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easypeasy

UGH, when a prof doesn't grade things timely

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DD was just certain she was flunking, or nearly flunking, a class. A upper-level math course that is essential for her degree and MUST be taken at that university. A class that she does NOT have time to 'squeeze in" during her senior year because her senior semesters are already way too heavy (she changed majors right before junior year began, so she has zero wiggle room).

All of the tests were excruciatingly difficult, were something like 80% of the final grade, and she was sure she bombed all of them, but she'd received only one grade so far (she got an 89% on that first test). The stress this has added has been insane. She's talked to the prof a couple of times with no learned information regarding her grades, and the further the semester went, the more withdrawn she became about it (she struggles with anxiety, so no way, no how could I convince her to talk with him about her grade after the point she was certain she was truly dead in the water - and yes, she's working on gaining the upper hand on her anxiety).

Her final grade was just uploaded into her account today. She has a B. B!!! After all this stress and struggle, she has a B. 😅 We're thrilled, of course, but also frustrated!! 🤪 I had secretly already started researching transferring closer to home, just in case! lol

Ughhhhhhhhhhhh. I hope all her professors next year are reasonably fast graders! This kind of thing zaps her (and me, by default, because I am the person she vents to)!!

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This is a HUGE problem for my children and several others... it is not ok. 

 

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I’m so glad for your dd!  That’s really not right that the teacher did that.

My dd has an online class right now where the grading is so far behind, she feels it’s worthless to her. She’s got to turn in her second essay without ever receiving feedback on the first.  In her words, “That sucketh!”🙂

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9 hours ago, easypeasy said:

DD was just certain she was flunking, or nearly flunking, a class. A upper-level math course that is essential for her degree and MUST be taken at that university. A class that she does NOT have time to 'squeeze in" during her senior year because her senior semesters are already way too heavy (she changed majors right before junior year began, so she has zero wiggle room).

All of the tests were excruciatingly difficult, were something like 80% of the final grade, and she was sure she bombed all of them, but she'd received only one grade so far (she got an 89% on that first test). The stress this has added has been insane. She's talked to the prof a couple of times with no learned information regarding her grades, and the further the semester went, the more withdrawn she became about it (she struggles with anxiety, so no way, no how could I convince her to talk with him about her grade after the point she was certain she was truly dead in the water - and yes, she's working on gaining the upper hand on her anxiety).

Her final grade was just uploaded into her account today. She has a B. B!!! After all this stress and struggle, she has a B. 😅 We're thrilled, of course, but also frustrated!! 🤪 I had secretly already started researching transferring closer to home, just in case! lol

Ughhhhhhhhhhhh. I hope all her professors next year are reasonably fast graders! This kind of thing zaps her (and me, by default, because I am the person she vents to)!!

AMEN.

I think colleges don't appreciate how much uncertainty in classes plays into student mental health, both anxiety and depression. It can start to snowball too. The concern over grades becomes worry over graduating on time. It's magnified if there is a scholarship at risk.

This contributes to poor sleep, skipping meals and workouts to put in more studying. They may feel like they have to stay in and study rather than spend time with friends. And they may think that all the students around them have it much easier. 

I really wish that it were clearer where a student is at a given point in time.

It doesn't help to be in a course where the grades yoyo a lot. Meaning that it's hard to predict how they will do on a given project.

I'm also a little annoyed at one school that seems to assume all students live in state and that engineering students will take certain classes at state community colleges over the summer and transfer them back.  That would be great if those courses were available at the CCs in our state and if ROTC training didn't make it very difficult to take summer courses. 

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)
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My dad is a professor, and he points out that the grading has to get done so you might as well do it right away.  When he has a test or assigns a paper, he *plans* his schedule so that the next two days are clear of any obligations or meetings, and sits downs and marks the lot of them within 48 hours.  He has used this approach for a decade and always gets very good evaluations from the students. 

The work has to get done, delaying it doesn't reduce the workload for the professor, and certainly doesn't help the students.  It makes no sense.

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7 minutes ago, lewelma said:

My dad is a professor, and he points out that the grading has to get done so you might as well do it right away.  When he has a test or assigns a paper, he *plans* his schedule so that the next two days are clear of any obligations or meetings, and sits downs and marks the lot of them within 48 hours.  He has used this approach for a decade and always gets very good evaluations from the students. 

