Friday, August 3, 2007

I shouldn't complain....

One advantage of teaching at the university level is that there isn't as much pressure to pass students no matter what. Grade inflation is a problem, certainly. And the parade of students who want to know if there's "something I can do" after the semester's over (and they've received grades reflecting the assignments not turned in and classroom quizzes not taken) is a perpetual end-of-semester ritual. And in one case I was asked to change a fail to a withdraw when it came to light that there were medical issues involved (and yes, I granted the request). But I've never had a grade changed over my objections after I turned it in.

In part, this is just an example of the eternal principle that what gets measured is what gets done. If we decide that graduation rates are the most important metric, then by golly, they're going to find a way to get that graduation rate up. If it means graduating students who are illiterate, well, we do what we have to do.

It sounds like there was some acting out on both sides--I'm not sure the correct response to something like this is to stay home from work for a couple of days--but a policy that a student gets 45 points on a 100-point scale (20 points short of a passing grade) just for showing up in class at least one time during the semester is ridiculous.

No comments: