Saturday, February 10, 2007

Update on the not-so-clueful student

Remember this student who accidentally put her assignments in the wrong box all semester and never wondered why she didn't get them back (or why she failed) until three months after the course was over?

ScaryLecturer tells me he has decided what to do about her. Like me, he thinks it would be unfair to fail her, since she did do the work, and it seems to be of reasonable quality. But he refuses to grade it this long after the course finished: both because he is on teaching-release this semester, and because it would be impossible to compare her standard of work to that of the other students in the course. Finally, he isn't altogether sure that she put everything into the box on time, and there is no way to tell.

So he is going to follow the policy usually used for work that is handed in weeks after the due date (but still during the semester). If it seems to be of good standard, it gets a pass but no higher. Usually this is only applied to only one piece of work, but in this case it will be the whole course. So she will get a pass and be able to continue on in linguistics if she wishes, but it won't look great on her transcript.

I think it's a reasonable compromise for a complicated situation, although I'm not sure if I would have handled it the same way.


wwwmama said...

This seems reasonable to me. I think it teaches the student something. I was one of those painfully shy students in college, and when I read about this student in the previous post, I winced a bit because I could see myself not speaking up all semester. But it comes down to learning not to do that again, even if the student legitimately screwed up because she didn't have a clue.

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

What might you have done differently?

StyleyGeek said...

Well for one thing, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get myself in this situation as lecturer, because whenever I hand work back to the class, I explicitly ask, "Is there anyone who didn't get something back?"

If the student had been sitting there and not answered when I asked that, then yes, I would have probably done the same as ScaryLecturer about her grade.

But since ScaryLecturer doesn't ask this question, in his place, I would have probably seen it as at least partly my own fault, taken the hit of having to spend a bit of time examining the work more closely, and without marking it thoroughly, given myself a sense of whether it was A-quality, B-quality or C-quality pass. Then I would have deducted a letter-grade for the lateness. That way if the work was extremely high-quality, she could have still had a B (which as any straight-A student knows, is enough to teach you a lesson!).

I don't think Scarylecturer's decision was a bad one, I just might have been more of a marshmallow about it.