The work has to get done, delaying it doesn't reduce the workload for the professor, and certainly doesn't help the students.  It makes no sense.

I think a lot of the problem is that a significant number of professors have second jobs - either in their field or just to make ends meet because they're adjuncts.  Grading then becomes "when I can get around to it before I'm required to turn in grades".

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I have had classes in grad school where there has been no feedback at all until the final grade posted.  And one P/F class where I knew I had passed but but never got feedback on an essay that was supposed to be graded until five months after the class was over.  Totally ridiculous, IMO.

My son has a high school teacher who gives only scantron tests.  All he has to do to grade them is send them through the machine.  It takes him at least a month, and sometimes two, to do it.

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1 hour ago, WendyAndMilo said:

I think a lot of the problem is that a significant number of professors have second jobs - either in their field or just to make ends meet because they're adjuncts.  Grading then becomes "when I can get around to it before I'm required to turn in grades".

 

Yes, I'm an adjunct with three jobs. I had a semester where I was really late because of outside issues, but I've been pretty much within the one-week window since. I can appreciate the frustration when your work isn't graded in a timely manner. My answer is to spend at least a little time every day grading, and that way I usually keep up.

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It just seems to me that you can *plan* for grading, knowing you have to do it and knowing it is so valuable to get immediate feedback.

My older ds's physics tests for a class of 100 are graded and posted within 4 hours of him finishing the exam.  Clearly, multiple TA's are grading to get them done so fast, but then it must be planned in advance that all of the TA's get in a room and get it done together right after the exam.  This is not just by chance -- the professor must *want* to give immediate feedback, so plans for it to happen.

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5 hours ago, lewelma said:

It just seems to me that you can *plan* for grading, knowing you have to do it and knowing it is so valuable to get immediate feedback.

My older ds's physics tests for a class of 100 are graded and posted within 4 hours of him finishing the exam.  Clearly, multiple TA's are grading to get them done so fast, but then it must be planned in advance that all of the TA's get in a room and get it done together right after the exam.  This is not just by chance -- the professor must *want* to give immediate feedback, so plans for it to happen.

 

It's true that the professor must *want* to give immediate feedback, but it's also true that the professor must be *able* to schedule multiple TAs to grade right after the exam. Certainly not all professors have that power, much less adjuncts. 

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Was the OP's prof an adjunct?  I guess I was assuming that he/she wasn't. 

My sister was an adjunct for 6 years before getting a permanent position. I know that the system is really bad for adjuncts. 

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On 5/6/2019 at 5:05 PM, lewelma said:

It just seems to me that you can *plan* for grading, knowing you have to do it and knowing it is so valuable to get immediate feedback.

My older ds's physics tests for a class of 100 are graded and posted within 4 hours of him finishing the exam.  Clearly, multiple TA's are grading to get them done so fast, but then it must be planned in advance that all of the TA's get in a room and get it done together right after the exam.  This is not just by chance -- the professor must *want* to give immediate feedback, so plans for it to happen.

In over 35 years of college teaching I have never been in a situation to have this happen, no matter how much I planned.  I have never had the luxury of having a group of TAs which I could schedule in such a way no matter how much I wanted to give immediate feedback.  There are a number of other impediments that can make such a fast turn around impossible.  If I have students who receive extended time for the exam, I may not even get the exam back from the testing center until the following day.  If I have university athletes who are traveling with the team the day of a test, they may not able to take the test until the following week.  

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On 5/7/2019 at 6:00 PM, Bootsie said:

In over 35 years of college teaching I have never been in a situation to have this happen, no matter how much I planned.  I have never had the luxury of having a group of TAs which I could schedule in such a way no matter how much I wanted to give immediate feedback.  There are a number of other impediments that can make such a fast turn around impossible.  If I have students who receive extended time for the exam, I may not even get the exam back from the testing center until the following day.  If I have university athletes who are traveling with the team the day of a test, they may not able to take the test until the following week.  

 

It's one thing to get a midterm or project grade back after 2 weeks.  It's something else to have submitted multiple major parts of the grade with little feedback. 

Grading is hard and time consuming.  Colleges should put timelines into contracts AND ALSO provide the support needed to get things graded.  

