The Begging

Usually, I like to get email from students. It's great to have the chance to help explain a concept or idea that someone's having trouble with (or to correct an error I might have made--oops!). Sometimes, I get links to interesting websites that relate to a course. I even get some from students after they've finished I course I taught. So they're still thinking of me. >snff<

Hi,

I really loved your course, u r a great instructor. I just wanted to wish you a nice holiday.

BTW, I was just wondering about how you round up the marks. I have a total of 54.2%. Would it be possible to get that rounded up to an A+? I really want to get into medical school--it's been my dream since I was a fetus, and the only thing standing in my way is my mark in your course, which is an F- right now.

Thanks!!!


Now, it seems like the person just wants to know about how marks get rounded up. (I apply standard rounding, also known as the common method.) But, er, it's not just asking about that, is it? It's begging.

There are two main problems I have with this. First, no. No, nyet, nein. I'm not going to change your mark because you asked. That's not how it works. It's embarassing for you to ask. So I'm not going to respond. If you've got a legitimate concern about the calculation of your grade, that's one thing.

Second, by the time the final is over, it's too late. There are so many things I could do to help you during the term. Did you come to my office hour to get help with things you didn't understand? Did you look over your midterms? Did you spend time checking out my study resources? Did you at least send me questions by email? No? Why not? It sure looks to me like you're either doing so well that you don't need any help, or you're not particularly engaged in the course.

After the final is over, there's nothing more I can do. If you fail the course, you can apply to rewrite the final, which you know if you've read the Calendar. But no, I can't simply bump you up a grade.

OK, so I don't want to be mean. I realize that in this age of instant gratification, after seeing your final exam mark, many students just want to know their grade in the course. It does take quite a while to get from me, through all the bureaucracy, and into your transcripts online. But you should be able to calculate your grade yourself: Just get your overall weighted total, and look up in the syllabus what grade that corresponds to. No curve--what grade you get simply depends on your overall percentage. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to send marks/grade information over email. So you're going to have to be patient.

Why aren't you studying?

11 comments:

AresGodofWar said...
on

hehe, how many of these do you get per course?

Karsten Loepelmann said...
on

@AresGodofWar: I dunno, hmm, about 1% to 5% of the class will send me these kinds of emails. Over a year, I teach about 1,000 students. So do the math: I get a lot of these.

AresGodofWar said...
on

oooh, ouch that must be extremely annoying. how many emails do you have to read in general? that must take up alot of time. time which really should be left to enjoying the holidays

Karsten Loepelmann said...
on

@AresGodofWar: I really only count emails that require a response--those take some time. I may have to do some research and look something up. Or I'll have to explain a concept that it took me half an hour to explain in class. Those kind of emails peak right before an exam, and I'll get a couple dozen a day.

Believe me, I enjoy the holidays! I hardly check my email at all. Classes are over/not begun. Why would students want to send me an email?

The marks are nestled all snug in their columns,
While visions of Dean's lists danced in their heads.

Or something like that.

Anonymous said...
on

As a student, I really appreciated that you followed your overall grade to letter grade outline. I had another class (300-level) where the prof posted that above 80-86 would equal an A-, and though my final grade was 84.5, I got a B+. High average, smallish class; tres disapointing.He neglected to mention that the guidelines would be “rough”.

Karsten Loepelmann said...
on

@Anonymous: Actually, instructors aren't allowed to do that. If they give percentage cutoffs, they have to follow them. You might try contacting the instructor first to ask about this, or go higher: to the Department Chairperson. There might be a good reason for this happening...but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...
on

I took a closer look at the syllabus and after the academic integrity calendar stuff, in itty-bitty print :
Note: The instructor reserves the right to adjust the grades up or down in light of: (1) the total distribution of scores in the class and/or (2) special circumstances and/or the person’s total performance in the course.
So, Ca sera sera right, ha.

Simon said...
on

mind bumping my A- to an A?

HAHAHA and yes i agree, if they dont'help themselves, no one can help them

Karsten Loepelmann said...
on

@Anonymous: That just really sucks. It's not like it costs instructors more to give out an A. They're not in limited supply or anything. In my 400-level class last term, the median was A-. That's right: half the class had grades of at least A-. It was a small class, but still! I was happy to have such a great, smart class of students.

Anonymous said...
on

I have a quick question. In one of my classes, percentage is converted straight to letter grade. I am only 0.85% away from a higher letter grade. If you were the professor for that class, would you bump their mark up?

Karsten Loepelmann said...
on

@Anonymous: If your instructor uses common rounding, you should get "bumped up" only if you are 0.50% or less away from the next higher grade. So, for example, if you're at 79.15% and you need 80% for the next grade, you will not bumped. If you are at 79.50%, you will get bumped. At least, that's what should happen.

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