Tuesday, May 14, 2013


The student who missed the exam because "Finals Week snuck up on him" came yesterday to take his replacement exam that was only worth 75% of the original. He failed. I gave him extra points to get him the lowest D possible so that I wouldn't have to deal with him anymore.

Surprise surprise, I got an e-mail last night after midnight. He wrote he is "deeply disappointed" in his grade, and that it does not properly reflect "the effort and empathy that was expressed, as well as the growth i [sic] feel that I have achieved."

I wrote back:

You missed the final, so the replacement exam that I didn't have to give you at all was only worth 75% of the possible points.

You failed the exam I gave you. You could not solve for Cournot or Stackelberg equilibria. I gave you extra points to have you end up with a passing grade so that I wouldn't have to deal with this anymore.

You are not graded on growth. You are graded on performance. Your performance was sub-par.

It is embarrassing to me that you don't know you should be ashamed of your interactions with me this week. I found it interesting that today's exam had one instruction--that you use your own paper--and yet you didn't follow it. It is indicative of your attitude all week, that rules aren't for you and you get what you think you deserve, not what you earned.

You earned an F. Then I gave you a do-over and you earned an F again. Then you write of your disappointment that you passed. It would have been appropriate for you to write "thank you."

A Facebook acquaintance mentioned "this is what happens when kids have never learned how to fail." I know I'm part of the problem here by robbing my student of another opportunity to learn how to fail. But I can't be expected to correct all his deficiencies now that he's an adult. If receiving a gift D is such a burden, then maybe I am providing a learning opportunity.

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