Monday, December 12, 2016

Grading Tales

My school uses a course management software where I record scores and students can track their progress. It allows students to turn on notifications so they get a message as soon as I have made a change to any graded assignment.

The first step to determining students' final grades is to input their scores on the last exam. Then I have to spend some time looking at numbers and determining if I am going to use the traditional 90-80-70-60 grade breaks or if I am going to move them down somewhat, and if so, how far. But as soon as I entered the exam scores, students were notified of the change. Before I was even finished, I had three e-mails from students with scores in the 79 or 89 range, complaining that they deserved the next higher grade.

Which is baffling, because NO GRADE HAS BEEN ASSIGNED AT ALL at this point. It's not like the student has a 79 and the program is calling this a C. All that's happened is the student has a 79, and on the basis of that alone, the student is e-mailing me all the reasons I should give him or her a B.

By the next day, when I was ready to upload actual grades to the official program that reports actual grades, I was up to 20 e-mails from students. I uploaded the grades and sent a message to all my students saying that final grades had been uploaded. Instead of stemming the complaining, it stoked it. Still no one had bothered to check HIS ACTUAL GRADE, but they all sent indignant e-mails based on their percentages. They earned the next grade. They deserved the next grade. The next grade would better reflect their effort. They couldn't afford to not get the next grade, either because they would lose their scholarships or they would have to retake the class.

I sent another message that told them to not e-mail me about a grade they haven't checked. I told them they were looking at their percentages and not their grades and they needed to check the grade program, not the course management software.

This morning I had a message from a student telling me I needed to give him an A because he had earned it. He had defended me in class (which he didn't) and he understood the material so well that he discovered places where I had presented the material incorrectly (which he never brought up). But the thing is, of course, I HAD GIVEN HIM AN A.

Who asks for a favor by demanding that justice be satisfied? And who writes such messages without even checking his grade first?

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