Thursday, May 23, 2013

The twelfth hour

And even the eleventh hour is too late!

May flowers are supposed to follow April showers. Well, an even more reliable sequence is the arrival of plaintive e-mails after the publication of semester grades. Here's one from a student who missed a passing grade by half a percentage point. Yes, sometimes I round up an average score of 69.5 and assign a student a C, but only when that average includes a solid passing score on the comprehensive final. This poor student, however, did not pass the final.
Professor is there any way possible to retake the final or to roll up  the .5 of the grade? The last half of the semester were very difficult for me, I have encountered family hardships and fell ill. I know it is not an excuse but it would mean the world to me as so much depends on it. I am truly sorry to put you in such a situation. I'm just lost and I'm pleading for some help. I'm just hoping you can assist me in my situation. Again thank you very much for your attention, I am glad to have a professor who is willing to lend a helping hand.
It's a poignant missive, but much too late. We do strive to provide reasonable accommodate for hardship cases, including deadline extensions or makeup exams when illnesses or other emergencies intrude into a student's academic program. We can't, however, do a darned thing about it after the fact. And, in his case, there had been no hint of any difficulties during the semester itself. Only now, when it was too late. I replied to his message.
It's an intriguing idea, but absolutely forbidden by the college rules. No mitigation or revision is permitted after semester grades are assigned. It’s a strict but necessary regulation. Otherwise we would face a constant onslaught of students seeking to improve their grades by post-semester work.
I tried to let him down gently, explaining that his best option was to retake the class immediately, thereby taking advantage of what he had learned while he still retained it. The summer session sections of the course were already fully booked, but I contacted one of the summer instructors and explained why my student was in need of last-minute enrollment in summer session. He consented to add my student, going above the enrollment limit, so I passed the word along.
Dr R has promised to let you into his summer session class. Be sure to show up on Day One!
My student, whose fall enrollment at the University of California appears to be contingent on his passing this class before he gets there, was relieved to learn he had an option to fulfill the requirements of his UC transfer agreement:
Thousand thanks Professor you just made my day, thank you so much!!! Again thank you !!!
A happy ending? That remains to be seen. But he's got a shot.