Today I had the most mind boggling email sent to me regarding an announcement I sent out via Scholar to my classes. I had mentioned to my students that if they went out of their way to submit an assignment as a hard copy, that I would give them two bonus points on the assignment, no big deal right? Apparently, it was a very big deal and I’ve had to retract my statement to my students.
I was told that the issue was that students in other classes would not have the opportunity to earn the points and that it could boost my students grades by as much as 0.2 on the final grade. This could potentially boost someone up a letter grade, but I don’t see the problem in that, but it was deemed unfair. I was told that other students would complain about not being able to earn these points.
However, the policy for these assignments are that the GTAs can require a hard copy, in which case points can be deducted (we’ll assume 2 for now) if a hard copy isn’t turned in which can lower their grades by as much as 0.2. I was told that that was okay though, because students were aware of it ahead of time. My issue is that, like the bonus points, not all classes will have the opportunity to loose the points, just based on the GTA’s chose.
I am unable to wrap my head around this concept. My idea is an “unfair” opportunity to gain points but the policy is a “fair” opportunity to loose points, both are based on GTA choice. While giving points may cause students to complain about not being able to earn them, students may very well complain about loosing points for not having the chance to not loose them. It seems like the same situation either way, just that it is okay to lower a students grade rather than bump it up. Why does it seem that we want our students to do badly?