Thursday, February 7, 2008

Just One More Head Smacking Moment in the Academy.

So I found out last week from one of the secretaries that my department chair has been getting a bunch of calls recently from students who were in my course last semester.

I've changed the way grades are calculated this semester, increasing the proportion of the grade that comes from the team exercises (with a commensurate adjustment to the difficulty of the team and individual quizzes, such that the overall grade distribution at the end of the semester will still be the same as before.)

Now, it seems, a rumor is going around that either (a) I Can't Do That, or (b) last semester's students can get their grades recalculated according to this semester's standards. So they're calling my department chair to complain.

I ask you all, where would a student get the idea that the grading policies--all outlined in detail in the syllabus, and consistent with University policy--can't change from one semester to the next? And what would possibly make a student think that she was entitled to have her scores recalculated according to a different semester's percentages?

Thank goodness for my department chair, whose response to a student's question of "She can't do that, can she?" was, "You're kidding, right?"