Thursday, May 14, 2009

My verdict

Relating to my last post.... I have decided to give my student the A-.

I appreciate all of the comments. It was a bit unfair to ask for input based on essentially zero information.

In the end, I needed to consider whether she was an A student despite this technicality. The bulk of her work justifies the A-.

Grades are a tricky thing. For many of us teachers (but obviously not all), grades still mean something. They are a indication of the student's mastery of the material. This could become a very long post, but let me just say, an A in one of my courses means the student has the highest level of competence and mastery of material in that course. I only give As to students that deserve them. Many students don't like that policy.


~E said...

I for one applaud you for your logic. I know (and have studied under) waaay too many professors that are dickheads when it comes to grading.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

AMEN!! I get in trouble when I "give" a student a zero on classwork when the student does not do ANY of the work. The school district says I have to give him/her a 50. Sorry, but to me a 50 means the student actually TRIED to do some work. A zero shows that the student did NOTHING! and that is what they should get for doing NOTHING!!! I refuse to change grades and make the district change them if they want. I have no problem curving a grade when the student has shown effort, but not for a student who sleeps in class and turns in a blank page.

Chemgeek said...

Lisa: I had a student who tried so hard to not do ANYTHING. He missed 75% of the classes, including all of the tests and still asked to make things up. I refused and he was pissed at me as if I was responsible. I don't want to ruin anyone's lives, but you don't get a reward for inhaling and exhaling.

Liberal Arts Chemist said...

My first year of teaching was at a large university with a medical school. First lecture of the year for introductory chemistry and I ask "How many here are heading for medical school?" About 3/4 of the 120 students raise their hands (there were only 40 spots per year for the medical school). At the end of the year there were only about three of those students that still had a reasonable shot at medical school. One of them was Martha, a lovely young woman, 19 years old and a single mother, rejected by her family and working full time in addition to her school work. I remember the last day of exam when I posted the final marks for exams in my section. By a quirk of building design I could watch the students look at their marks in the reflection on a window across from my office without the students being aware that I was watching. One student, that I had spent an hour a week in one-on-one tutorials because her backgorund was so weak, came and saw that she had a B in the course, she leaned into the bulletin board, kissed it and then skipped into my office to tell me how glad she was. Soon after, another student stormed into my office and between waves of swearing and weeping informed me that I was "ruining his life" ... because he got a B+. It gave me some perspective and still pretty much happens every year.