Gender differences in academic entitlement among college students


Recent scholarly research examining student attitudes towards learning has focused on understanding the concept of academic entitlement (AE). Academic entitlement (AE) is specific to the academic context, and refers to student tendencies and perceptions of entitlement to excellent grades and academic success that do not commensurate with academic effort expended or learning acquired (Ciani, Summers, & Easter, 2008; Boswell, 2012). Significant variability in the definition of AE exists among research literature. However, common themes associated with concept of AE include; apparent student entitlement to positive educational outcomes such as good grades, extra credit, etc.; and special exemptions such as the expectation that they can hand in work late or requiring immediate access to their instructors (Ciani, Summers, & Easter,2008; Reinhardt, 2012; Sohr-Preston & Boswell, 2015). Also, there is a consistent theme that characterizes most of the definitions, which is that AE distinctly has a negative connotation (Reinhardt, 2012). 

Much of the empirical investigations on AE have determined negative implications associated with the belligerent tendency to expect positive education outcomes irrespective of effort expended. As Reinhardt (2012) details, overly assertive student behaviors arise, pre-established policies may be violated, and a conducive learning environment is jeopardized by the dissatisfaction of such students due to severed instructor-student relationships. 

The purpose of this study is to conduct an empirical research on the gender difference in academic entitlement. There is limited empirical knowledge, in general, on academic entitlement, and particularly knowledge on the existence of gender differences among academically entitled students. The significance of this study is to add onto existing empirical knowledge on AE. This study endeavors to examine the relationship between gender and academic entitlement. The aim is to address two key research questions; Does gender influence the propensity to become academically entitled?  Are women in higher education more academically entitled than men in higher education? Our hypothesis states that women will have higher academic entitlement than men.

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