Saturday 22 December 2012

Avoiding the whole "Teacher, please raise my grade" fiasco

In the schools and universities I worked in before I had students complain about grades. They often want a higher grade because they made an effort. While I appreciate the fact that they tried hard, effort isn't incorporated into my grading scale. It's like running a marathon and saying that everyone deserves first prize because they tried. It just doesn't cut it.

Furthermore, most universities in Korea have a cap on the number of As and Bs you can give out. My university is very generous. Many other universities only allow 30% As. 50% of my students can get an A or A+. 40% can get a B or B+. Grades are being inflated as it is.

That's the max I can give. I don't have to give that much. I could give 0% As and give 90% Bs. Or I could give 10% As and 80% Bs. As long as As and Bs add up to 90% it's ok. Taking this a step further, I try to give out as many pluses as I can. Since an A and an A+ are different in terms of GPA.

Since I give my grades out before I enter them into the computer, sometimes I have to deal with telling students that they'll not be getting an A. It's hard. Yes, I feel bad. But like I said, it's impossible that everyone gets As. The computer won't let me give more than 50% out.

We have a specific grievance period that usually lasts about a week and that's when the emails start pouring in. In order to try to lessen the number of complaints I get, I give my students bad examples of complaints.

These are not reasons to ask for a higher grade 
  • You want a higher grade.
  • You need a higher grade for a scholarship.
  • You need a higher grade to stay in the dormitory.
  • Your parents will be disappointed.
  • You did your best in class.
  • You put your best effort into class.
  • You tried very hard.
  • You came to all the classes.
  • You did all your homework. 

Reasons for grievances
  • You have a legitimate concern.
  • You have a legitimate question.
I'm only human. I make mistakes. If I make a mistake, like not recording a grade correctly, switching numbers around or anything like that, I'll fix it. I always max out the number of As and Bs that I can give, but I usually don't enter all the As I can at first because of the fact that I might make a mistake. Later on at the end of the grievance period I go and change those Bs to As. I know I teach required courses and want to give out the highest grade possible. Unfortunately, everyone can't get an A. That's just the way it is.


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