Sunday, May 17, 2009

The One Time We Got a B in a Trig Course, We Gave Our Proffie A Handjob And a $20 Giftie at Trader Joe's.

One of my students - the only one who had a hope in hell of getting an A in my trigonometry course - is apparently pissed that he got a B. He emailed me yesterday asking if he could meet with me to go over his final. Okay, whatever, I'd be in around noon. He emailed me again because he has a final noon to two, can he come in earlier? Sure. Then he emailed yet another time, saying that his final would only take half an hour and he'd be at my office at 12:30. Um... he didn't even ask me, he just told me. So a quarter to one rolls around and he's not there, so I email him - I had to leave for an appointment (with my shrink, mind you) and I wouldn't be back on campus until next week. He emailed me back:

Yes, your office coworkers told me I missed you by minutes. My final was on the other side of campus unfortunately. Since there seems to be no way for me to review the exam to possibly explain any misunderstandings in the handwriting or number-work, is there any way you could look over it once more for anything I might have pointed out? If, with the curve, I am in fact 0.5% away from an A in the class, and the previous 2 exams I've been able to explain a few problems to add half a letter grade to each one, the chance to raise my GPA is not one that I can easily pass up at this point. Please let me know if anything can be done.


My reply:

It's not "the" curve, it's weighting the final exam more heavily, and your lowest exam score more lightly - the most generous weight I could give without dropping your lowest exam score - only used to see if I could possibly bump someone over the grade line. As per the course coordinator's suggestion, it is to be used at my discretion. If you hadn't missed thirteen homework assignments and four quizzes, I might have been more generous. You got a very low B- on the final; a B in the course is reasonable. To bring your score up to an 85%, without the discretionary weighting, you would need to gain 12.5 points on the final exam.

Having you explain the handwriting or "number work" defeats the point of a written exam. I believe the directions on the exam said "All work should be organized to be readable and must be of sufficient depth to justify your answer."

I did, in fact, take a second look at your exam before I submitted the grades today. I found two places where I was TOO generous and should have taken off another point each place. I have very detailed rubric which I wrote up before I graded any of the exams.

As of yet I haven't heard back from the little bastard.