Failing by one point is still failing

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I am an adjunct professor at a local university. It is a pretty nice job and pays pretty well. For the most part I don't have issues but every once in awhile there is a student that feels entitled to things they do not deserve. Yesterday after the final I got a email from a girl in the class because she didn't pass and she was not happy.

The department sets up the grading scale and the rules on grading. There is no curving the grade and there is no rounding. In this particular class you need a 231 to pass. She got 230 points which is a 69.7% which means she did not pass.

The email wasn't too bad at first and really she just wanted to"meet up" via zoom and talk about her grade. I didn't really want to but they frown on you not meeting with students. I decided to have the TA come be on the call also, just in case because usually students not passing turns into a shit show.

My student was absolutely fine. She was in tears and asked if there was anything at all she could do. I told her sorry but no. There was one extra credit project during the semester worth 3 points. She didn't complete it. She asked if she could do it now and I told her no. She left the call upset and I thought that would be the end of it.

Not even 20 mins later she is calling back multiple times. I answered the call and her mom was there with her. Mom was visibly pissed. She tried to act all sweet at first but when I made her daughter sign a paper and email it in saying I could talk to her about grades (something I am legally required to do) she got irritated saying that she was her mother and no papers should have to be signed. After that was done I explained the whole thing to mom again. Mom just kept saying stuff like "That is bullshit" and "don't believe that for a second"

I told her she was free to contact the department head if she felt like the information I was giving her was not accurate. Then she started questioning my teaching ability and asking if I knew anything about teaching. That a good teacher would know that failing someone out for one point is stupid and that it reflects badly on teachers everywhere and blah blah blah. At one point she asked what degrees I even have and what crappy school I went to. I shouldn't have responded but at that point I was irritated with the whole thing. I told her that I got all three of my degrees from the school I am working for. She seemed confused because they don't even have a teaching degree and was asking how that is possible. I explained to her that you do not need a degree in teaching to be a professor at a university, just experience a degree and experience in that field. The look on her face was priceless. I thought she was going to yell at me again but instead she told her daughter to hang up and they would find a better school.

That wasnt how I was expecting that was how everything would go but at least I got a good laugh out of it. I do feel bad for the students with the crazy overbearing parents.
Pjmm
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That failing by one point still sucks though. I've never called a professor about it but I've whined before...
Shaken1976
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Someone once told me...you don't fail by one point. I have always lived by that. Students should be striving for max points and when they fail to achieve max points on an assignment, they should readjust and strive to do better. By striving for the minimum, you often fail. By striving for perfection, you should always still pass.
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Pjmm wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:27 am
That failing by one point still sucks though. I've never called a professor about it but I've whined before...
There was a girl in one of my classes who made a 69.whatever. She pitched a FIT. It was epic. I had no sympathy for her though. She had major attendance issues and the attendance policy was very clearly outline. In addition, after two absences, this professor made you sign a paper saying that you knew any further absences would result in points off your grade. She also did not attend any of the test prep sessions and I know she failed the first test miserably. She didn't take part in any of the extra credit work which was worth up to five points. Finally, she didn't turn in her final project on time which was a 10 point deduction on that grade. How she managed the 69.whatever, I will never know. The worst part about all of this....she was an education major.
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Failing by one point sucks, but they can’t make an exception. Otherwise, you’ll have a whole train of people saying that they were only 1 point behind that person, and so on. I find it ridiculous that the mother got involved, considering the kid is in university. She needs to handle it herself. I also would not tolerate the repeated calls. It is fine to bring it up once, but not to continue pushing for it when the policy has been made clear.
Anonymous 2

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I have no problem with a student being failed because she fell short by one point.
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Depends on how much involvement was had with this student through the year. My husband adjunt teaches at a community college. He understands that his students come from all different places in life and he genuinely wants them to succeed. Yes, they have to put in the work and show that they know it, but he feels it's part of his job to help them grow and get there.

He monitors his students grades throughout the semester and reaches out if they are having trouble. If they are in that marginal area where a couple points could get them to the next GPA level, he makes sure to reach out and tell them all of their options to improve their grade. No matter their grade, he gives a lot of feedback and has regular virtual office sessions.

I don't know how you teach and how involved you are with your students. I will say that the "I didn't really want to but they frown on you not meeting with students" comment didn't give me the sense that you are super involved. You do not have to be super involved, it is not required, not everyone has to teach the same way. But, adjunct professors conventionally don't get paid well. Many universities hire adjuncts because it's so much cheaper. My husband has a separate full time job, he adjuncts because he enjoys it and it gives us a little extra fun money, not because it's a job that pays bank. So, if your university does pay adjuncts well, it must be some great university and it can't be cheap to go there. So, I can understand a student feeling frustrated if they are failing by one point after not getting a lot of involvement from their professor and only one opportunity to make three points one time during the semester. Her mother's actions were not okay, but I can understand the students point of view based on the sense your post gave me.
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Olioxenfree wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:46 pm
Depends on how much involvement was had with this student through the year. My husband adjunt teaches at a community college. He understands that his students come from all different places in life and he genuinely wants them to succeed. Yes, they have to put in the work and show that they know it, but he feels it's part of his job to help them grow and get there.

He monitors his students grades throughout the semester and reaches out if they are having trouble. If they are in that marginal area where a couple points could get them to the next GPA level, he makes sure to reach out and tell them all of their options to improve their grade. No matter their grade, he gives a lot of feedback and has regular virtual office sessions.

I don't know how you teach and how involved you are with your students. I will say that the "I didn't really want to but they frown on you not meeting with students" comment didn't give me the sense that you are super involved. You do not have to be super involved, it is not required, not everyone has to teach the same way. But, adjunct professors conventionally don't get paid well. Many universities hire adjuncts because it's so much cheaper. My husband has a separate full time job, he adjuncts because he enjoys it and it gives us a little extra fun money, not because it's a job that pays bank. So, if your university does pay adjuncts well, it must be some great university and it can't be cheap to go there. So, I can understand a student feeling frustrated if they are failing by one point after not getting a lot of involvement from their professor and only one opportunity to make three points one time during the semester. Her mother's actions were not okay, but I can understand the students point of view based on the sense your post gave me.
*sigh * Always with you. You're assuming she's not involved because your husband isn't. Doesn't matter anyway. The "wanna be adult but isn't because she involved her mommy" had the entire semester to do well. She didn't. It does not come down to 3 ec points. It comes down to a failure on the student's part by not doing what was outlined from the beginning. Sad sack excuses are just that, excuses. Suck it up buttercup and do better next time.
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The student didn't fail by 1 point. The student failed by 30.3%. If anyone is thinking the teach should have let it slide. Imagine your doctor not knowing 30% of what they were taught. Scary imo.
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Well, I suppose she learned a valuable lesson, huh? Do the work assigned when it is assigned ( the extra credit work) and do it well so that IF you fail an exam/test that extra credit can help bump up your final grade and *maybe* you can pass the class.
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