Academic entitlement refers to unreasonable students’ expectations that they will attain high scores in their assignments regardless of their performance. It is a known fact that achievements tests have remained unchanged over time, but the performance of the students is increasing with students receiving higher grades for the same tests as previous students in the previous decades (Tilstone and Christine 110). Consequently, majority of the students start their college with high expectations of attaining higher grades with minimal efforts, and when they do not achieve such expectations, they respond with disappointment and anger.
The students are said to be developing a sense of entitlement, when they start displaying one of the following symptoms. Firstly, they believe that they have a right to knowledge, and it should be delivered with minimal efforts or discomfort on the part of the student. Secondly, they believe a high grade should result not from mystery of academic content materials, but in return for other non-academic areas of education like class attendance, paying school tuition fees or parents paying taxes, which in turn pays the teachers’ (Sparks, 2). Lastly, learners believe that if they did not perform well in a test or an assignment, it is because the test was too hard, and not that the learner did not understand the content.
Learner’s sense of academic entitlement is likely to minimize their studying efforts and lead to irritability or even confrontations with their lecturers or teachers. Studies reveal that learners who score high on an academic entitlement assessment had less sense of control over their learning and less ability to regulate it. Moreover, such students develop a tendency of "executive" help seeking, where they ask to be given the right answer rather than seeking ways of improving their performances. Learners with low entitlement sense, on the other hand, seek instrumental help where they ask their teachers to help them understand a certain concept rather than being given the right answer (Sparks, 4).
Entitlement hurts work ethics since some people equate efforts to mastery. Most students feel that they deserve an A grade because they have put many efforts into their work and attended all the classes as required of them. However, the truth is, if a student does not complete all the sections of an assignment, then they will lose points, no matter how much efforts they have put into the section of the assignment they completed. Students focus so much on the grades that it becomes a common thing to see students arguing that they deserve to achieve an A despite having a score of less than 80 in their assignment. Worse still, students refuse to listen to their lecturer about the reasons why they scored such grades and how they would improve them in the future. It is even worse when a student turns aggressive and hostile towards the lecturer because he or she stood firm about the grades (Tilstone and Rose 110). In the long run, this turns out as a lose-lose situation for both the lecturer and the student, with the student feeling being treated unfairly and the lecturer walking away feeling pessimistic about his students.
Teachers have the ability to cut down the sense of entitlement among students by providing students with clear expectations from learners. In most cases, teachers get into classrooms thinking that the learners know what is expected of them or knowing the right thing to do, but it is usually not the case, it is, therefore, important for the teacher to explain specific policies used in grading assignments and tests (Mellor 11). In such cases, students will have a clear understanding even before undertaking the assignment, and it will minimize the confrontations between the teacher and the learners in the event that a student scores low grades.