Here's a question for thought and discussion:
There are several areas of study required here at NWU that students take placement tests, even though they may have a fair number of high school credits in the area. Imagine a foreign language, math, or English composition, for example.
A student tests into a fairly low level class, lower than one might expect based on his/her high school transcript. Nonetheless, the test places the student into that low level class.
The student signs up for the class; the syllabus for the class requires a small number of tests or essays (50%), class participation (10%), a small project (10%), homework (30%). (Usually the homework, project, and participation help students who are trying hard but having real difficulty with the material.) The student passes the tests, not excelling, but demonstrating that s/he understands the necessary concepts and can do work necessary for the next level. But the student doesn't complete the project or the homework, and participates minimally when present.
Mathematically, the student would fail the class, which is required for graduation. But, the student has demonstrated that s/he knows the material and can do the work necessary to go to the next level.
Should the professor give the student a minimal passing grade (because the class is really a hoop, and the student doesn't need to spend the time/credits retaking the class, and besides, it costs the school money for students to retake classes, especially these lower level classes that other students really need the class).
Or should the professor give the student the mathematically earned grade (because the syllabus is like a contract and the student didn't do the work required to pass).
What do you think, and why? (The why really interests me; you don't need to be in academics to answer.)
Does your answer change if you know that the student will be suspended if s/he doesn't pass? Or that there's a scholarship of some sort on the line?