Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Fear That I'll Later Be Getting a Request That Will Defy Logic

Writes a student, "I am concerned about some of my grades at this point in time and I was wondering when our final grades will be posted. Thanks."

Who wants to place bets on whether this student ends up in danger of losing the GPA-based scholarship and then asks me to change the grade?

I no longer appeal to logic when talking to unhappy students. Instead I use the Miss Manners technique. I briefly sympathize with their plight (I'm sorry that you had such a rough semester; I'm sorry that things didn't work out like you expected) and then I say that what they're asking for is "impossible."

If I say that it would be unfair to do X for one student (whether it be allowing a make-up or issuing an entirely fictitious grade), then the student counters by suggesting that I allow that for everyone. If I tell them that I can't change a grade for no reason, they remind me that "risk of having to leave school" is their reason.

Bonus Content: As I was writing this, I've received another email from a student. This one wants to know if he can bring in a note from someone (not sure who?) and retroactively have the final count in place of his low score on the second midterm. (This "final replacing a low score" thing is not a course policy; final only replaces a missed test, not a low-scoring one.)

I blame the prevalence of undo and video games with easy-to-earn extra lives.