| 03.18.2018

A grade inconvience – Faculty Senate gives input on ASUI grading resolution

Grades can impact students” lives years after they graduate college.

“This is something that”s near and dear to students” hearts,” said ASUI Representative Lindsey LaPrath, speaking at Tuesday”s Faculty Senate meeting. “Grades affect us in a big way, even after we leave.”

At the final Faculty Senate meeting of the fall semester, LaPrath presented a resolution that calls on professors to post grades on Blackboard.

The resolution came about from an ASUI poll, which showed that 94 percent of students want more of their instructors to post grades on Blackboard, LaPrath said.

Despite student support, the resolution was met with criticism from Faculty Senate on a variety of different aspects of the presentation.

Clinton Jeffrey from the College of Engineering made comments about some typos he found in the document.

Annette Folwell from the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences voiced concerns about the time commitment that posting grades would require of her and other instructors. She said Blackboard creates pages for every type of class an instructor is directing, including internships and research projects.

“So when you look at the courses that I”m responsible for, there”s a whole host of those,” Folwell said. “So when you put forth something like this you”re saying that for every single class, whether it”s pass/fail like an internship – for some of our disciplines, not all of our disciplines – that”s a concern for me.”

Stephan Flores from the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences agreed with Folwell, and said students can still find out about their grades by emailing their instructor. He said the resolution may limit the opportunities for students to discuss how they are doing with their professors.

Alan Caplan from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences expressed his concerns over the legal matters of the resolution.

He wasn”t sure how Blackboard works, but he said he was worried that the university could be sued if a student receives a different final grade than what they saw on Blackboard if a professor curves grades or has other grading practices.

Anthony St. Claire, a graduate student representative on Faculty Senate, said the resolution is not exactly what students want, despite what the ASUI poll reported. He said students want their grades posted in a timely manner and they want a way to keep track of their attendance in classes. Neither of those things must be recorded through Blackboard.

Jodi Nicotra from the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences was one of the few members of Faculty Senate who said the resolution was not a bad idea. She said Blackboard was a secure service that doesn”t make it difficult to post grades and doesn”t shut down her conversations with students because she uses it. Nicotra also said Blackboard is not that hard to operate.

“If they have bad grades, students come in and complain just the same as they would if they came and asked about what their grade was,” Nicotra said.

The next meeting of Faculty Senate will be during the second week of the spring semester.

Erin Bamer  can be reached at  arg-news@uidaho.edu  or on Twitter @ErinBamer

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