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Author Topic: How many grade whiners this semester?  (Read 8228 times)
nocurving
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« Reply #30 on: December 13, 2012, 8:01:26 AM »

I received an email from a student who had been advised to ask me to look through her lab reports (yes, all ten of them) to see if she can get any points back.  
Yeah, sure.  Let's just do that.

Another one, after seeing he got a 29 on the final exam, came and the first thing he said was, "What happened?!"  
Hello!  I don't really have an answer to that if you yourself do not know why or how you did so poorly.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 8:02:32 AM by nocurving » Logged

Do or do not.  There is no try.
bigstateu
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« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2012, 5:45:27 PM »


O ye who teach large classes, how many whiners do you get?

The Fiona

Ah yes, lots. My large lecture class of 300 had about 25 whiners, though at least they were fairly respectful whines (no outraged rants, just somewhat whiny begs and requests....and mistaken assumptions that grading is a barter system rather than a measurement of class performance). My personal pet peeve are requests to do extra credit. I don't want to reward underperforming students for more quantity of low or average quality work, I want them to improve quality, not reinforce bad habits by adding to their quantity of mediocrity.

But the whines were offset some by the dozen or so students who just sent an email saying how much they enjoyed the class and who didn't whine, beg, complain or ask for anything in return. Of course most of those dozen had either just made a grade by the cutoff or were in the middle of a grade so they didn't see the point of whining.

All in all though I really liked this bunch so I didn't let the grubbing and whining bother me too much. I just sent them nice boiler plated messages and invited them to come in and check my calculations.
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dr_evil
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« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2012, 5:58:40 PM »

When I was at LargeStateU, I got what seemed like a lot, but now I'm realizing that I didn't really have that many, but some of them were dramatic.

So far, no whiners because grades aren't posted, but I did have more than the usual last-minute requests for extra credit and taking the final late, plus quite of "when can we expect them to be graded?" requests.  I'm wishing I taught in the old days (when I was a student), and we just waited for grades to come in the mail.  But maybe that was just me.
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new_bus_prof
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« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2012, 10:43:29 PM »

One so far, but finals are not finished until next week. We'll see if any more appear.
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spork
If you are reading this, I am naked.
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« Reply #34 on: December 13, 2012, 10:53:10 PM »

I hope all of you are creating fake out of office email replies that say something like:

"I will be out of the office until January 23. If you have a question about your final grade, please contact me after that date to scheduled a meeting with me during the spring semester. Happy holidays!"
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a.k.a. gum-chewing monkey in a Tufts University jacket

"There are no bad ideas, only great ideas that go horribly wrong."

"Please do not force people who are exhausted to take medication for hallucinations." -- Memo from the Chair, Department of White Privilege Studies, Fiork University
nucleo
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« Reply #35 on: December 13, 2012, 11:06:49 PM »

I hope all of you are creating fake out of office email replies that say something like:

"I will be out of the office until January 23. If you have a question about your final grade, please contact me after that date to scheduled a meeting with me during the spring semester. Happy holidays!"

January 23rd?  23rd?!?  We go back on the 2nd. 

I'm just going to go sulk now.
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dr_evil
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« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2012, 12:00:12 AM »

I hope all of you are creating fake out of office email replies that say something like:

"I will be out of the office until January 23. If you have a question about your final grade, please contact me after that date to scheduled a meeting with me during the spring semester. Happy holidays!"

I knew there was something I forgot.  Thanks for the reminder! <adds it to "to do" list>
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Wheeeeee! You go, oh evilicious one.
fiona
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« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2012, 3:06:36 AM »

I haven't gotten any after the original 3.

I wonder if grade whining is just an on-the-spot impulse. Many whine; few brood.

The Fiona
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The Fiona or Them FionŠ or Fiona the Sublime

Professor of Thread Killing, Fiork University
kangaroo
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« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2012, 8:10:01 AM »

I am worried about my grade.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVvKnq5XT-g
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polly_mer
practice makes perfect
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #39 on: December 14, 2012, 10:56:28 AM »

I have no grade whiners yet, possibly because grades go through the registrar's office and are not online.  I have, however, had two polite grade inquiries that were timed almost exactly after the time that grades are required to be into the registrar's office.
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I've joined a bizarre cult called JordanCanonicalForm's Witnesses.  I have to go from door to door asking people things like, "Good evening, sir!  Do you have a moment to chat about Linear Transformations?"
bigstateu
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« Reply #40 on: December 14, 2012, 11:08:49 AM »

I hope all of you are creating fake out of office email replies that say something like:

"I will be out of the office until January 23. If you have a question about your final grade, please contact me after that date to scheduled a meeting with me during the spring semester. Happy holidays!"
A milder variant of this is a popular strategy here with many faculty, but I don't use the run and hide strategy as I think it convinces snowflakes that we aren't really confident to stand behind the grades we assign. 

