The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 34
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2004
    Location
    City of delusion in the state of total denial
    Posts
    8,534

    Default Spin-off from grades thread: Grading at college level

    I recently started back for another degree and encountered a policy in one a 100-level class that seems a little... interesting.

    All homework assignments are graded on completion, not correctness. If you answered every question, you get full marks, even if you answered incorrectly. If you approach teaching staff (prof or TA) with a question, prof or TA will not give any answer that will confirm whether or not you are on the right track, but will say "discuss this with your group" or "reread chapter X." If you say "I have read chapter X, and I am uncertain about Y, can you please clarify whether my understanding that ___ is correct," you are told to reread chapter X. To be fair, this is not my personal experience, this is announced policy.

    The logic is that students who become accustomed to being told the correct answer do not develop the skills to acquire answers on their own, and that by grading homework on correctness, professors accustom students to being told the correct answer.

    I have thoughts on this from doing the whole college thing before and from grading as a TA; but I'll save them for the moment as I'm interested in others' thoughts on this. (Psst, mvp and Peggy, as I know you both teach at the collegiate level- I'd be really interested in your feelings on this style of grading.)
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
    - Harry Dresden

    Horse Isle 2: Legend of the Esrohs LifeCycle Breeding and competition MMORPG



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,133

    Default

    The grading for "did merely you do the assignment?" is often a strategy for coping with a butt-load of students and an effort to make them not blow all learning off until the final.

    The not answering your question about specific concepts? That's someone not doing their job. Period.

    I take it you are walking into office hours with these questions?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2012
    Location
    Twin Cities
    Posts
    2,079

    Default

    This is exactly what I have to explain to my students as NOT COLLEGE grading. This is what they expect, apparently from HS, but it is not the way it floats.

    You are paying for a degree/credit. the degree/credit is a credible signal to others that you have taken this course & learned a minimum of % of the material. When this is not the case, the value of that degree/credit becomes a big fat ZERO. So, essentially, grade inflation means you are ripping off everyone who has worked for & paid for their degree. Now it means shite.

    Can't get a job after college? Maybe it is b/c a degree these days barely indicates that you can read and write. Math?? ha, forget it.

    You want every point from an assignment? Please see the college handbook (and my syllabus) that states an A is for outstanding work. The bare-ass minimum gets you a D.

    Maybe I am waging a one woman, futile campaign, but I will be damned if I give in. Same story with cheaters. I will go to the mat to fail one, and have had a drag out fight with former administrators that ended up in arbitration.
    Last edited by Hippolyta; Feb. 23, 2013 at 08:52 AM.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2011
    Posts
    1,099

    Default

    In my classes we make use of some of the online technology for homework, so that is autograded as right/wrong. If a student believes they have been incorrectly graded they can bring me their work and I'll review. Then they have tests, a mid-term and a final.

    Typically my classes are about 15-20 students. In a 20 student class there may be 4 A's. A's are about being outstanding which means your work is mistake free. I'll admit that I am more lenient in the classes that are for the general population than I am in classes that are for the major. I believe if this subject is going to be your major than you should represent it as an expert, not someone who learned to get by.
    "I couldn't find my keys, so I put her in the trunk"



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2006
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    4,216

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Renn/aissance View Post

    The logic is that students who become accustomed to being told the correct answer do not develop the skills to acquire answers on their own, and that by grading homework on correctness, professors accustom students to being told the correct answer.
    .)
    Well, using logic it appears neither the professor or the TA know the answer; is it too late to drop/add?

    Are you attending a for profit paper mill opperation?


