A minus grade? A Grading Rant...

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canadatourismguy:
I have a student that handed in a take home exam late.  In my class that is an automatic 25% deduction.  After looking at the exam, if I take away the late penalty he will end up with a minus grade.  With tongue in cheek, I was wondering if I should enter the score an a minus grade?  Seriously, the student should owe me for handing in this type of drivel and making me grade it. 

What makes this even funnier (or sad depending on your perspective) is that I start each section of the course with, "This week we will be working on answering this question related to this theoretical frame..." and go on to explain the theory in detail.  I then bring in an industry guest speaker to discuss how they apply the model on an everyday basis and conduct a case study with the class.  This is followed giving the class a 'hands on' assignment where they have to apply the theoretical frame that is being featured in the exam question to an example from local industry - to which I give extensive feedback.  Each section ends with me posting the exam question again and working through possible responses with the students.   

One would think that this method would lead to high grades however; the class average looks like it will end up being about a 75% (median 88%) with three out of 35 students failing it outright.  I will fully admit that I am a tough grader with high expectations.  The test requires students to merge information from readings, lecture, guest speakers and assignments to not only demonstrate a base knowledge of theoretical frameworks but also indicate an understanding of its application in industry settings.  The number of students who have 'aced' the test demonstrates to me that I taught the material and that a good percentage 'got it.'  I am betting that if I look at attendance versus grades that may give me my answer.  I am guessing this is a horse to water situation but my frustration level is high at the moment.  Thanks for letting me rant.

anon99:
Quote from: canadatourismguy on February 27, 2013, 10:16:11 AM

I have a student that handed in a take home exam late.  In my class that is an automatic 25% deduction.  After looking at the exam, if I take away the late penalty he will end up with a minus grade.  With tongue in cheek, I was wondering if I should enter the score an a minus grade? 

If this is your policy and there are no extenuating circumstances as to why you might waive your policy, calculate his grade the same as you normally would, apply the 25% late penalty, record that grade and hand back the exam.  It should not matter whether the final grade is a C- or a C, do the simple math.

mended_drum:
I think that the OP means that the student would technically end up with a grade below a zero, like a -12%. 

I had a professor in France once who would award us minus grades.  I deserved it.

onthefringe:
I think the OP means a negative grade -- like the student got a 20%, and thus will get a -5% after the penalty is applied.

When I have had this happen, I have recorded a 0 in the gradebook, as I am not willing to penalize the student more than I would if they simply skipped the exam/assignment. I generally do make it clear what I've done by writing on the exam something like "You have earned 20% of available points on the exam. With the late penalty of 25%, you technically earned a -5%, however, you will receive a 0 so as not to penalize you for attempting the exam"

mountainguy:
Quote from: onthefringe on February 27, 2013, 11:09:58 AM

When I have had this happen, I have recorded a 0 in the gradebook, as I am not willing to penalize the student more than I would if they simply skipped the exam/assignment. I generally do make it clear what I've done by writing on the exam something like "You have earned 20% of available points on the exam. With the late penalty of 25%, you technically earned a -5%, however, you will receive a 0 so as not to penalize you for attempting the exam"


I had a couple of these last semester. I did exactly the same thing.

FWIW, I find that students around this point of the semester are testing boundaries to see what exactly they can get away with. They're stressed out with midterms looming, and looking for ways to cut corners. Once they figure out that I'm serious about following directions and doing the reading, they'll shape up.

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