In a New York Times piece on February 18, 2009, by Max Roosevelt entitled Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes, James Hogge, associate dean of the Peabody School of Education at Vanderbilt University is quoted.

Students often confuse the level of effort with the quality of work. There is a mentality in students that ‘if I work hard, I deserve a high grade’.

He’s right.


Philip Pirrip, or Pip, had modest ambitions by current standards.

Charles Dickens’ protagonist Pip, in Great Expectations, wanted to be a blacksmith, but ended up a gentleman. After a few years’ apprenticeship under Joe Gargery, blacksmithing seemed “low” and “common”. Expectations rise faster than the price of gas. In a golden era long passed, or in the figment of our collective imagination, we were disappointed in ourselves for not meeting our expectations. Not so now.