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Grade Grubbing

noun; compounding
A practice whereby college students ask their professors to raise their grade for no good reason.
 
This term is used to describe the new social phenomenon in which students feel like they deserve different grades than the ones they have received. Students feel like if they made small mistakes or knew what they were doing but just weren’t able to demonstrate it clearly in their work that it is unfair to be graded negatively based on these errors which they believe weren’t really errors in the first place. Essentially, grade grubbing involves students doing whatever they can, even begging professors, to make the highest grade possible.
Etymology : The word “grade” comes from French and means “grade, degree,” from the Latin “gradus” meaning a step, pace, or gait. The word took on a metaphorical meaning, meaning a step toward something or rising by stages. “Grade” meaning the letter-mark indicating assessment of a student’s work pertinent to “grade grubbing” dates from the late 19th century. The verb “grub” comes from Old English and means “dig in the ground.” “Grubbing” is formed through derivation by the process of affixation in which the present participle verb ending suffix “-ing” is added to the verb “grub.” The “-ing” suffix comes from the Old English “-ende.” Through the process of vowel weakening during the late Old English period the spelling of the suffix with a “-g” began by the 13th-14th centuries and Anglo-Norman scholars confused it with “-ing” which was an Old English suffix attached to verbs that meant their action, result, product, or material.
Source : “Why is grade grubbing acceptable behavior?” (SOCI 101 lecture, Rice University, 9/24/19)
Last modified: 6 December 2019


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