Opinions vary on effort in class

Derek Lenehan

If a student attended class every day for an entire semester, studied for hours, did every extra-credit assignment and finished the course with an 89.5 percent, should he or she be awarded the A or the A- out of effort?

What if there were another student in the class who was naturally gifted, attended half the classes, passed the tests with ease and got a 90 percent? Should the points missed by the first student be supplemented by their effort?

Is it fair to let that student get what they did not earn or lower their reward because they were not able to get one more point on an exam?

Pete Goldsmith, vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, holds the opinion that it is up to the professor.

“I believe that it’s the province of the faculty member to decide on grading,” he said.

Meg Dalton, junior dance performance major, echoed that view.

“For the most part, it’s up to the professor,” Dalton said. “I would go ahead and bump the person up,” she said, when presented with the scenario of the determined student who earned the 89.5 percent.

“If they put in the effort, and I felt that the grade means a lot to them, then I’d go ahead and give it to them,” she said.

Gayle Ormiston, associate provost for Faculty Affairs and Curriculum, said that students, no matter how talented, must still put in some work to achieve a high grade.

“I haven’t met anyone who just breezes through. In my experience, if you don’t go to class, you don’t do well,” Ormiston said. “If any student feels that they were treated unfairly, they can get a recourse.”

Students can get a recourse by making a student academic complaint through the academic department that the class belongs to.

Kathryn Wilson, professor of economics, said that class size is a significant determinant to whether or not special cases are made for her students.

“In my large class, with 220 students, it would be arbitrary for me to boost one student. There could be 10 other students who worked just as hard that I don’t know about,” she said.

Jason Broadwater, junior finance major, felt that the line between an A- and a B+ could be blurred a little.

“An 89.5 percent is really close. It’s hard enough to get an A, you don’t have to be that picky,” he said.

Jay Lee, chairperson of the geography department, said he would decide on a borderline student’s grade based on other students in the class.

“If a person has an 89.5 percent and is highest among the other students, yes, they would get an A. If there are others in that range, the student would have to stay at a B+,” he said.

Broadwater added that most professors in his experience have been honest if they do not plan to budge on grades.

“They’re perfectly straightforward, even if it’s an 89.99999 percent, it’s still a B.”

Contact academic affairs reporter Derek Lenehan at [email protected].