Breaking out of the Grading Tunnel

I now have a frim grasp on the grading that has consumed me for the past few weeks. I admit that I was bummed out by the lack of emphasis my students placed on their exams, although there were some shining diamonds in the rough. However, I can’t fail everyone so I decided to let my students obtain 20 extra points, yes the grades were that bad, if they typed up a written explanation detailing why they didn’t perform well. The catch, is that they have to visit me during office hours and provide the reason(s) face to face.

I struggled with myself to understand why they were doing so poorly and tried to see if I was doing something wrong and vice versa. I had given out similar versions of the same tests to other students for over four years while working on my Ph.D. and the breakdown usually occured in this manner in a class of 25:

3 A’s, 7 B’s, 10 C’s, 3 D’s and 2 Fs.

However, for the majority of my students, at this college, F’s are the norm… 

So I created the 20 points scheme. What is distressing about this is that it has been over a week since I offered it and only 14 students, out of nearly 200 students, have come to my office. The offer is good for only two weeks and I let my class know that I leave immediately after office hours so don’t wait until the last day to stop by.

However, I did have one student who wrote in his explanation “I see that you are a professor that cares about your students, or else you wouldn’t give us this chance. I am grateful that I have you as a professor and that you do keep our futures and possibilities in sight even, when we ourselves lose sight of it.”

That made my day….. 🙂


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