to see what these students really value in their courses, including the single best predictor of how much liked or disliked a course.

A news story highlights what they found. You can download more detailed reports of their findings at the team’s Schreyer Institute site.

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