Colleges are selling an educational process and should support profs in providing it.  (I think they also should not use hiring adjuncts as a budget lowering mechanism. )

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5 hours ago, Bootsie said:

In over 35 years of college teaching I have never been in a situation to have this happen, no matter how much I planned.  I have never had the luxury of having a group of TAs which I could schedule in such a way no matter how much I wanted to give immediate feedback.  There are a number of other impediments that can make such a fast turn around impossible.  If I have students who receive extended time for the exam, I may not even get the exam back from the testing center until the following day.  If I have university athletes who are traveling with the team the day of a test, they may not able to take the test until the following week.  

Well, my ds has now taken 4 midterm tests in physics over the course of 2 semesters, and all 4 have been posted within 5 hours.  Not sure how it is done (i'm just guessing multiple TAs, but maybe one TA is just super fast), but clearly the professor wants it to happen or it would not happen.  These physics tests are handwritten long-form answers and each are given brief written feedback-- so to be clear it is not a multiple choice test.  Also, the syllabus says no make-up tests are given regardless of reason-- so if one is missed,  fewer assessments averaged into the final grade. Not sure about extra time or other assessment conditions, perhaps it happens same time in another location.

I just wonder why my ds's experience in physics and my dad's experience of personally marking thirty 15-page papers in 48 hours is just that unusual. It is clearly very good for the students.  Is the main purpose of tests/papers to assess students or to act as a learning tool?  If the second, prompt feedback is required.  

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And my ds also took a philosophy class last term where he did not get back one paper before the next one was due.  DS had no idea whether he was on the right track or not.  It was really discouraging.

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50 minutes ago, lewelma said:

Well, my ds has now taken 4 midterm tests in physics over the course of 2 semesters, and all 4 have been posted within 5 hours.  Not sure how it is done (i'm just guessing multiple TAs, but maybe one TA is just super fast), but clearly the professor wants it to happen or it would not happen.  These physics tests are handwritten long-form answers and each are given brief written feedback-- so to be clear it is not a multiple choice test.  Also, the syllabus says no make-up tests are given regardless of reason-- so if one is missed,  fewer assessments averaged into the final grade. Not sure about extra time or other assessment conditions, perhaps it happens same time in another location.

I just wonder why my ds's experience in physics and my dad's experience of personally marking thirty 15-page papers in 48 hours is just that unusual. It is clearly very good for the students.  Is the main purpose of tests/papers to assess students or to act as a learning tool?  If the second, prompt feedback is required.  

This is unusual IME. 2 weeks has been earliest we have received grades back.’except for final grades which have a deadline of I think 1 week after finals week. And everyone wants to skip town anyway so that’s done well within the deadline 😂

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I think part of it is that tests in quantitative subjects, or subjects where there is a clear "wrong", are intrinsically more easy and rapid to grade. I still remember one of my undergrad profs saying "Well, I was a double major in English and Math, and I was thinking about graduate school ... and I thought "Do I want to grade papers, or problem sets?" and after that the choice was clear." Personally, I usually get test grades posted the same day, unless I have multiple students who are taking a delayed test -- I grade each problem together for consistency and fairness. Quiz grades are usually posted within an hour or so. But I'm in math. 

That being said, I completely agree that not getting some kind of feedback on paper 1 before being required to submit paper 2 is utterly ridiculous. 

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3 hours ago, lewelma said:

Well, my ds has now taken 4 midterm tests in physics over the course of 2 semesters, and all 4 have been posted within 5 hours.  Not sure how it is done (i'm just guessing multiple TAs, but maybe one TA is just super fast), but clearly the professor wants it to happen or it would not happen.  These physics tests are handwritten long-form answers and each are given brief written feedback-- so to be clear it is not a multiple choice test.  Also, the syllabus says no make-up tests are given regardless of reason-- so if one is missed,  fewer assessments averaged into the final grade. Not sure about extra time or other assessment conditions, perhaps it happens same time in another location.

I just wonder why my ds's experience in physics and my dad's experience of personally marking thirty 15-page papers in 48 hours is just that unusual. It is clearly very good for the students.  Is the main purpose of tests/papers to assess students or to act as a learning tool?  If the second, prompt feedback is required.  

