Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Midterm Grades

We're required to give students a midterm grade report here at NWU.

So I use mail merge to write a short letter showing what grades they've gotten for what assignment, and putting it all together.  Handily, this time it worked out so that they've done just under 50% of the total graded work for the class already.

I'm filled with despair at how many students can't figure out basic percentages.

And I'm filled astonied at how many students are totally and completely flabbergasted at where their grade stands at this point, even though I've given back every single graded piece of work and my syllabus lays out how much each assignment is worth.

The good thing is that the estimate right now tends to underestimate their grade a bit, so they can improve if they finish the short assignments well.  So I can reasonably comfort some of them who are aiming for As and will probably get there, and some of them I've given a realistic sense of alarm, so maybe they'll work a bit harder.

I'm also irritated that our administration doesn't think our students are capable of keeping track of their grades.

(And yes, I know that some instructors are woefully bad at returning graded work in anything like a timely manner.  I do indeed think that students need to get back work reasonably quickly, and that instructors need to explain how they grade.  I just think it's not unreasonable to expect college students to do percentages.)


  1. We give midterm grades only in lower division courses, which makes sense; particularly in the fall with the first semester students, we do pretty rapid interventions with those struggling.

  2. Anonymous11:21 AM

    We're required to turn in official mid-term grades for students earning a C- or below. When I have my adviser hat on this is helpful because I get a heads up going into our advising period for next semester.

    That said, in my own classes I hand back graded work and students have the syllabus. I will *not* post all of the grades on our LMS (though I do post my mid-term calculations). I've taken some flack for not posting every little thing, but they should be able to do simple arithmetic themselves.

  3. I post all grades on the LMS, so I'm always a bit concerned when students come to me all pissed off at their midterm grade (required here too). All the grades have been posted all the time. Why would anyone be surprised? Ugh.