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2002
    Posts
    3,802

    Default

    I teach language at college level.
    I do grade "homework" on completion AND quality.
    I also have students correct their papers themselves. I point out errors (with a specific code they all have access to) and they have to rewrite the paper for the final grade. So hopefully it gives them a chance to understand their mistakes.
    I always give them the answers eventually!
    I've only had one student, in all the years I've been teaching, complain about her grade: I gave her a B and it was apparently not good enough for her to get into the grad school she wanted. She was expecting an A, but her level of work just was not good enough. She was very persistent, even threatening, but I stood my ground. Sheesh.
    Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2008
    Posts
    1,206

    Default

    I teach at the graduate level at a state university. I was "grieved" (the university's "due process" that requires a professor go to a grade grievance hearing) for giving a student a "C".

    The student plagiarized (there was no question there was plagiarism.) Plagiarism is clearly stated in student manual as being a breach of academic honesty. I wanted to give the student an F for the course (my zero tolerance for plagiarism). University said to give student an F/0 for the assignment then average that in for course grade.

    I blame the educational system. In the corporate world, verified ethics violations are cause for termination. Why not in the academic world?
    Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
    Alfred A. Montapert


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2002
    Posts
    3,802

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pluvinel View Post

    I blame the educational system. In the corporate world, verified ethics violations are cause for termination. Why not in the academic world?
    Ha! Don't get me started on that. Nepotism, Cronyism, harassment...all alive and well in Academia. We are trying to get a Tenured prof fired because (among other reprehensible things) he falsified one of our Lecturers' student evaluations. I highly doubt he will get fired, tho.
    Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    1,692

    Default

    [QUOTE=FitToBeTied;6853881]In my classes we make use of some of the online technology for homework, so that is autograded as right/wrong. If a student believes they have been incorrectly graded they can bring me their work and I'll review. Then they have tests, a mid-term and a final.
    [QUOTE]


    This is my system as well for Math classes. In addition the online HW program has a link to the textbook or examples of how to do the problems. By doing the HW online the students get immediate feedback as well, they don't have to turn in the assignment and then wait for the next class to find out if they made mistakes.

    I also tell the students that if they don't understand a question on the HW they can bring it to class and I will go over it.

    Just as a note, I am teaching pre-collegiate and 100 level courses at a community college so the students are frequently struggling with math anyway.

    Christa



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2004
    Location
    City of delusion in the state of total denial
    Posts
    8,534

    Default

    Thanks for the input. This is a university with a very strong academic reputation.

    In a science class, there is such a thing as a right answer sometimes. Yes, there's a lot of matters of opinion, and the data is conflicting over X, Y, and Z, but we can treat "the earth goes around the sun" as a right answer. The "right answers" are the foundations on which further developments are built. So I feel very strongly that when a student approaches teaching staff, makes it clear that he or she has made an effort to figure it out, but is still confused and wants to know if he or she is on the right track... you help the student. Otherwise that student might one day get on TV in full belief of possession of "facts" such as that the female body can "shut that whole thing down." In other words, sometimes looking for "the answer" isn't just student laziness, it's needing to know something so that the whole rest of the everything is going to make sense.

    If the only response to a clarification question is going to be "read the book," there's no purpose in paying for the class. I might as well just not take it and go read the book. I think that a good professor with experience in the field has more to give us than that.

    As a TA, I did the majority of the grading. I didn't have a ton of input from the prof I TA'd for about how she wanted me to handle it, as theoretically I was doing "first pass" grading and she was giving the final reports, but she extremely rarely made any changes to a score I'd tentatively assigned. (I'd been a student of hers for three years before that, so I knew her grading system well, which I think probably accounts for that- not professorial laziness which was definitely not the case here.) Answers on graded work had to be correct, or at least getting there, in order to earn points. If something wasn't quite right, it would be corrected on the paper- "Not quite; this is actually handled by this part of the brain" or "You've got this backwards, take another look at the diagram on page 7." If a student evidently totally did not understand a concept, I'd comment "Looks like some gaps in your understanding of X- take another look over chapter 7 or let's talk after class." Usually that would be followed up by student emailing to say "I reread, and I understand now why ___, but I'm still confused about ____," and then that would be discussed in office hours.

