The details of the grading for this course are described in the course outline. This memo is intended to describe my general grading philosophy and policies.
Types of questions
My goal in teaching this course is to develop the analytical skills of the
students. Therefore, most of the graded exercises will be aimed at assessing
the ability of students to apply the concepts and evidence that are discussed
in class and in the required readings.
I think one of the most constructive ways for students to learn the material
in this course is to work in a study group to prepare and discuss answers to
the homework assignments and cases. Spirited debate and discussion of these
questions with peers is one of the best ways to learn to apply this material.
I usually provide copies of "good" answers from students when graded
exercises (homework, cases, or exams) are returned. These are not model answers,
but they are examples of answers that were relatively good.
There are many graded exercises in this course. Therefore, I use a teaching
assistant to help me. This is a person who is very knowledgeable about the material
in this course who has served as a TA for similar courses in the past. I always
explain the question or problem and the answers that I think are reasonable.
I also audit and monitor the graded quizzes or cases (particularly the best
and worst ones). I grade the most difficult things myself. In my experience,
this process yields grades that are as reliable (or more so) than if I graded
every item myself.
Nevertheless, as with anything that is as subjective as grading (or many similar
decisions that are made in everyday business practice), errors can occur. In
the past, I had a policy of regrading anything that any student felt was graded
too low (I have never had a student complain about a grade that was too high).
In recent years I have noticed a dramatic increase in regrade requests and a
smaller proportion of them where there was any basis for changing the assigned
grade. Therefore, I have adopted the following policy for regrade requests:
The reason for this regrade fee is to provide fairness to me and to the students
who do not request reevaluations. If a student has a real basis for expecting
a grade improvement, there is no expected penalty. On the other hand, frivolous
requests for regrading will be discouraged.
- I do not litigate grades in person (I am willing to talk about the substance
of any course-related question, but not "Why did I only get 5 points
for this answer?")
- You should write a short note or memo describing why the answer that you
wrote deserves more credit and attach it to the graded exercise (needless
to say, do not attempt to alter the answer you originally wrote).
- The regrade request will cost you 10% of the possible points on the assignment
(e.g., 1 point on a 10 point quiz). If your complaint is justified so that
your grade is increased, this "regrade fee" is refunded. Otherwise,
the 10% fee lowers your grade on the assignment. Of course, if I decide
that the original grade assignment was too high, your grade can also be
lowered and the fee will not be refunded.
- As an example, suppose you received a 6 out of 10 on an assignment and
thought you deserved more credit:
- If there is no change in your grade, you now have a 5.
- If your grade should have been a 7, you now have a 7.
- If your grade should have been a 5, you now have a 4.
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the full text of this memo.
Doonesbury on Grades:
- Student appeals an A he feels he didn't deserve,
- Grade inflation: student sues after B+,
- Grade inflation lawsuit (pressure to conform),
- Grade inflation lawsuit (making math accessible),
- Grade inflation lawsuit (damages), 940222
- Grade inflation lawsuit (grading on a curve),
- Grade inflation lawsuit (the course catalog),
- Grade inflation lawsuit (disappointing report
- Grade inflation: law school applicant rejected,
- Prof. Deadman: "victim" status and grading,
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© Copyright 1996-2012, G. William Schwert
Last Updated on 8/23/2012