 

Doesn't seem unusual to me.  My experience and my two dc's experience (3 Us) is that science and math exams are returned within 24 hours.  Sounds like the Profs have a good grading scheme that the TAs understand, and enough graders to get the job done.   The CC in summer session did not return until next class period after weekend, but since these were adjuncts with no TAs, and they had two labs a week to grade also, I didn't think that was a bad deal..so Thursday exam, Monday return. 

Have not heard of missing a test being ignored unless there is also a 'drop the low test grade' policy stated.  I suspect a lot of people would skip the most difficult topic exam if that was always a policy.  When I was in school, some profs would give the better of the final grade or the entire semester grade....that was the heads up that the final exam was comprehensive and the cue that putting the effort in and learning what you missed the first time was worthwhile. My one kid really needed that to make up the gap in Freshman Chem, but that wasn't an option at his school. He buckled down and passed, and had to use the A in following courses to show he mastered Chem 1. 

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6 hours ago, HeighHo said:

Have not heard of missing a test being ignored unless there is also a 'drop the low test grade' policy stated.  I suspect a lot of people would skip the most difficult topic exam if that was always a policy.  When I was in school, some profs would give the better of the final grade or the entire semester grade....that was the heads up that the final exam was comprehensive and the cue that putting the effort in and learning what you missed the first time was worthwhile.

Interesting. I didn't read the syllabus that closely.  I know the final is comprehensive and required. So just becomes weighted more if you start skipping tests.  My guess is that you need a note from the Student Services group for missed tests to be counted as an excused absence and not recorded as a zero. 

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8 hours ago, kiana said:

I think part of it is that tests in quantitative subjects, or subjects where there is a clear "wrong", are intrinsically more easy and rapid to grade.

 Well, I'm going to tell my dad that he is super special.  He taught in Public Health and had students write three 15-page papers each term.  They were due on Monday and he returned them on Wednesday with feedback.  He did this for a decade.  He worked at UK, and I don't remember why, but I know the student evaluations were important to him/the school.  Good incentive to be efficient in grading, and plan to get papers back promptly.  

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AND it's even worse, when the entire semester grade is based on five things AND hte prof literally takes 3-4 weeks to grade each exam.  Then, you have no idea if you're doing well or should consider Withdrawing or Dropping!

AND he has a weird grading scale

and when you look at Canvas, it's very confusing and like doing some kind of magic to figure out your grade because the grade in Canvas isn't accurate because he does it so weird.

:( 

I realize many of these teachers and profs are underpaid, but honestly...it makes it very hard. My son has taken to going to office hours every week to make sure he's not falling behind, get ideas about how to do well on the test, and have his homework looked at.  

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One of my college kiddo's had no idea what this past semester's grade would be. Despite giving weekly assignments the professor never returned them. The professor then mismanaged the online  system and lost all of kiddo's work. Asked kiddo to please email all assignments. Kiddo emailed them. (Prof either lost or deleted said email.) Prof emails kiddo last week of class and says I'm flunking you, you never turned any assignments in. Kiddo says not only did I turn them in, I emailed them all to you as requested. Kiddo forwards said email with Prof's original response and all assignments. Profs response. "Ok." Prof then repeatedly down grades kiddo's assignments because the kid kept making the same mistake every week (subjective liberal arts course, not STEM or Foreign Language or even grammar issues where it would be more evident) but kiddo never knew because Prof said nothing in class and never returned an assignment during the semester, just graded everything at the end. (Kiddo came out of it with an ok grade, had there been the appropriate feedback on the first assignment, the repeated error would have been corrected and subsequent assignments would have had better grades, leading to a probably great grade. You can't fix what you don't know is broken and sometimes there is no way for a student to work out what is broken on their own.)

In my opinion it is awfully difficult to expect progressive improvement from a student when you never return an assignment, never go over the assignment in class, and generally provide no timely feedback. Students cannot read the professors mind, there has to be feedback/constructive criticism if there is to be growth and improvement.

 

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17 hours ago, kiana said:

I think part of it is that tests in quantitative subjects, or subjects where there is a clear "wrong", are intrinsically more easy and rapid to grade. I still remember one of my undergrad profs saying "Well, I was a double major in English and Math, and I was thinking about graduate school ... and I thought "Do I want to grade papers, or problem sets?" and after that the choice was clear." Personally, I usually get test grades posted the same day, unless I have multiple students who are taking a delayed test -- I grade each problem together for consistency and fairness. Quiz grades are usually posted within an hour or so. But I'm in math. 

