Uh-oh! All my student's grades are lost for the semester! Help!

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mrs_sunshine:
Rookie mistake. I use a flash drive to transport all of my documents and grading spreadsheets back and forth from work to home, etc. I haven't backed up my files since the semester started. So, obviously, my flash drive accidentally got bumped while in the computer and now it won't register. I can't access any of my files. I'm working with the best experts around, trying to get it repaired. It's not looking good.

What do I do? I teach writing, and while I don't have my student's essay grades memorized, I can fairly say what letter grade they've earned so far. I know who did not turn in their essays and I know who my A, B, and C students are. That said, I can't fairly give them a number or percentage grade since I did not memorize the homework, classwork, etc.

Any creative suggestions as to how to move forward? Can the semester be salvaged? I'm a relatively new teacher and this is my first year at a new school. I'm terrified to ask any colleagues or my dean about this situation. I keep thinking about how I'd feel as a student if I knew my professor lost my grades and couldn't say, without a doubt, where my grade was for the semester.

Has this happened to anyone before? If so, how did you handle it? I'm ready to go into full-scale panic mode (I've already done the whole crying thing).

Thanks in advance!

cine_elle:
Can you just fess up with your students? Tell them what happened, apologize, and ask them to bring in their marked papers so you can rerecord their grades? Even if you lose some rapport with many of them, I'll bet at least a few are sympathetic and have stories like this of their own to tell. It'll be embarrassing, but biting the bullet and being honest seems like the most ethical thing if you can't recover the drive.

mrs_sunshine:
Thanks for the reply!

Yes, I was already thinking about that. My concern is: what do I do if only some of the students have their marked papers? How would I handle the few students that didn't save their work? I fear that a few of them would challenge my memory on their grade, since I couldn't prove it. I'm mostly concerned with my students who are barely (or not) passing using the situation to challenge me. Then, I fear, the situation might escalate and end up in my dean's office. What do you think?

pendragon:
Unless someone is about to demand an itemized listing of all the grades (and why would they), why panic?

If you know who the A, B, C students are, then why not notionally assign that as the grade for the first half of the semester and let the work from the remaining weeks determine what happens at the end? If you don't really know - then just use the latter part of the semester to set the Final grade.

You could also ask students to compile their graded work into a portfolio that they will hand in before Finals so that they (and you) can see the progression from the first weeks to the final weeks. Maybe even give them a chance to revise a couple of pieces (as long as they also submit the original graded work as well)? It's all about the writing process, after all (slight snark but honestly, not much) and the students might well benefit.

It might be a good idea to invest in a paper gradebook as well as a flash drive and back ups. Flash drives do sometimes corrupt and paper is much easier to archive. Just as easy to lose, though, as I know all too well!



cc_alan:
Quote from: mrs_sunshine on March 05, 2013, 11:25:32 AM

Thanks for the reply!

Yes, I was already thinking about that. My concern is: what do I do if only some of the students have their marked papers? How would I handle the few students that didn't save their work? I fear that a few of them would challenge my memory on their grade, since I couldn't prove it. I'm mostly concerned with my students who are barely (or not) passing using the situation to challenge me. Then, I fear, the situation might escalate and end up in my dean's office. What do you think?


I've accidentally passed back assignments before entering the scores into my gradebook and what I tell students is that I accidentally entered a 0 for everyone's grade and I needed them all back to fix them.

+1 to Pendragon and Cine_elle. And never leave the only copy on a flashdrive in the future!

Alan

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