Saturday, February 06, 2010

Letting Students Earn Their Grades

Other than grading papers (my least favorite activity that takes time), perhaps the worst part of teaching college courses is allowing students to earn their scores. Sometimes this can be great, especially when a struggling student scores a partial or full grade over where they were headed. Even better is the student who earns an A through consistently high quality work and participation.

Unfortunately, these are far outweighed, at least in my mind, with those students who either earn an F or who get caught with material that can only be explained as plagiarism. Some students try to change things at the last minute, often after the course is over. No work can be taken after the class ends if an institution wants to keep its accreditation (except when an official extension was granted of course), so such work can not be evaluated, no matter how good or bad.

A tragic part of this is that every time I have seen had the student skipping very easy to earn points (things like participation, easy assignments, etc.). Thus they made their own shortfall, but found out too late.

A few get very mad about it, but what can an instructor do? The numbers show what the numbers show.

No specifics in this post, I am just venting a general frustration. I am a very tough instructor (or so I have heard), but virtually everyone comes out of my classes having learned something. Most learn far more than just "something". I don't want to just be someone who pushes people through. I want to be someone that has an impact!

This means I have to work past those who fall way short, out of their own choice. I am glad to work with anyone, but I can only do so with those who recognize they need help and then take advantage of that help! Isn't that true of life? How many times have we missed the best because we thought we knew it all and didn't want to take input from others?

No comments: