I know how to grade

Background provided by Instructor: The students were assigned a computer project, which was posted two weeks before the deadline with a grading scheme. They were required to send a milestone to us after a week to receive some points; there was no partial credit for this section.

Email subject: This lab is very hard. You guys should try do it yourself.

Email body: Hi,

I’m not very happy. Why is task 1-3 no partial credit. Please send in some feedback because we need this for part 1-7 and if this is not right and we have no way of correcting this we are getting a zero. It is a very bad way to grade homework like this according to me. I have been correcting this thing for a long time. I admit i’m very stupid please help us by sending some feedback.

We talked to the TAs and they said they cannot see errors in my function.

* * ½     5 votes
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Feminist = You hate men

Background provided by the Instructor: I just wanted to share how stunning it is that some students continue to equate “feminist” with “hates men.” I happen to teach a class where we discuss gender issues, including violence against women. Here is one of my course evaluations from a male in the class:

I took this class as an elective. It is obvious that our teacher is a feminist and hates men since she talked about issues like domestic violence being a problem and how rape is also an issue for girls. It is clear she hates men …. why else would she bring these up in a class on gender roles. As a guy I was really uncomfortable hearing her tell us about the studies.

* * * * ½ 16 votes
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You have to let me take the test

Background provided by Instructor: I teach an online class. The syllabus and calendar are emailed to each student and are also posted online. Each week I send reminder emails about what is due. Since the prelim is open over the course of several days, I also send daily email reminders. For this exam, one student had not completed it by the deadline, so I extended the due date and emailed the student. It appears this student has not been checking email or his Calendar and forgot. The day after the prelim closed, I received this email:
Dear Professor:
I don’t know how, but somehow I completely missed prelim 2. I’ve been keeping extremely close track of the calender, but somehow that test completely slipped by me. I’m panicking right now. Professor, is there anything you can do for me? I don’t want to fail this class. You know I try really hard in it. This was just a brain lapse on my part, and I really don’t feel I deserve to lose out so much over it…I also didn’t see the email you sent about leaving prelim 2 open until the end of Sunday until 4:20 AM today. I didn’t think to check my email because I thought I had my entire schedule covered, and I thought Prelim 2 would be next week… I’m so very sorry. I really hope you’re willing to work with me on this…

* * * * ½ 15 votes
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Can we discuss a solution?

Background provided by Instructor: After an exam, I post the answers for students to review. A student emailed me later in the day asking to meet with me. She said she had misunderstood the question and now that she has seen the correct answer, she would like to come to my office to meet with me to discuss a solution for missing the question.  All I could think as I read her email was: Really?

For one of the questions on the test, it asked for the most common change for xxxx and I thought it was therefore asking for simply the biggest change as in one answer and so I chose the biggest change, although all of them were changes from the past. I guess I misunderstood the wording of the question and was curious if maybe we could discuss a solution to my misunderstanding.

* * *     15 votes
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If it’s so hard to believe…..

Background provided by Instructor: In my large class of several hundred, I require weekly online quizzes over the textbook readings that count 30% of a student’s grade. In announcements at the start of class, I always remind students to be sure to log in to do their chapter quizzes and emphasize how important they are in terms of being factored into their final grade.  Four weeks into the semester, I wrote to the students who were missing any or all quizzes to remind them to take their quizzes before the deadline.  After the first four weeks of quizzes closed, I wrote again to any students who missed taking quizzes – in case there were technical or personal issues. Here is one email exchange with one student.

Dear (Student) –
I see you did not take three of the four required chapter quizzes by the due date. These quizzes have been open since the first day or class. Reminders were announced in class and I also sent you emails two weeks ago and then again last week before the quizzes closed. Can you let me know why you only took the first chapter quiz? – Professor x

Student reply: Well I did the first one, and I was talking to someone else from the class about how I did pretty well on it, and they said it doesn’t matter how well you do on them because they were just for check, not for a grade. I didn’t know the quizzes were mandatory. But you’re informing me otherwise right now. Does this mean I’m going to fail the semester even if I do the quizzes from now on and do well on them?

My reply: This is so hard for me to believe after all the in-class announcements and reminder emails. When you read over the syllabus you can also see that quizzes are worth one-third of your grade. please talk to your friend as well and set them straight so they know these count toward your final grade. – Professor x

Student reply: If it’s so hard to believe, then don’t believe it. I’ve withdrawn from my courses anyway and am returning next semester for a fresh start. Have a great rest of the semester.


* * * *   15 votes
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How dare you accuse me

Background provided by Instructor: I am always amazed by the emails from students…how brazen and entitled they are…. and their tone. In this example of an email reply from a student, I had given the student only partial credit (a gift) for a paper because when I screened the paper for originality, a significant portion of it matched to other book review websites. The paper did not follow my specific directions for what to discuss. When I wrote to the student about their paper, I said that it made me wonder if they had read the instructions or the book.

I see that I only recieved half credit for my paper. I completely understand your comments but I did read the book from start to finish. I am upset about your accusations that I did not read it because that is just not true and very unfair. I hope to get the credit on my paper that I earned.

* * * *   16 votes
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Spoon-feeding 101

Background provided by Instructor: As part of the term paper assigned for the class, students are told to use APA style and are given links to resources such as http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/, along with handouts explaining APA, and sample papers that use APA. This is a senior level class and I am stunned by the number of near-graduates who do not know how to write a paper or understand the basics of formatting their paper. The first assignment they are asked to turn in is a list of academic references they plan to use in their paper. It is due today and here is an email from a student:

I am a little confused about APA style. How does that work? Do I list the title of the article and then the journal? Does it need the year?  I haven’t had time to click on the link to the APA guide and I can’t find the handouts or notes from class. I wonder if you can just explain it again to me. Thanks.

* * * *   13 votes
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What’s a deadline?

Background provided by Instructor: Somewhere along the way students lost the meaning of a deadline.  Too many wait until the last minute – literally. I feel this email represents way too many of today’s college students. For this class, the students are required to turn their papers online. Deadlines are spelled out and explained on the Syllabus, announced in class, and reminders are emailed weeks in advance to all students.

i’m writing to ask how i can turn in my assignment that was due last night… you said the folder was open until midnight so i went on at 11:59pm and was in the process of  figuring out how to submit it when the folder disappeared.

* * * *   15 votes
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Sorry, I don’t have Internet

Background provided by Instructor: I teach an online class which requires students to access the course regularly to post their reflection over the assigned lectures.  Due dates for these short reflections are clearly identified on the syllabus. I also send reminder emails.  On the night the assignment was due, a student wrote:

hi, i am at my parent’s house and they do not have internet so I won’t be able to do the assignment that is due by tonight. i thought i could just access the class via my cell phone, but it is impossible to listen to the lectures and view the video portion on my phone.  i’m writing to be sure it is okay if i do it tomorrow instead and just get it to you then. thank you for being so understanding.

* * * *   14 votes
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It is in the syllabus

* * * * ½ 11 votes
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