Making the grade

Final exams begin today. I’m popping out of my grading mole-hole just long enough to respond to all those student queries about their grades. Some are legit, some are annoying, almost all are distracting and premature.

Many want to know if they can pull an A in the course even though they’ve earned less than an A on previous exams. (One had earned an A, and an exemption from the final, but wanted it in writing. Future lawyer.)

My slightly irritated blanket response: “I haven’t calculated final grades yet. In general, though, if you want an A you need to strive for excellence in every facet of the course. 80-something is good, but it’s not an A.”

The best short answer to the perennial question:

How do you determine a student’s grade?
“Well, I add up the grades for the essays, quizzes, the midterm and final. I average them out. Then I consult my stomach.”

It’s not about the grade, it’s about the effort and the motivation. And, y’know, the learning.

See you at the exam. One way or the other.

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