Tag Archives: grades

All Campus Email: Changes in Course Re-Take and Incomplete Policies

As #FinalsSzn rapidly approaches/has already begun for many of us, Wesleyan has implemented some new policies which may impact how you address academic challenges this semester and in the future.

This afternoon, Dean for Academic Advancement Louise Brown in Student Affairs sent out an email detailing some changes to academic policies. If you haven’t been keeping a close eye on WSA agendas and committee reports (which are emailed out to the student body prior to weekly Sunday night meetings), you may have been caught off-guard by these seemingly sudden changes to policies that many students don’t even know exist. I do read all the WSA emails (bc I’m a big dork and like to look for fun things to report about), so I was vaguely aware of the new re-take policy, but I had no idea that the incomplete policy was changing.

Here’s a breakdown of what changed, what didn’t, and what it means for students and professors:

Public Dean’s List Is Public: Discuss?

Last week, controversy spilled onto the ACB regarding the publicizing of each class’s Dean’s List (read: GPA of at least 93.35 with at least 3.00 graded credits) on its respective class blog. For some, the decision to make public this information—a first—constitutes a violation of academic privacy, or an affront to Wesleyan’s proclaimed emphasis on learning over grades, or just generally “a high school thing to do.” A few anonymous ACB-ers weigh in:

  • “i can’t actually believe that the names were posted online. yes, my name is on the list for my class, but i don’t like the sense of competition and knowing who has what GPA that it gives.”
  • “Releasing the list of names feels like a high school thing to do. One of the nice parts of Wesleyan is the laid back atmosphere. Turning it into an open competition is a stupid idea. Everyone should just ignore it.”
  • “I’m on another year’s list…wish this wasn’t online. So pointless.”
  • “i don’t like it. makes me feel uncomfortable to have other people know my gpa, even though it is pretty good. so glad no one posted my year’s list on the acb. this is such competition-encouraging, ego-boosting bullshit.”

Word. Yesterday’s Argus brings more thoughts on the public Dean’s List: a Wespeak (and petition) from Rachel Pincus ’13, who calls the decision “inimical to Wesleyan’s values of collaboration, community, and learning for learning’s sake”:

NY Times on Grade Inflation, at UNC and Beyond

We dutifully filled out our teaching evaluations on time, and now we pay the price: a Christmas week spent endlessly refreshing our Academic History page [no, frosh—your report cards won’t be mailed home this year], frustratingly waiting for that one last professor to post our grades. It’s an end-of-semesterly tradition. This year, as you hit refresh on the ePortfolio, it might be worthwhile to consider the implications of that A—how rampant grade inflation factors into Wesleyan, into graduate school admissions, and into academia at large.

In 2004 Michael Bérubé, professor of literature at Penn State, famously memorably suggested one solution to grade inflation: colleges merely devise a system, complex but effective, by which “to account for each course’s degree of difficulty.” Here’s how:

Every professor, and every department, produces an average grade — an average for the professor over her career and an average for the discipline over the decades. And if colleges really wanted to clamp down on grade inflation, they could whisk it away statistically, simply by factoring those averages into each student’s G.P.A. Imagine that G.P.A.’s were calculated on a scale of 10 with the average grade, be it a B-minus or an A-minus, counted as a 5. The B-plus in chemical engineering, where the average grade is, say, C-plus, would be rewarded accordingly and assigned a value of 8; the B-plus in psychology, where the average grade might be just over B-plus, would be graded like an easy dive, adequately executed, and given a 4.7.

But this, Bérubé concedes, would be “confusing as hell.” And that same year, Princeton adopted a simpler but perhaps more controversial policy reducing A’s to no more than 35 percent of undergraduate grades. But elsewhere, at countless other top colleges—and yes, Wesleyan—inflation remained a problem.

More on Grades

Our friend Heather Alderfer ’02 at the registrar’s office sends along this helpful note about grading codes:

IN – incomplete

X – deferred grade, usually for a senior thesis

AB – absent from final

Numerical equivalents here.

Re: Getting Grades

Confused about the logistics of getting grades? Heather Alderfer from the Registrar’s office has the nitty gritty:

Just thought you might want to know I put the credit analysis report back in the student portfolio, but it still won’t be updated until just before classes start. The 48 hour delay is a vestige from when our office manually entered grades, and the 48 hours gave us and the professor time to catch any errors. We are, thanks to student feedback, revaluating this policy, and it will possibly change next semester. Faculty don’t always submit the grades in a timely manner, often not until after the new year.

Nicest (or at least most accessible) registrar ever?

How to get your grades early

Eventually your grades will pop up under Academic History in your e-portfolio. Key word: Eventually. In the past, there was a Credit Analysis Report link where you could get your scores a few days earlier, but apparently it was taken down. Fear not! Some kind soul on the ACB provided the following link to your Credit Analysis Report; Just log into e-portfolio and click!