Tuesday, May 10, 2016

3 Days After Grades Are Posted.

Dear Dr. Pantsuit,

I noticed I had earned a B so far for a final grade. Is there any way I could get just one more assignment? I have to leave Thistown Thursday though.

Thanks ;)

19 comments:

  1. That's an easy one. One word reply:

    No.

    Make sure you send it Thursday morning, however.

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  2. I sometimes like answering with questions.

    "What does the syllabus say about extra credit?"

    Oh, but big round of applause for any student who says "I earned a B" as opposed to "my points work out to a B" or "you're going to give me a B."

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    Replies
    1. Students will often say "I got an A" but "You gave me a D." In the latter case, they're often right because the D was a bit of a gift. They don't see it that way, though.

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  3. TEN days after grades were posted:

    Dear Professor Ordure
    I saw my grades and I have failed the course. Can you please do me a favour and increase my grade so that I can pass? I am supposed to graduate, this is my last semester, if I fail this course I cannot graduate.
    signed,
    Truly Fucking Desperate

    (I had to make up a first name for my pseudonym, given that the student addressed me as such in the email.
    Never mind the circumstance that this is a 4th year science student taking a 1st year intro course in a different science discipline)

    Prof O Poopiehead

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    Replies
    1. Some emails answer themselves without your having to lift a finger. Or, take a page from Frod's playbook and send a fake vacation responder email.

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  4. PS: Coming soon - CM post #6000. RYS finished with more than 4000, but did a cull to 1000 upon closing. History, trivia.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for those tabs. Some other mod did them in the sidebar I think once.

      Delete
    2. The tabs definitely make for fun browsing.

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    3. When will you people wake up and realize that the RGM is keeping tabs on you?
      Its you’re fault if you don’t way in when your interested is peaked!

      Delete
  5. While the inquiry is obviously problematic on various levels, I blame LMSs for the oxymoronic concept of a current/"so far" version of a final grade. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but I'm pretty sure that a decade or two ago students would realize that when 60% of the elements of the final grade were yet to be produced and/or graded, nobody, including the professor, had any idea of what grade a student would get in the class, and that when 100% of the elements had been handed in and graded, the final grade was final (at least unless there was something wrong with the grading of one of the elements -- an argument students certainly made).

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    1. Perfesser SlaughterMay 11, 2016 at 1:39 PM

      Spot on. I think the same. This cuts both ways. Students panic when they bomb a quiz worth one half of one percent of the grade. Others talk about their A average when all they've submitted so far are quizzes and exercises.

      They also seem newly unable to distinguish among importance of weighted work. In recent years, I've had on numerous occasions these conversations where I say, well, you need to work really hard on that paper since it's worth 17 percent of your grade, and you didn't do well on the last one. But, responds the student, if I get an A on the next quiz, will that make up for it? No, I say. I drop the lowest quiz grade anyway, and you have an 87 average on your quizzes. And all together, the quizzes are worth only 10 percent. What will really make a difference is a good grade on your next paper, which is worth 17 percent of your final grade. OK, says the student. I will make sure I get 100 on that quiz. No, I say. Oh wait, forget it. Just realize that the paper is more important, and you should come visit me in office, as I have offered all term.

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    2. I remember calculating what scores I would need to fill in the missing 40%. It was good math practice. Students now feel helpless if I don't post the exam scores on the LMS, even though I've handed back the exams. They roll their eyes when I tell them that if they are engineers, they should probably like doing a bit of math here and there.

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    3. I remember calculating possible grades using the percentages on the syllabus, too -- and I didn't really care all that much about my grades (well, at least I didn't care all that much as long as they were in the A to B range, which, with at least one notable exception -- calculus, which I may yet tackle in my retirement, just to show that I can do it -- they were). It was, however, an excellent procrastination device (note: I may be somewhat lacking in imagination when it comes to procrastination devices).

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    4. I delete the weighted total column in the LMS gradebook, in part because it is a pain to set it up right, and I hide the undeletable total points from student view. I figure doing the math themselves makes them confront their progress more head-on. But some of them won't do that and just assume that irrespective of the aggregate, having a passing grade on any single assignment means there's still hope.

      They did that even back when I set up the gradebook to calculate the proper "grade to date". For example, with only 20% of the total points left to go, a student showing a 40% so far would say "so if I get a 100 on the final, I can bring that up to a 60 and pass, right?" No, dear child, that's not how it works. I'd write it out,

      0.8 x 0.4 + 0.2 x 1 = 52%

      and they'd stare at it, uncomprehending.

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  6. As if this is some kind of oversight on your part....

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  7. If such emails were written in truth:

    Dear Professor (I never bothered to learn your title or name),
    All I've really learned from my four to six years here is that everything is situational. I assumed good things would happen to me if I was strong enough to be myself. Many of your colleagues have reinforced that lesson; they are the good teachers like Monica and the Cookie Prof.

    I need you to do extra work--to make up for my lack of effort, attention, concern, etc. Along the way you will of course have to be unfair to all my classmates and have to put aside your professional ethics--or whatever they're called.

    To be clear, I am indeed trying to blackmail you emotionally. Waiting for your reply, I will find the name of your associate dean who will be sure hear my side

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    Replies
    1. Isn't Cookie Monica a character on a children's program?

      *blinks innocently*

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  8. I got one today, two days after grades have been submitted, offering me the opportunity to explain why his grade, as reported on the LMS, was a B before the final exam and a C+ after the final exam. I just replied that failing the final exam, worth 20% of the course grade, tends to have that effect.

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