Students consider requiring the posting of midterm grades by professors

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The University of Kansas Student Senate recently approved a resolution urging the University Senate to consider a proposal that would require professors to post students’ grades at the midterm of each semester.

“The point of the proposal is not to affect how professors teach, but rather just to inform students about their progress,” said Mason Heilman, student executive committee chair at KU.

K-State Student Senate chair Amy Schultz said there is currently no requirement for professors to post grades for all K-State students midway through the semester, but said she thinks a requirement would be a great thing for K-State to consider.

“I am willing to consider looking at the topic and seeing if there is possibility to implement this at K-State,” Schultz said. “I see only positive things about students being more aware of status in a class.”

Heilman said if the proposal passes, students would be more aware of their academic progress, which would be a benefit.

“The Senate passed the midterm-grades resolution because in many classes, students have no way of knowing what their grade is until it is too late to take action to bring up a lower-than-expected grade,” he said. “It would provide motivation to some students to put in the extra effort it would take to bring a C to a B, if they know that they are on the cusp of a B.”

Aaron Kadavy, sophomore in agriculture communications and journalism, said a requirement like this would be good for K-State.

“Having classes that have different methods of recording grades simply complicates matters beyond what we should expect,” Kadavy said.

Nick Reams, senior in animal sciences and industry, said he also thinks a requirement like this at K-State would be beneficial.

“I’ve also had plenty of teachers that don’t use K-State Online,” Reams said. “Having a point where students would at least be able to see a grade would be helpful, even if it’s only tentative.”

At KU, professors and students use Blackboard, an online interactive Web site similar to K-State Online. Heliman said students’ reactions to the resolution at KU have been largely positive, but faculty reaction has been mixed from what he has seen.

“Some teachers do not use Blackboard, so you’re not always able to see all your grades at once, so I think it’s nice to know where you stand halfway through the semester,” said Ashleigh Garcia, senior in speech-language-hearing at KU.

Levi Brehm, KU junior in English for speakers of other languages, said a benefit is that students will know where they are in the class, which reduces stress. But there is also a drawback that if students find they are ahead in a class, it might decrease motivation.

“If I know I’m ahead of the curve in a class, I’m coasting to the end and putting in less work,” Brehm said.

Steve Smethers, associate professor of journalism and mass communications, said he does not think professors should be required to post grades because students usually know when they are doing poorly in a class. But he said students are welcome to get their grades from the professor if they need to know.

“If a student wants to know how they are doing in a class, I will not turn them away,” Smethers said.

Even though there is currently no requirement on posting grades, Fred Fairchild, president of the Faculty Senate, said he is a strong proponent for using K-State Online, where students can access their grades at any time. He said a post-grade requirement is not necessary.

“It is important that students know how they are doing in a class at any time,” Fairchild said. “I think using K-State Online can aid students in figuring out where they are.”

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