New policy in dept. of accounting is controversial
Published: Monday, April 2, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 2, 2012 20:04
The Ticker recently received a tip from a “concerned Accounting major” at Baruch regarding the grading policy at The Stan Ross Department of Accountancy.
The email was forwarded by an as-yet-to-be-identified Accounting professor to students from an original message sent by Dennis Slavin, Associate Provost and Assistant Vice President. The email was solely for the eyes of the professors of the department, as the email breaks down how they are to approach grading their students.
“The departmental curve mandates that for ALL 3000 level courses: No more than 20% `A’s, no more than 40% `A’s and `B’s together. No more than 70% `A’s and `B’s and `C’s all together. Those who do not comply will automatically and permanently become disqualified to be rehired by the department,” the email read.
The purposes for this strict grading policy, according to the email, is to deal with the issue of grade inflation where “weak students” are kept in the program for longer than they should be before they ultimately fail.
““Grade inflation wastes these students’ money and their precious years, and stretches the department’s resources too thin so that we are unable to help those who are able to do well in accounting,” said Associate Professor and Chair of the Stan Ross Department of Accountancy, Jimmy Ye in an email.
Accounting major Rukmani Nayyar agrees. “It’s important for students that may not be good for the accounting industry to realize it early. It’s a waste of time for them to keep trying. We need to know how to be competitive because the real world is not lenient.”
However, another accounting student The Ticker spoke to believes the cut off should come much sooner. “The department should raise the GPA to a 3.0. Why make us waste a year, thinking that we can make it in the accounting program?”
Shamima Akter, meanwhile, feels the policy is unfair to those who are excelling. “If I get a 96, I want the A I deserve, instead of settling for the B because 20% of the students got a 97.”
Jimmy Ye said that the policy is nothing new to Baruch, and that professors have been following it for some time now. “Most full-time and many adjunct faculty members have been giving grades fairly close to the guidelines already. Unfortunately, some instructors failed to comply. I have seen grading sheets where all students are given A’s,” he said.
Ye said that, in his experience, he has seen many new hires giving out A’s in order to get favorable evaluations from students. “A student may get a high percentage point just because a professor gives easy exams or […] practice questions nearly identical to the exam questions. Without…common guidelines, how can you tell me that a student getting 96% should really be earning A’s because of excellent learning and not because his/her instructor is just playing a game with the department?”
He added that along with the grading policy, the department is also considering raising the minimum GPA requirement to 2.7.
However, some students highly disagree with this logic and believe the department is not focusing on the main problem: The quality of resources, as opposed to the grades.
“Baruch is known mainly for its accounting program so naturally most students come to the school to do accounting,” said Gilbert Marte, another accounting major. “Instead of making grade quotas, how about we accept only the amount of students that teachers can handle.”
Another Accounting student confessed he should have considered going elsewhere for his studies.
“I should have gone to a SUNY school or even a private college where my tuition would go to further developing departments, such as for the hiring of more professors to keep up with the growing demand of this field. It is evident that we are losing a majority of our professors to schools that can accommodate them.”
He added, “I am paying a college that does not even care about its students. All they care about is attracting more students with the false hope of attaining a cheap degree.”
The majority of the students agree that if the department is aiming to weed out students by failing them out of the program, this will only go on to ruin the college’s reputation.
“It will make Baruch look even worse because they are not giving the proper attention and resources to help students pass the classes,” he concluded.
The ‘Baruch’ brand name does not go very far if students are forced to drop out,” replied Arunna Raj when asked about her feelings on the curve. She went on to say that prospective students would only be turned off by Baruch’s unreasonable standards, especially considering its limited resources.
Along with devoting more money and attention to expanding the department and hiring on more teachers so that the ratio between the two will decrease and foster a better learning environment, students also suggested that the department should focus on improving other skills in its students.
“Those top employers tell the department that their graduates lack in soft skills, but still the department focuses on grades. I’m not personally the best accounting student…yet I’m doing my second internship with a major accounting firm because of my soft skills.”