    I like that system as a student, and I thought it was effective as a grader. It called attention to a problem but still put the onus on the student to take steps in remedying whatever deficit was there before getting "the answer."
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
    - Harry Dresden

    Horse Isle 2: Legend of the Esrohs LifeCycle Breeding and competition MMORPG



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,133

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by clanter View Post
    Well, using logic it appears neither the professor or the TA know the answer; is it too late to drop/add?

    Are you attending a for profit paper mill opperation?
    On a strictly logical level, the explanation says absolutely nothing about what the prof/TA knows.

    ETA: Often a relatively simple question about a central concept in a course or a field has a very long, very complicated answer. The careerist in that field could spend bury the student in controversies he/she didn't know were there. The student who wants to know is welcome to that explanation and it stops when he/she says "uncle!," but chances are that the prof knows he/she could drown the student in that and tries not to.
    Last edited by mvp; Feb. 23, 2013 at 01:44 PM.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
    Posts
    7,281

    Default

    We have a mandatory curve. The students hate it conceptually, and sometimes I don't enjoy making decisions based on it -- but the one time I do like it is when students complain about their grades. "there's a curve and your classmates performed better than you" is an easy answer.

    I do spend a lot of time with students going over their exams to make sure they understand how to improve -- but once I start pointing out all the ways they *could* improve, they tend to view their grades as more generous than they originally thought.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,133

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sophie View Post
    I've only had one student, in all the years I've been teaching, complain about her grade: I gave her a B and it was apparently not good enough for her to get into the grad school she wanted. She was expecting an A, but her level of work just was not good enough. She was very persistent, even threatening, but I stood my ground. Sheesh.
    I hear you. But you aren't doing badly if you have just one student giving you the ol' filibuster-for-a-higher grade.

    Oddly enough, I have found that the B or B+ grade-holders to be the most brazen and persistent in gunning for a higher grade. Ironically, I was raised to be a pretty generous grader around the B level, but the gap from B+ to A- is a tad larger. We can talk about why that is if you want.

    IME with grade filibusters, they are painful. I have done one or two, very early in my teaching career. The problem is that I started grading with generosity. There's no way a student can know that, of course. But if they try to argue for better... while inadvertently showing me what they did miss, the only option is to explain that they did worse than the initial grade. I have no desire to shame a student.

    Or worse (and unacceptable), the student starts to piss me off, and then for completely inappropriate reasons, I'm not inclined to raise a grade out of kindness.

    I learned that the grade filibuster is a lose-lose.

    After that semester, I told students that I would not change grades once attached. We could talk about how I arrived at the grade I did, but it wouldn't change. If they thought they could do better, they were welcome to have the prof (or chair) do the regrade.... but they should know that that rarely works.

    But! I'm willing to do anything to help them get the grade they want before they submit the assignment.

    Then I ask everyone if they have any objections, and give them room to state those in class (a chance for a mutiny) or to do that privately (if they are paranoid and shy). It hasn't failed yet!
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2004
    Location
    City of delusion in the state of total denial
    Posts
    8,534

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mvp
    Oddly enough, I have found that the B or B+ grade-holders to be the most brazen and persistent in gunning for a higher grade. Ironically, I was raised to be a pretty generous grader around the B level, but the gap from B+ to A- is a tad larger. We can talk about why that is if you want.
    I'd be interested in hearing you elaborate on this.

    To me it seems very logical that C is "hovering around competent," B is "pretty darn competent," and A is "exceptional," and it's a lot easier to demonstrate "pretty darn competent" than "exceptional."
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
    - Harry Dresden

    Horse Isle 2: Legend of the Esrohs LifeCycle Breeding and competition MMORPG



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,133

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Renn/aissance View Post
    I'd be interested in hearing you elaborate on this.

    To me it seems very logical that C is "hovering around competent," B is "pretty darn competent," and A is "exceptional," and it's a lot easier to demonstrate "pretty darn competent" than "exceptional."
    I have worked at universities that are making the average grade somewhere between a B and a B+. Shocking and perhaps lame, but not correctable by one prof.

