It’s the end of term and I’m responsible for fairly assessing my students’ perfomance. I’m a numbers person, so I let the grades speak for themselves. I don’t grade on a curve or flower it up. Students earn what they earn.
When I have students that have goofed off or waited until the last minute, and they end up with a failing grade, it’s not hard for me to submit that grade. But when I have a student that has honestly put forth 100% effort all semester and they earn a failing grade, it breaks my heart. I have a couple of students this semester that have worked so hard. They have been to the tutors, stayed after class, studied, and still they struggled to understand the material.
There’s this little voice in my head that whispers, “They are so close. Just 5 points. Push them through, it won’t matter. No one will know.” Then there’s the voice of fairness that says, “Be consistent. Be fair. Grade all students in the same way.” This battle has been going on in my head all day. As an instructor, I have the right to make judgments and assign grades based on my assessment of the students. I make the final decision as to whether a student repeats this class or moves on. In the end, I chose fairness. If a student didn’t make it based on their perfomance, they will have to repeat the course. But this decision was hard to make.
Doing what’s right isn’t always easy. Sometimes we know what’s right, but the other side of the coin doesn’t look so wrong either. It may take some wrestling to come to the right conclusion, but what’s important is that we ultimately make the right choice. Giving these students a passing grade would be the easy thing to do. But am I really doing them a favor? If they struggled to understand the material this term, what happens when they move to the next class? I would only be setting them up for failure.
Being fair isn’t always easy. Doing what’s right isn’t always easy. But in the end, it’s definitely worth it. No matter what the world throws at us this week, let’s make right choices that honor God in all areas of our lives.