Eye of the Tiger

MORIN: Grade bump policies need consistency among teachers

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Web_Morin_mugshotBY TOMMY MORIN
[email protected]

With the fall term coming to an end, students are scrambling to get their grades together, trying to get that little bump to boost up a letter grade. Whether it be turning in late work or working on extra credit projects, everyone is grinding out their last few assignments.

In different classes however, some teachers have different parameters for what qualifies as a specific letter grade. For example, AP Calculus considers an 80% an A, but doesn’t curve any of the test scores, while others keep the normal system but does still curve exams. There are also classes that drop the lowest test score, helping the students who had a “bad test day.” Overall, it appears that there is no standard way in which grading is structured.

The one action that baffles me most is when students ask if their grade could be bumped in order to move up a letter grade to help their GPA. Students obviously want to do everything in their power to increase their GPA, but simply asking for generosity on the teacher’s end is the wrong way to go about this. It puts both the teacher and student in an awkward position, and things can are often gray regarding what grades should deserve getting bumped. But you can’t blame students for asking this with flexibility based on its historical precedent.

Having an 89.9% is the ultimate struggle for a student desperately wanting that A on their transcript, but how far away from the desired grade can the student be? An 88% seems somewhat close to an A, but it is still clearly a B. Without any written guidelines regarding this action, the extent that the grade could be bumped is not regulated. This is where a big problem lies because there are teachers who give bumps based on “class participation,” a pretty vague term to begin with that teachers occasionally use to justify helping out one of their more liked students in the class.

I appreciate teachers who explicitly say at the beginning or end of the term that they will not be bumping grades. This honesty clarifies any discrepancies between the student and teachers and gets away from the akward situations.

Any policy, so long as it is uniform, needs to be adopted by the school to fix these issues.

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