Strict rounding policies leave students desperate

rounding cartoon

Artwork courtesy of Emily Rachilewski

 

By Lois Kim

During finals week many students have the same question, “Will my teacher round my grade? What grade do I have to get for my teacher to round it?”

Some students will even go as far as sending desperate emails or giving nice presents to their teacher, hoping that a kind gesture will increase their chances of getting the better grade.

However, last minute begging and boxes chocolate do not always work since teachers usually round the grade only if they have noticed that the student had been working extremely hard and was clearly trying harder in the class.

Similar to how one’s alliance and devotion (or lack of) to a political party reveals a lot about themselves, a teacher’s opinion on rounding does as well.

For instance, a teacher who firmly believes that increasing a grade by a hair of a point is atrocious might have a more traditional way of teaching and stick more to the books, notes, and lectures.

On the other hand, a teacher who thinks that rounding is beneficial may have a more relaxed style of teaching and be more lenient and closer to students.

Most teachers have a strict policy on rounding up grades. Some refuse to round grades at all and others will raise the grade if it is only 0.04 percent or less from the higher grade.

But, some teachers will actually add a few points here and there to increase the student’s grade.

However, rounding has a very significant and positive impact on students. Rounding up a student’s grade bumps his/her grade point average (GPA), helps the chances of getting on the Honor Roll, and even increases the likelihood of getting accepted into better colleges.

Also, just the possibility that a teacher will round his or her grade up encourages students to work harder and clearly aim for the better grade.

When students have an average grade in the class and believe that it can be raised to the higher grade with a combination of dedication and rounding, they work harder to achieve the greater grade.

On the other hand, when students know that the teacher will not round, some students will not try as hard because they believe there is no chance they will get the better grade without rounding.

“Last year, I had a pretty average grade in a class but I knew that if I tried harder the last part of the semester, I could get the A. So I worked really hard and I got really close, so my teacher saw that and rounded my grade. The following semester, since I got the A last time, I knew that if I worked hard I could get it again, and did, this time without the rounding,” junior Nima Ghavimi said.

Overall, teachers should round students’ grades because as Ghavimi said, “it encourages students to work hard in class and initiates a closer relationship with the teacher and the student.”

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