Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Too Harsh?

You teach high school physics and have 120 students.

You have a new computer grading program that helps you by calculating student averages for report cards.

You input data throughout most of the first semester and the computer correctly calculates averages for all 120 students.

At the end of the semester, the program mistakenly assigns a semester grade of "zero" for a few of your top students.

You could change these students' grades manually, but instead sign off that they are official.

The students protest but you, your department head, the principal, and the superintendent all agree that these grades will stand.

Word about the flawed computer program gets out to other students.

A couple of months before the spring semester will end, they call on you to be prepared to either manually override the computer or stop using the program.

You admit that yes, the program is prone to occasional errors.

You indicate that you're willing to accept their suggestions, but on one condition.

You won't alter your grading policy until you're certain most students, along with their parents, are on board.

You tell the protesters to gather input from these other students and parents.

It doesn't matter if they are "A" students or "F" students.

It doesn't matter if their parents are following the issue closely or they've never heard of the problem.

It doesn't matter if the universities using the program require professors to override obvious errors and submit corrected grades for their students.

You decide that a minimum of seventy-two (72) students (and their parents) would need to respond before you'd agree to override the system.

Now, try to convince anyone that you're doing what's in the best interest of the kids...

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