Tuesday, December 16, 2014

To C or not to C

Probably the hardest decision to make as a teacher is when to pass a student that is just on cusp of passing, but is not quite there. I just had such a student this semester, and ultimately decided not to pass them, but it was not an easy decision.

The stakes could be very high, either way. Perhaps I'm overestimating my influence, but I can see not passing them as affecting their future ability to get financial aid, discouraging them from trying again, or sending out a flag to some sponsoring agency to change their sponsorship. I almost never get to know the repercussions of these decisions.

On the other hand, I'm not completely comfortable even with some of the Cs I did hand out in this class. I'm not sure how prepared these students are for the next class. Did I just hand off trouble to the next instructor? Again, I'll probably never know the answer to this, either.

In the end, I think the homework points were a big part of this decision. We use an on-line homework system. Out of 40 possible points, the student only earned 11. Most of the sections were not even opened. I don't know if this is proper logic or not, but I'd have been much more likely to award the C for a similar score if 30 points had been earned.

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