The Teaching Professor, February 2014 — “Getting Students to Talk about Those Diappointing Grades”
by Francesca Cocchi, Honors Interdisciplinary Scholar and VITAL Student Intern
What factors discourage students from initiating conversations with instructors when they receive lower grades than they feel they deserve?
A study by Wright (2013) reveals the top six reasons why students choose not to discuss their disappointing grades with their teachers. The most popular response related to the utility of the conversation, or the students’ perception that the conversation would not benefit them or improve the grade. In addition, students expressed that they did not initiate the conversation because they understood the reason for the grade, felt they could not approach the instructor, considered the grade not that important to them, were uncomfortable having a conversation about grades, or simply had other priorities, such as completing assignments for other courses.
How might this strategy inform our teaching? Students who choose not to talk with their instructors about disappointing grades close the door on opportunities to get additional feedback and avoid similar mistakes on subsequent assignments. Instructors miss out on the opportunity to learn how students understood a certain assignment and why they approached it the way they did. While students may have different reasons for not discussing disappointing grades, instructors can provide different venues of engaging students in such conversations throughout the course. According to Wright, “By giving greater attention to facilitating grade conversations instead of regulating grade disputes, instructors can enhance students’ understandings of the diverse benefits of discussing disappointing grades and their legitimate right to initiate them.” Your thoughts . . .
The February 2014 issue also features:
Lilly Conference Travel Fellowship for First Year Faculty - Information
Lilly Conference, Bethesda, MD, May 29 - June 1: "Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning"
Application Process: Full-time, first-year, pre-tenure, faculty members are encouraged to apply. Please refer to the Call for Applications (.doc) for details.
Application deadline: Friday, April 25, 5:00p.m.
Food for Thought Schedule, Spring 2014
Falvey Memorial Library, Room 204
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, April 15 or Wednesday, April 16
Unlock Your Own Creativity to Encourage Creativity in Your Students
Blended Learning in the Liberal Arts Conference
Bryn Mawr College
May 21-22, 2014
Teaching and Learning Strategies 2014
Wednesday, May 14