I like to get exams and papers graded fast, invite students to come in and see their exams and return their papers before we all scatter for break, and politely confront their grade begging and whining confidently, pleasantly and directly while explaining in as nice a way as possible why their grade is as it is and will remain as it is. I might add something about "Your grade is only a narrow measure of your performance in this class. I am not qualified to evaluate the quality of human being you are, what kind of student you are generally, whether or not you deserve the scholarship you may or may not lose if you get a C plus in my class etc. I can only measure how you have performed in this class, and your grade reflects what you have earned on that measure."

I've never had anyone go over my head to pursue a grade complaint further than directly whining to me. They may not like their grades but they seem to respect the process and the directness of this approach and come to the admission and realization that they were treated fairly. Run and hide until spring semester feeds their worst assumptions that we gave them a bad grade arbitrarily and lack the willingness or ability to defend our decision.

Its annoying to field the volume of complaints up front and one has to field many more directly if one chooses the direct and immediate approach (it is true that run and hide leads to heavy attrition as most whiners fall off after their cooling off period), so there are benefits to both approaches.

I just personally prefer to confront it quickly and pleasantly and get it all over with so I don't have to imagine someone going over my head because they couldn't find me and think their grade is an urgent matter demanding immediate attention. Not that it would be a big problem if they went over my head, the chair would totally back the instructor...but I don't even want to waste the chair's time with something I can handle. 
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polly_mer
practice makes perfect
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #41 on: December 14, 2012, 11:28:22 AM »

Ah, BigstateU, in some mythical future when my finals aren't at the very end of the very end of finals week, then I will employ your method.  Until then, I will stick with "I am free at 8 am every day <for the week after finals>.  Make an appointment to see me during that time and we can discuss or make an appointment to see me the first week of classes (7 am is the time I'm free during that week)".  So far, exactly one student has ever come to see me.
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I've joined a bizarre cult called JordanCanonicalForm's Witnesses.  I have to go from door to door asking people things like, "Good evening, sir!  Do you have a moment to chat about Linear Transformations?"
bigstateu
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Posts: 350


« Reply #42 on: December 14, 2012, 12:02:53 PM »

Ah, BigstateU, in some mythical future when my finals aren't at the very end of the very end of finals week, then I will employ your method.  Until then, I will stick with "I am free at 8 am every day <for the week after finals>.  Make an appointment to see me during that time and we can discuss or make an appointment to see me the first week of classes (7 am is the time I'm free during that week)".  So far, exactly one student has ever come to see me.
I like the 8AM and 7AM meeting times :-). When they have to make the small one time sacrifice of getting up early one morning to discuss their grades, they get a clearer perspective on just how unimportant grades really are to them in the grand scheme of things.
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sagit
And... we're off!
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« Reply #43 on: December 16, 2012, 8:58:02 AM »

This one is more of a preemptive grade whine:

I'm having a lot of anxiety and stress over this project. I really feel I'm going to do poorly on it just because I am not comfortable with [required software], and I feel you have very high expectations for the [final project]--expectations that I will not be able to reach thus ruining my chance of getting an A in this course. I'm trying my best with these, but the [required software] is really hindering me.

This was preceded by a much longer paragraph with more whining about the software and how she can't complete the assignment with it.  This is despite the fact that everyone else in this course - all sections of this course by all professors teaching this course - are required to use the same software.  And she's used this software for other assignments in my course as well.
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I like to think of the student as a mischievous badger.
bioteacher
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Confused and sad. Or happy. I'm not sure...


« Reply #44 on: December 17, 2012, 8:37:34 PM »

I knew the silence was too good to last. I managed to quash all normal grade grubbing with statements about how unethical it would be for me to change grades and how badly it reflected on beggar every single time I've posted grades to the CMS.

So... this one student is trying a different approach. Is the entire 5 point penalty (out of 50) for failing to fill in their ID on the scantron REALLY a fair consequence? Because it ended up in a B- not a B and they want the B. It's not fair.

Fantasy reply:

"No, sweetie, it's not fair. It's not fair at all that after 5 exams, you still cannot do this one simple thing. I don't let them start the test until everyone has taken the time to fill in their ID and bubble in the corresponding numbers beneath it. And yet, every dang test, about 8 people (out of 300) screw it up. It's not fair that I have to either dig through all of the cards and play "hunt for each student's answer sheet" so they can get a grade assigned. I do this rather than report a zero since the latter just kicks the can down the road. When they finally realize they screwed up, they'd flood my email with panicked notes, then line up and next term to watch me play this game as I insist we resolve it in person in my office. And then I'd have grade change forms to fill out, making more work for an admin in our department who has too much to do already.

"It's not fair that the problem was only reduced (it used to be 15 or so students) when I started applying point penalties. It's not fair that despite reminders during the final exam (where they had double the normal hour in which to take an hour long exam) said student couldn't be bothered to check her ID number and expects me to clean up the mess and mail her a cookie for a reward. It's not fair that the "new and improved" cards no longer have a place for them to code their names and allow me to find their score even if they botch their ID. And it's not fair to expect me to rearrange my schedule next term so I can be on campus the one evening each week you will apparently be there just so we can discuss this in person.

"I agree that none of this is fair. But life isn't fair. So quit whining and go away!"

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Lifesaving dream crusher and member of the Real vs. Zeal club.
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