Instructors race time to record final grades
Published: Friday, January 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2013 00:01
The all-nighters and cramming may be a faint memory, but the effects of final exams are still being felt. Students may expect a subpar grade, but what if a grade is simply not reported at all?
When Miami University students put down their pencils after their last exam in December, they stopped all thoughts of grades and classes. At that point though, the stress was just beginning for many professors as they began the race to record grades accurately and on time.
Final grades were due Dec. 18 at noon, which gave professors roughly three days to tidy up their grade books.
As the deadline approached, many professors may have felt the heat to accurately record and report students’ grades.
Microbiology professor Kelly Abshire said while there is some tension, she avoids getting overly stressed about getting grades in on time.
“I plan for [it] and usually am fine, unless for some reason I’ve really got behind in my grading of class assignments,” she said.
If work does pile up though, she said she has to put all other tasks aside and get the remaining student assignments graded during the last week of classes, so that the only thing left to deal with are the final exams.
University Registrar David Sauter said there have been several situations where professors have not turned in grades by the deadline. He said most of those happen because of unforeseen circumstances such as the volume of grades that are essays or projects, technical difficulties or situations where the class is ongoing, such as workshops. Sauter also said many of the missing grades file under independent work, such as when one or two students are assigned to a faculty member. In other cases, adjunct faculty across all Miami campuses may have missing grades.
“So [they’re] not part of the typical ‘final exam grading’ protocol for faculty,” Sauter said of the many circumstances that account for a missing grade.
In any case, when a grade is missing, an “N” grade, or no grade reported, is appropriate especially to ensure students are aware their grade is missing Sauter said.
Last semester, there were 980 grades missing out of the 104,000 expected. This rounds out to less than 1 percent, according to Sauter.
There are approximately 45 outstanding grades remaining from last semester.
If a professor fails to turn grades in by the deadline, Provost Bobby Gempesaw sends a note reminding professors of how important prompt grade submission is, according to Sauter.
Gempesaw cites how the grades impact the need for academic action determinations, financial aid or scholarship issues and graduation.
Sauter said his office sends several reminders of the deadline and after the deadline we send notices to faculty/chair and eventually the dean’s office is copied if grades remain outstanding.
Junior David Beeder has had a few grades recorded incorrectly on BannerWeb. He said the mistakes come from professors having hundreds of students and grades to record.
“The pressure isn’t necessary in many ways,” Beeder said, adding that because of the deadline, professors and students may both dread Friday finals.
“If I have a final on Friday it increases the pressure somewhat,” Abshire said.
Abshire said the stress level is much better than it has been in the past when the deadline was noon on Monday following finals week.
“Having one more day made a big difference, especially for Friday finals,” she said.
Despite the potential complications, Beeder said he is not concerned about his grades being affected.
“The system has always been able to check itself and it works out,” he said, adding that he could easily contact his teachers to fix a wrong score.
Beeder said his instructors have appeared stressed or worried about getting grades in on time in the past.
“Some have asked for no talk or questions about grades saying they only have so much time to get them in,” said Beeder. “Some are more transparent, saying your grade is your grade.”
Although students are eager to see their grades show up on BannerWeb, Beeder said he understands a lot of effort is required.
“It’s a double-edge sword because we all want to see an increase in timing of when we know our grades, but that puts more demand on the professors,” he said.