Friday 20 February 2015

Teachers Don't Give Grades, Students Earn Them

From Dr. Adam Cox
It happens every semester without fail. After grades are given, there's a complaint/grievance period when students are allowed to write emails to teachers asking them to raise their grades. I try to explain to students that the grades are outside of my control. There's a curve in place and the computer will not allow me to give more As than allowed. I also tell them what constitutes as a legit reason to ask for a higher grade.

Nevertheless I still get students email and ask for a better grade. I've been told that they've been told to always, always ask for a higher grade. In a way I can understand. I tell people to apply to jobs even though they may not be qualified for them.

After years of dealing with this I've come up with a set response that I tell students. I explain that there's a curve in place and that only X% of students will get an A or whatever grade they're asking for. I also tell them their rank in the class and what rank they needed to get an A. I explain that effort or needing to keep a scholarship or what have you aren't legit reasons for me to raise their grade. Finally I explain that I didn't give them their grade, they earned it. Other teachers do things differently.

I keep to the facts. I don't get emotional even if they do. I email them back promptly and offer to go to school and sit down and explain their grade to them. I've never had an issues with this. Students just want an explanation and more often than not they will thank you and tell you to have a nice vacation.


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