January 28, 2008

TA Quandry

One of my students e-mailed me about a poor grade he received on the Business Ethics final last quarter. I graded his paper in a shitty hotel in Tijuana after missing my flight to Monterrey and being forced to buy a new ticked, so I may have been a little harsh. After looking over it again, I decided that he should have received a higher grade on the exam.

I got a grade change form, but it says that “no change of grade may be made on the basis of reassessment of the quality of the student’s work.” The question: is changing his grade a reassessment or not? It seems to me that it can go either way. On one hand, I read the paper once (in a shitty hotel) and gave it a grade, and then read it later (in Potrero Chico) and gave a slightly higher grade. This sure looks like a reassessment.

Yet I probably should have given him the second grade the first time through, which makes it look more like a clerical error than anything else. At the very least, this second way of looking at it doesn’t imply that a drastic reassessment occurred, merely that a mistake was made the first time around and now it must be fixed.

But what a shitty rule this “no reassessment” policy is. What if a multiple choice test is graded using the wrong answer key? If you put it back through the machine, isn’t this a reassessment of the quality of the student’s work? And of course changing a grade for this reason is ok. This rule is shit, and I’m sure it only exists to cut down on paperwork in the registrar’s office. Well maybe if they weren’t so damn lazy over there, we teachers could do our job with skillz.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

ummmm no the multiple choice mistake would be a clerical error. "reassessment" in this context (in my opinion) implies a change of heart, and i think the university is trying to prevent grade changes based on a change of heart from an outside influence...like a pitiful e-mail from a student.
-amna

Alan Moore said...

But it isn't merely a change of heart, I believe I made a mistake the first time around. The grading criteria remained the same, the problem was in the grader/machine. And oh was it a pitiful e-mail!

Climbing Narc said...

You are sort of in a weird predicament. What you are doing is reassessing the grade but not really for the reasons the rule is trying to prevent. Since you are sort of admitting that you really want to change the grade, maybe you can find a way to fudge the grade change through the system.

It would be interesting to see the count on number of pitiful emails sent to profs/tas at the end of each semester at a college. It has to be off the charts.

Alan Moore said...

Oh, I can fudge the system, somethings are never in doubt. This was more of a theoretical discussion than a practical one. And damn, students get so pathetic towards the end of the quarter. Sob sob sob...

Climbing Narc said...

Yes, kids lately are ingrained with the concept of "whine til you get your way" very early on in life. This works very easily on high school teachers and probably has its fair share of success in college as well.

Anonymous said...

Alan - I wasn't saying your reassessment was a change of heart b/c of the e-mail, I was just explaining why the University has that rule.
-amna

Anonymous said...

To hell with changing their grade. How many other papers did you grade while you were pissing Mexico? Will you go back and re-evaluate those grades? Doesn't seem fair to everyone else. I mean, maybe if there was some complete oversight in grading their paper in the first place. Like say you only read page 1-5, and missed pages 6-10. So they had an invalid argument. But what do I know. I'm barely even literate. That's why i-gineer stuff. And you can't really BS and argue in i-gineering. The answer is always some black and white numerical value.

~Al~

Alan Moore said...

I tend to just read the even pages, not sure why, I'm just a little OCD like that. It's like a statistics, I take a representative sample of the essay and grade based on that, with an error of +/- 2%. Or something like that?

And I'm in philosophy, I'm sure I could BS those numbers of you. I'm a pro at BS - it's my profession.

Johnclimbrok said...

reassessment (noun)
(1) a new appraisal or evaluation [syn: reappraisal]

(2) A renewed or second assessment.

I'd say you're guilty.

Basically guilty of being a pussy high school teacher. Way to get on your way being Dr. Alan Pussy. Puss.

mandi said...

This is why having funding is good, TA-ing is bad.

:-)

Anonymous said...

Yah, I've BS'ed stuff before. But then after that, we had to move the parking lot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWxqEseVebs

Btw, you need another post to update this 'TA Quandry' of yours. You puss out and change their grade?

~Al~