Thursday, May 18, 2006

Gradegrubbing Season Is In Full Swing, And This Guy Is Immune to The Pressure

After avoiding my office for several days since the end of finals, I stopped in to find a torrent of gradegrubbing emails. Grades are in here. I'm not changing grades at this point. I don't grade things when I'm drunk or half-asleep. I really grade things right, give the grades the students deserve, and I check my work before turning it in.

So why is it that students think that emails like these two below will work on me?

I've just checked my grades and I can't believe you only gave me a B. I'm pretty sure I'm an A student, and I know I worked harder than anyone else in class. I know I didn't take part in many discussions, but that's because someone else always said something I thought too. I worked harder in your class than in any of my other classes and that should be worth an A.

and --

Dr. Xxxxx. I apologize in advance but I think you've made a mistake in my grading. I'd like you to look at my final exam and the midterm again to make sure you haven't missed any points. If you could bump up my grade to a B, I'd be more happy. I need that grade to keep my scholarship, so you can tell how sincere I am. I think if you would look at my work again you would tell how hard I worked in your class. Could you let me know this afternoon when you can do this because I need my grade to be higher as soon as possible. I am going to be at my dad's house all day, and I can check email here. Just email me what my new grade is. Thanks.

Effort certainly is important. Effort can help a student get better. But the effort isn't worth nearly as much as the actual results of what the student turns in. Maybe other disciplines vary, but for me, I look at hard numbers on finals and midterms. I can't make a 78 into an 80 because someone says they worked hard. Not hard enough, is what I might reply.

The second email is just insane. It minimizes what I've already done. It suggests I'm incompetent and presumes that my only job is to make sure students get the grade they think they deserve. Oh, and step lively while doing it.

And, in case anyone's wondering. I deleted both emails and didn't even put down my Pepsi.