That being said, I completely agree that not getting some kind of feedback on paper 1 before being required to submit paper 2 is utterly ridiculous. 

 

I wish! The problem class at this moment for my son is Physics, which is math! Why does it take three - four weeks to get each exam graded? 

The labs count for less than 5% of the total grade and there are NO quizzes and homework is not graded in any way, neither is attendance! 

So the five exams are basically the entire grade, and there is an exam about every 3-4 weeks! 

Literally every exam has been given back graded less than a week before the next exam! 

Other than being lost in class students really have no idea how they are doing, for almost a month, then they get their grade and then within two class periods the next exam is upon them, making it so that they can only fit in one office hours if they need help! 

It’s completely incompetent and unacceptable. 

 

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Oh and the English 1a Teacher did that at least twice- where the students had no feedback from one paper before the next was already due. 

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LOL. So proud of myself. Yesterday was the due date for projects and final exams, and they're all graded. I did the early ones last night, and the rest this morning. Grades are due Sunday.

Now the class that I'm taking that just finished. Sigh. He hasn't graded a single lab all semester, and weekly work hasn't been graded in several weeks. We turned in group projects last night, and his grades are also due Sunday because it's the same school. He's also an adjunct and seems to have a lot on his plate. Long weekend, I'm sure.

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On 5/8/2019 at 2:02 AM, lewelma said:

Well, my ds has now taken 4 midterm tests in physics over the course of 2 semesters, and all 4 have been posted within 5 hours.  Not sure how it is done (i'm just guessing multiple TAs, but maybe one TA is just super fast), but clearly the professor wants it to happen or it would not happen.  These physics tests are handwritten long-form answers and each are given brief written feedback-- so to be clear it is not a multiple choice test.  Also, the syllabus says no make-up tests are given regardless of reason-- so if one is missed,  fewer assessments averaged into the final grade. Not sure about extra time or other assessment conditions, perhaps it happens same time in another location.

I just wonder why my ds's experience in physics and my dad's experience of personally marking thirty 15-page papers in 48 hours is just that unusual. It is clearly very good for the students.  Is the main purpose of tests/papers to assess students or to act as a learning tool?  If the second, prompt feedback is required.  

This was not unusual in STEM classes at my son’s school. He was part of a program that professors, grad TAs, and undergrads could enter by choice to improve the teaching of intro STEM classes. They met weekly to discuss readings on pedagogy and share techniques and ideas. He said the profs definitely thought quick turnaround on exams was important, so that wrong ideas or concepts could be quickly dispelled. I don’t ever recall him complaining about not getting graded exams back in a timely manner. I also don’t think he ever personally had an adjunct professor. But his school did make excellent use of teaching professors for intro level courses, in addition to research professors.

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We have thought about talking to the dean about my son's physics class for the sake of future students.  As I said in an earlier post

1.  The entire grade is 95% based on only four exams.  No homework is graded and labs only count for 5%.

2.  The first 3 exams have been given back, literally, on the same day as the next exam. (3-4 weeks later)

3.  And the grading scale is very strange...making it so that the grade in canvas is inaccurate.

But to be honest, we've noted that the top level math classes at our local CC's seem to be filled with whomever they can get. Only once has he had a truly organized, competent, normal human being as a teacher. The last physics professor was an alcoholic who actually came to class drunk once, and talked about it.

So, it's probably pointless to bother reporting this teacher.  He's about 85 years old and he's very kind, and seems to be just trying to do something useful in his old age. 

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My son was desperately waiting earlier this semester for a test grade that would greatly impact his overall grade. While he was initially confident of his work, the more time passed, the more worried he was that he may have failed the test. Ds was reluctant to ask the prof, feeling he might be graded lower just for asking. On the very last day that ds could withdraw without penalty, he finally went to the prof to ask about his grade.

Prof: "If you'd withdraw over this grade, you have unusually high standards. You got a B, it's just not posted yet."

It was a relief but frustrating to wait two weeks for something so important at a critical time.

 

 

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