Friday, March 01, 2013

New term (to me) "Grade grubbing"

I read with interest an article in yesterday's Times Higher Education where Chris Parr wrote the piece "Please Professor, I want some more". The term "grade grubbing" is used and I had not heard it used before. However, the practice of students coming to me questioning/complaining about their grade is very familiar to me - now it has a name.

Not a real student.
Image source:
It is common that a student will be disappointed with a grade whether it is for a short assessment, a project, or a long exam. Many feel that they put in a huge effort and have performed well in an exam only to get a moderate grade of (say) 50%. I'm always mindful that any grade I award is my professional opinion of what the student's work is worth - others may have a different opinion and may even award a different (higher or lower) mark. That's why we have second marking and external examiners. Despite this, sometimes a student will approach me for feedback on their work. Like all colleges, NCI has strict rules on following procedures for requesting feedback. Most of the time, students want to know how and why they lost marks, and I have to say - most of the time upon reflection, students accept the grade I have awarded. To date, I have never changed a grade - but am open to it is a student can demonstrate that their work is worth more marks.

One piece of advice I was given when I first came to NCI after I said to a colleague that I had "failed" some students in an exam - he said to me "you don't fail the students, they fail themselves". It is a nervous time when marking papers. A poor or failed result may have drastic consequences for a student when they go to the job market. I feel a certain empathy with students who fail because I myself only passed 1st year by compensation (in the repeats) and failed 2nd year which I then had to repeat the year. I can blame absolutely no one but myself for this poor performance, but I managed to overcome and learn from it.

WikiHow gives some sensible advice to students: How to Get a Professor to Change Your Grade. It may not work, but it should get students thinking about what they should do before going down the road of trying to get a grade changed.

No comments:

Post a Comment