Teachers adjust to students grade obsession

Kaylan Smith and her History teacher Mr. Harris discuss her grades and attendance records on the parent/teacher portal during her fourth period class. Photo by Trevor Stiff.

Kaylan Smith and her History teacher Mr. Harris discuss her grades and attendance records on the parent/teacher portal during her fourth period class. Photo by Trevor Stiff.

By Sarah Police

Staff Writer

Kaylan Smith and her History teacher Mr. Harris discuss grades and attendance records on the parent/teacher portal during her fourth period class. Photo by Trevor Stiff.

A couple of years ago, one of English teacher Zach Sherman’s students confronted him about their grade. They were disappointed when they received a grade not to their liking.

The grade was for a group assignment, and this student had let down the other members by not doing his part.

“The whole group suffered so they got really mad at this student and this student came to me and complained about the grade,” Sherman said. “I ended up not changing the grade, but it was a big standoff.”

Grades have always been important to students and sometimes teachers and students have different opinions about what goes into the grade book.

Teachers like Sherman don’t have a problem with students asking why they got a certain grade, but they feel it is over the line when students ask them to change grades. Teachers think students need to be less focused on what their grade is and more focused on the material they are learning.

“[Students asking for new grades] in general is annoying. Ideally a teacher wants a kid to want to learn,” Sherman said. “I’m not giving it to you to spit back out a 92. I’m giving it to you because I want you to take something away from it.”

Sherman’s situation is not one of a kind. Teachers face upset students everyday in their classrooms. Teachers feel that students are generally given the grade they deserve.

“I do agree that we earn our grades; that teachers don’t give us them,” senior Haley Beck said.

Most students believe that they aren’t arguing with the teacher; they only want to find out what they’ve done wrong.

“It’s OK to ask why you got a grade with the intent of figuring out where you went wrong,” Beck said.

Many others students at Coppell feel the same way.

“Sometimes grade grubbing bothers me, but other times it’s necessary,” sophomore Michelle Mayes said.  “I think it really depend on the situation. If you really deserve a grade and you don’t understand why you got something wrong I think it’s worth going up and asking, but you know if you really did miss a problem, come on, you missed a problem.”

Tamera Westervelt, a teacher at Coppell for 19 years, believes there is a difference between grade grubbing and wanting to know what you did wrong.

“I have had students question grades and I don’t have problem if a student wants clarification, but It’s very frustrating when kids go between a 96 and a 97,” Westervelt said. “Usually kids that are grade grubbers don’t care why they got the grade, they just want the grade.”

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