Sunday, December 21, 2014

the snag

Like my previous university, and like most universities in Korea, Dongguk University uses a variety of curves to which we teachers must adhere when grading our students. Curves are evil, nasty things, but they're in place because universities are overly concerned about grade inflation when teachers seemingly dole out too many "A"s. According to my enormous faculty handbook (which I've come to view as Dongguk's own Book of Mormon or tome of shari'a), all four of my courses are supposed to follow this curve:

Number of "A"s possible: up to 50%
Number of "A"s through "F"s possible: up to 100%

Translation: if I have a class of 20 kids, then up to 10 may receive "A"s. The class as a whole may receive any and all of the other grades, as long as the 50% rule isn't violated.

So I began the tedious process of entering grades while at the office yesterday, and immediately hit a snag. The faculty manual says one thing, but the computer is following a completely different curve:

Number of "A"s possible: up to 30%
Number of "A"s plus "B"s possible: up to 70%

I have classes with under 30% "A"s, but the vast number of "B"s pushes the A+B total beyond 70%. I've also got an advanced class in which 50% of the kids have "A"s, and this also violates the computer's rule. Finally, I've got one class in which the 30% rule is exceeded by a single student, i.e., I'd have to give one "A" student a "B+" in order to bring the stats in conformity with the computer's prescribed curve.

The whole thing is a fantastic pain in the ass. I've shot an email to my office and hope to have a reply on Monday. I can say this: if kids' grades need to be changed, I'm going to be very, very unhappy, and I'm going to refuse to change them. If the grades are changed, it won't be by my hand. If that earns me the enmity of our office, so be it.

It's also irritating to realize that I won't be able to finalize my affairs today. I had suspected that I'd need to come in on Monday, anyway, but not for this reason. Jiggering the curve to conform to the book's standards will likely take some time, as well as Korean-language computer savvy that I don't possess.

Just an all-around grrrrrr today.


1 comment:

  1. Ah, the sweet smell of bureaucracy. I'm sure you've noted the irony of being fucked by giving your grades early in a way you didn't anticipate.

    Here's hoping the powers that be do the right thing...



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