Course grading policies get an F

In order for students to succeed, professors should make course standards clear and accessible.

Jasper Johnson

Here at the University of Minnesota, different courses exhibit a wide spectrum in the amount of feedback students get about their grades. But one thing remains the same no matter what school you attend: Students deserve transparent grading systems and consistent performance feedback in all their courses.
 
 
From what I’ve experienced and heard from friends, the University’s calculus courses are a good example of where things could improve. Oftentimes, students have no certainty about their final grade, which is based largely on the final exam performance and allotted via a curve that isn’t always clearly laid out at the beginning of the semester. As a result, TAs aren’t always sure about what grades students can expect to receive, either. 
 
 
Of course, this is all well-intended, as its goal is to ensure that all sections of the class are graded fairly. However, the stress of a grading method’s uncertainty isn’t worth it. 
 
 
Other courses give off similar vibes of uncertainty when their professors don’t routinely update grade books in Moodle. It’s hard to allocate study time to each course when you don’t know what grades you’re earning.
 
 
It’s essential that students be made aware of their course performance and that they get feedback from professors to know whether they need to come into office hours, join a study group or get a tutor. 
 
 
Professors should try to ensure that students can access timely information about their course performance and that all courses have clearly defined grading standards. This would alleviate stress for students and could even improve their academic performance. 
 
Jasper Johnson welcomes comments at [email protected].