Thursday, January 15, 2009

Negotiations

Recently two of my seniors came to me with the same problem--they had D's and even if they aced the final exam, they couldn't get at least a C- in the course. And they need at least a C- in the course in order to be considered at California's 4-year universities.

If their grades were the result of lack of effort, I would consider this a lesson well learned and not think a thing of it. But I know both of them have tried and struggled all semester long. So I made them a deal: score at least a B on the final, so that I can have a high level of confidence that they've mastered a reasonable amount of the material, and despite their points earned I'll give them a C-.

I graded the finals. One was happy with the result, the other not so much--but I think I earned cool points from each of them just for providing that one last opportunity. Professionally, it's a decision I can live with.

6 comments:

M.A. said...

I think it was a fair decision. They cared enough to come talk to you about their grade, and you made them (try to) earn the C-.

PeggyU said...

The best "bad" test experience I had as a student was in a physics class. The prof gave a take home test that was ... hella hard! The resources and information were all there in the book, but we had to figure out how to put it together. When said prof discovered a group of us camped out in the student union building working on it, he dropped a hint, smiled, sang us a little song about the merits of studiousness in a surprisingly fine baritone voice, and walked away. We learned that if we got hung up, we could step into his office and get additional hints. Ultimately, we finished it and collected our A's. I would say we didn't earn them - but since we did internalize quite a bit of information during that project, I am sure it was his plan all along. My husband had similar experiences with this same teacher. Recently, we looked him up and have established communication again. He has retired, but fills in from time to time. I wish there were a thousand of him.

Ellen K said...

I mediated an interesting situation yesterday during finals. Four students were overheard discussing how they had cheated on a chemistry final. The chem teacher was informed and had already thought something was up since all four had picked the worst answers in several categories. The chem teacher had already submitted grades and was going to let them off with a warning, allowing parents to handle it. So the chem teacher calls parents. One girl calls and apologizes profusely for cheating. One girl raises holy hell, leading her mom to call complaining about the chem teacher to the assistant principal. The AP tells the chem teacher that he has to enforce the cheating policy-which is that all four would get zeroes on the final. So they all fail. Because a parent whined. Somewhere in there is justice.

Darren said...

I do like justice.

PeggyU said...

The best part of it is that the complainer will get a double dose of "justice" from his conspirators. Sometimes it's best to just shut up and quit while you're ahead!

Ellen K said...

Not only that, but the helicopter parent, the one who believes her child incapable of any wrong, will get a serious dose of back off. I bet that kid never goes to mom with such an issue again. And I bet she never cheats again.