Saturday, January 28, 2012

Not About Chickens!

As a college professor, one thing I've learned is that I need clearly stated policies regarding every aspect of my classes.  This applies to grades, especially.  My policy, I think, is simple.  Any assignment past due by three days receives an automatic zero.  Students can contact me for permission to turn in late work, but that doesn't mean I have to grade it.  I also tell students in my syllabus that they need to remind me--before dead week--of any assignments they submitted that I agreed to grade. 

I have a freshman from last semester who contacted me after final exams about her grade.  I have been going back and forth with her--though, again, my syllabus says that I will not discuss grades when dead week begins.  I have reminded her of my policies, but she persists.  Perhaps she thinks that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease"--that if she bugs me enough, I will relent. 

What generally happens is this--I go to the chair of my department and the dean of the college and explain what's going on.  My policies are clear. I remind students about them constantly, especially at the end of the semester. Students must submit all assignments to keep from making an automatic F in the class.  That still doesn't mean I'll grade the late assignment.

I have to jump through hoops to change a final grade in a class.  That's why it's important for students to read and understand my policies.  If I make one exception, then any student who didn't submit work and wants to do so now can use this one case as justification.  I like to be consistent.

I don't know how this will resolve, but it's something that won't go away until I hand it over to my bosses.  I hate dealing with this kind of stuff.  It detracts from the work I need to do now.

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