    And the students at these places had to have some competence and desire even to get there, so I'm not going to lose my mind about grade inflation to this level.

    But! 1) I think a B+ is a perfectly respectable grade. 2) There needs to be something that preserves room for better-than-average performance. Better than average performance means that the student got the factual stuff right but also went beyond that. He/she did something original or saw the larger issues behind the question that someone in the field would appreciate (and which I taught). That break-a-sweat engagement built on getting the basic facts/understanding/mechanics right signifies the line between a B+ and an A-. You must impress me to get an A. I have given very few A+s in my grading career. You must make me weep in order to get one of those.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2006
    Posts
    867

    Default

    I don't teach at the collegiate level, however, I loved the online coursework for my physics classes that it wasn't just input an answer and get it right or wrong. It would tell you if you were wrong and you could try again, etc for the correct answer. There was also a way to leave notes or comments for your fellow students also inputting answers (as in ways to figure out the problem, where you went wrong, etc).

    I learned so much more that way than the courses where it was just turn in the homework.

    I had an A&P class that was graded like the OP's situation though, except the answers were posted for each section in the classroom so you could just copy the answers. If the homework was there, it was just counted as in & complete. We had one midterm & a final exam. It was a very ugly course for those students not inclined to actually learn & study the material.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,133

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pluvinel View Post
    I blame the educational system. In the corporate world, verified ethics violations are cause for termination. Why not in the academic world?
    You are holding up the corporate world as a comparative bastion of morality and justice? That surprises me, a headline reader and someone who subsidized the Wall Street F-Ups that contributed to the Great Recession.

    Quote Originally Posted by sophie View Post
    Ha! Don't get me started on that. Nepotism, Cronyism, harassment...all alive and well in Academia. We are trying to get a Tenured prof fired because (among other reprehensible things) he falsified one of our Lecturers' student evaluations. I highly doubt he will get fired, tho.
    So let's call it a draw. You can find petty, immoral, greedy and short-sighted ba#tards anywhere. What I think these two worlds have in common, however, is a lot of protection and slack for the high-ups.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 7, 2005
    Location
    Lancaster, PA
    Posts
    4,805

    Default

    I agree that students should first try to work out an understanding on their own, but sometimes you can re-read the material 100 times and just not get it without additional explanation. This policy doesn't seem to account for different types of learning styles at all. Some can just read it, others need to be shown. Also, it isn't always just about WHAT the correct answer is, but HOW to achieve it and WHY it is correct. I do not think I would be happy with a professor offering up that policy. I would probably do fine in the class anyway, but other types of learners may not.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2008
    Posts
    1,206

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    You are holding up the corporate world as a comparative bastion of morality and justice? That surprises me, a headline reader and someone who subsidized the Wall Street F-Ups that contributed to the Great Recession.
    The company I work for has an employee manual on "Ethical Behavior". Breach it at your own peril.

    There were about 100 terminations for ethical violations last year.....so don't slam the corporate world without knowing what you're talking about. This is the standard I bring to my students.....
    Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
    Alfred A. Montapert



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,133

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pluvinel View Post
    The company I work for has an employee manual on "Ethical Behavior". Breach it at your own peril.

    There were about 100 terminations for ethical violations last year.....so don't slam the corporate world without knowing what you're talking about. This is the standard I bring to my students.....
    I defer to your knowledge of your corner of the corporate world. It's not all of it.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 33
    Last Post: Feb. 24, 2013, 08:03 AM
  2. Replies: 6
    Last Post: Jun. 23, 2010, 06:28 PM
  3. Spinoff of college thread?
    By Equitation62012 in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Feb. 24, 2010, 05:08 PM
  4. Polo - college level playing
    By cwill in forum Off Course
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: Oct. 10, 2009, 02:21 AM
  5. Replies: 37
    Last Post: Sep. 30, 2009, 01:21 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
randomness