Monday, May 2, 2011

Grading and Koofers

I got an e-mail today from my old University of Minnesota mailbox.  It came from addressed from "Koofers Update" and in the subject line was "past grades are now available."

I thought someone had gotten into my transcripts or I had ordered some in the past and there was a new service that was going to help keep track of things.  I've been to a couple of colleges in my career.  I was curious.  Probably not a good thing when reading an e-mail that could be worse than spam.

I was at home, so I knew I wouldn't be wasting IT department time if I opened it.  So I took a chance and opened it.

Turned out it was spam.  This is a service that shows what kind of grades a professor gave in the past.  It claims to have gotten this info from the U.  It also showed how grades were earned in the professor's class and how much the book was used and the amount and difficulty of the homework was for the class.

Really?  The U has time to track all this stuff?  AND they would just pass it along to just anyone?

I may have a few budget suggestions for the U.  If there really is someone passing this stuff out, let's assign them a different job.  If you are somehow required to do this, do it very slowly.  This year's results could certainly wait until 2025 or so.

If you are a student thinking about using this service...  Why?  You are there to get a solid education.  A tough grading professor may be what you need.  Quit researching this stuff and study something more useful.  A little rigor never hurt anyone.  Suck it up cupcake.

If you are a faculty member...  Are you going to pander to this listing?  I don't think you are going to do anyone any favors by being easy.  Be a great communicator.  Have expectations and help kids get there.

If you are in discussions about evaluating student work and performance... Does a letter grade really tell you anything?  How about a transcript of a person that used this service repeatedly?  To my thinking, grades and transcripts are getting to be less valuable.  Maybe they never were valuable.  This system has too many places to game it.  Let's do something more like a portfolio.  With today's technology it really is possible to digitize almost anything.  What student performances would you save?

If you are Koofers... Take me off your mailing list.

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