by Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE My client, Susan, was steaming. And rightly so. Susan’s department director went over her head and told Susan’s failing students that she (the director) would change their course grade if they passed the HESI, a standardized test. True story. I’ve heard this story, or a version of it, more times than I can count. And I too am furious. How have we come to this in higher education? As a society, we have evolved into “trophyizing” (yes, I made that word up) children for simply trying, for showing up, for giving their all. And sometimes they don’t even have to show up or give their all yet still receive a trophy. Just as distributing trophies to undeserving children, the practice of passing students when their grades suggest otherwise serves no one. It’s unethical in fact. Why? Because it teaches nothing. Except perhaps, “If you whine loudly enough, you can get your way.” The official term for this is “failing to fail.” While Susan’s story may be infuriating, administrators are not alone in the practice of failing to fail. Faculty have cited knowing the student’s name, giving the benefit of the doubt, fearing the student would be held back or removed from their course of […]
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