A recent proposal from Dr Richard Watson, a leading US scholar at the University of Georgia has recommended that students should have greater control over their academic results; even being able to suggest to their tutor what grade they believe the work merits.
Dr Watson’s aim is to reduce the stress which can be associated with high-intensity education and to address the fact that the pressures felt by students can have far reaching and overwhelming consequences in both the short term and long term.
He notes in his proposal that many students can find it daunting to work alongside others and so are averse to partaking in group work. He suggests that under his scheme: –
“If in a group meeting, you feel stressed by your group’s dynamics, you should leave the meeting immediately and need offer no explanation to the group members,’ with the further option to ‘discontinue all further group work’ as their grade is then ‘based totally on non-group work.”
These proposals may appeal to the more reserved student who is better suited to independent work without the input of their peers. Whilst this may hinder the student’s group and teamwork skills, the exact outcome depends on the student, who will ultimately get out whatever they put in.
“If in a group meeting, you feel stressed by your group’s dynamics, you should leave the meeting immediately and need offer no explanation to the group members,’ it is ultimately the student’s ‘responsibility’ to hold themselves accountable.”
The University itself has been quick to refute Dr Watson’s ideas, confirming that they are not the policy of the University of Georgia and are currently not on the recognised syllabus.
Mr Watson had claimed to provide every opportunity for students to gain high-level mastery. Benjamin Ayers, Dean of Terry College of Business which employs Dr Watson stated that this did not fit in with the rigorous levels of expectation and hard work expected by the University. He went on to say:
“Rest assured that this ill-advised proposal will not be implemented in any Terry classroom.”
An individual’s ability to manage stress can be an important factor when transitioning into the world of work, so just how beneficial it is to shield students from this stress may be a cause for debate, should his proposal ever come to fruition.