Op-Ed: Late Grades and Grade Changes; Students Up In Arms

By Nina Pelc-Faszcza

Regular stress and anxiety surrounding fall grade releases was met with even more hostility at the beginning of this semester, when rumors began to circulate that students were receiving incorrect grades and the registrar was not being prompt with posting grades in general.

We all understand that grades are extremely important. Students have to apply for summer jobs, after-graduation jobs, and time-sensitive, prestigious clerkships; we want to show our parents and friends; and, maybe most importantly, getting grades provides us with a sense of closure, a feeling that we can finally put the past behind us. However, in the process of grade-posting madness, life and human error is bound to happen.

Grade posting at UConn Law is a multi-step process involving both professors and the registrar. A simplified version of the process is as follows: law professors will hand-write the grade of each student next to his or her name on a class roster, the registrar will input those grades manually into the system, and then the registrar will post them after double checking that the right grades have been assigned to each student. (Another fun fact: the registrar does check to make sure classes on the B median are graded appropriately).

As one can imagine in a system of hand-written grades and manual input, the occasional error is bound to happen. It sometimes does happen that grades are interchanged in the input process, or that, in an effort to post grades sooner and stifle the widespread anxiety (such as over a weekend when a professor decides to submit his or her grades at 4:59pm on a Friday), grades are posted without being double-checked. For the few students who are affected, you are rightfully annoyed; these mistakes should not happen.

But in the grand scheme of things, we are all humans capable of making mistakes. Have you ever sent an email that you read maybe twenty-five times to avoid looking incompetent, only to notice right after you hit send that you misspelled the person’s name or missed a “the” in the middle of a sentence? (Or even worse: hitting “reply all” by accident!) Have you ever re-read your writing sample after submitting it, noticed a glaring typo, and wondered how you (and the six people you had proof-read it) could have ever missed it? Yes, that is called human error, and it happens to the best of us. In the end, we will all receive our grades (usually the ones we deserve) in due time, and all is well.

As for the matter of some grades being posted well past the January 24th deadline (which seemed a bit late to begin with), this is attributable to our professors and the (usually) unforeseen and understandable circumstances that they face. The registrar will almost always post grades within twenty-four business hours of receiving them, and will nudge any professor who disrespects the deadline. Professors are people too; we expect them to abide by deadlines as we must abide by theirs, but a teensy bit of slack should be given. Grading, especially for large doctrinal classes, is not as quick and easy as one may think.

And for those of you with multiple-choice scantron exams who did not receive your grades until the very last minute and thought, “This is ridiculous! How lazy can my professor possibly be?!”: you can sleep more soundly at night when I tell you that nine times out of ten this is done on purpose. Professors oftentimes submit such grades early but make the strategic decision to delay the reveal so that you are not left staring at and obsessing about that one grade in isolation for three weeks until the rest of them come out. But for those professors who are just inexplicably late, well that’s just rude.