Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Semester Ended a Month Ago

Yesterday I stopped by the office to deal with all the last-minute stuff I needed to get done before leaving tomorrow (mostly giving people my new phone number and talking to the computer staff to ensure a smooth transition when they take away the 500 MHz G4 tower and replace it with the iMac that arrived on Friday and that I won't get to use -- sob! -- until I return at the end of the summer), and what did I find waiting for me but a grade appeal.

Not sure why the student decided to wait nearly a month before appealing. My hunch is that the student was informed of consequences of the grade and is trying to avoid the consequences.

The stated grounds for the appeal was "unacceptable evaluation procedures" (the university has four official grounds for appeal, and we make the students choose from that list) based on the claim that the exam questions didn't have directions. The student helpfully provided one quiz and the last two exams to illustrate this point.

Here are some sample questions:

The height in feet of a golf ball t seconds after it is hit is given by the function h(t) = -4t2 + 24t + 28. How fast, in feet per second, is the ball traveling four seconds after it is hit?

Find the critical numbers for f(x) = 1/(x2 + 4x)

Find the antiderivative of f(x) = 3x2 + 4

If these are unacceptable calculus questions, then we're all in trouble.