Saturday, May 14, 2005

Email and Grades

Just under 10% of my students emailed me about their grades. Some of the emailers were impatient about finding out what they earned in the class. As the registrar's office posts the grades on the web once they are processed, I have no qualms about my "no grades are discussed over email" policy. If I could wait a few WEEKS for my grades, they can wait a few DAYS. Besides, it's not like there's anything that they can DO about them now. Which brings me to my second group of emailers: the students who are complaining about their grades.

The number of students placing themselves in this second group has diminished since I've implemented the "no grades are discussed over email" policy. Previously when I've emailed a student a grade, it's just been too easy to hit reply and complain about it. This second wave of emails tells me that grades have been posted (meaning I no longer need to think about replying to the first group). Asks one student about the assigned grade, "So there's nothing else that could be done?" after I explained that grades were assigned based on the very objective criteria described in the syllabus. I have not yet written back, as I need to muster all my good sense not to write, "Not unless you can build a time machine and go back into the past and COME TO CLASS AND DO YOUR HOMEWORK." Another student asks to be moved up one step in order to keep a scholarship. Someone in the advising office needs to explain to the scholarship students the wisdom of planning your schedule to start your academic career with easy classes and spacing out difficult classes to dilute their effect on your overall GPA.

I'm curious as to why I haven't yet heard anything from my most vocal failing student. I'm guessing that either an extravagant and exotic end-of-year vacation has kept my student from accessing the registrar's webpage or else a team of doctors, lawyers, and ministers is being convened to mount a campaign of excuses. Maybe I'll luck out and not hear anything. There's still time, as the University allows the students 90 days in which to appeal their grades.