My department suffered the presences of an incompetent faculty member who screwed up the grades for about 100 students. Just miscalculated their percentages in the spreadsheet. The moron in question retired after this past semester and was too busy planning his golfing trips to notice that his students were earning 150% on the final exam. I've spoken with him and he explained what happened. There are no excuses other than incompetence. But that's not what I want to talk about.
So far, we have not found any students who received a lower grade than
they earned. Let's assume all students got some bonus, which in the
case of 100 students, resulted in a higher letter grade, sometimes two letter grades higher, than they deserved. My question is, what the fuck do we do with these students who got an undeserved higher grade. I have a great deal of sympathy for these students and I want to do what is right for them. They are innocent in the fiasco. The faculty must fix this. What does that require?
More info after the jumpity-jump.
On one hand, we would not be punishing them by correcting their grades to their lower, more accurate values. We would be applying the grading scale that's in the syllabus. The students would be a bit upset but they'd probably get over it and we would know that their grades are calculated in the same way as students in previous semesters. That seems fair.
What about student(s) whose grade turns into an F? By leading him to believe that he passed, that student didn't make plans to retake the class over the summer. We may have screwed that student by preventing them from taking the class over the summer. This isn't a common problem, but at least a few students did fail, based on the recalculated grades. I don't know if any students in the class graduated, but what if any of them failed?
We could decide that these students got lucky and we leave the grades as they are. This is the least amount of work for us, the faculty who remain to clean up this mess. We could even keep it a secret from the administration. The instructor is never teaching again, anywhere ever. Who needs this embarrassment? The students certainly won't complain.
The bonus was not evenly applied to all students. Through a series of calculation errors, the instructor gave some students an extra 1 or 2%. Other students received 20% bonuses. In no way did the students deserve or earn any of these curves. Fairness would suggest that any benefit be evening applied to all students. That's not the case here.
This was an introductory class. Students may think they know enough to earn a B but in reality they have D+ knowledge. It would be a disservice to those students to give them an unrealistic evaluation of their abilities.
I am at a loss and would appreciate your guidance. I need some ideas for how to deal with competing views of fairness in terms of individual students, the class as a whole and the integrity of the course. How would you handle this?