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But That Is Unfair Professor: Using a Grade Structure to Help Students Understand Income Quintiles


  • Timothy Wunder


Economic instructors exploring issues of income disparities will often be facing students who are apathetic towards the topic. Although income disparities have grown in the US, the university experience is still overwhelmingly dominated by students coming from middle and upper class families who will rarely have personal experiences with poverty which may be part of the reason why so many students lack interest. By suggesting that a flat uniform grade distribution system will be used in the class, students often become frightened by the inevitable outcome that a large percent of the class will automatically receive low grades. This emotional reaction can then be used as an anchoring point for students to recognize the inevitability of poverty with respect to capitalist systems. This method almost always provokes heated and interesting classroom conversations and forces many students to rethink the issue of income inequality in the US.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Wunder, 2013. "But That Is Unfair Professor: Using a Grade Structure to Help Students Understand Income Quintiles," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(1), pages 70-87, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:fosoec:v:42:y:2013:i:1:p:70-87
    DOI: 10.1080/07360932.2012.684100

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