I have encountered students like this before. Just last month I had two students come and tell me they were going to appeal their grade. When I asked them why, they said they studied real hard and thought they deserved a higher grade as a result. That was the entire basis of their appeal. Before reading this article, I thought that these students were a minority. To think that they might be a majority (assuming results at UC-Irvine are generalizable to all students), is shocking. If this is how grades should be assigned, then why not have every test be a single question, "how hard did you work?," and let students assign their own grade.
The possible reasons for this sense of entitlement, according to the report, are parental pressure, competition among peers, and achievement anxiety. Political Science Professor Chris Blattman provides another explanation on his blog:
I have a different theory why students have such expectations: because it's true. Most professors do give them a B just for showing up.
I think grade inflation is all a bit ridiculous, but this is not a war an untenured faculty member is wise to wage.
Besides, you think this is bad, you should see what top schools let the PhD students get away with...