Maybe the profs are catching on

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Lucidity
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Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby Lucidity » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:26 pm

I've been told over and over on tls that class participation does not mater, and that one should focus the majority of one's time and preparation towards the final exams. Yet the syllabuses from my torts, civ pro, and contracts classes would suggest otherwise. They all state that the professor reserves the right to modify your exam grade up or down, based on the quality of in class participation. One even goes so far as to say that exemplary in class participation can boost your final exam grade by a whole letter grade. My school grades on a C+ curve. Has anyone else experienced anything similar?

270910
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby 270910 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:53 pm

Lucidity wrote:I've been told over and over on tls that class participation does not mater, and that one should focus the majority of one's time and preparation towards the final exams. Yet the syllabuses from my torts, civ pro, and contracts classes would suggest otherwise. They all state that the professor reserves the right to modify your exam grade up or down, based on the quality of in class participation. One even goes so far as to say that exemplary in class participation can boost your final exam grade by a whole letter grade. My school grades on a C+ curve. Has anyone else experienced anything similar?


Everyone else has experienced something similar. Nothing new. They do this, and they mean it in the abstract, but it still basically never happens that grades are adjusted for it. If they said "by the way, class participation doesn't mean anything at all" can you imagine the potential ramifications of students just blowing shit off? Fear will keep them in line.

/2L who has 90%+ of 1L professors make this statement and 0% actually modify any grades that I heard about or experienced.

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Blindmelon
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby Blindmelon » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:58 pm

I know of 2 students at BU who have had their grades bumped. They participated like crazy though, and were always completely on point. Its not that the grade bump never happens, its just extremely, extremely rare and probably not worth the effort.

rynabrius
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby rynabrius » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:16 pm

In short, you're far more likely to annoy everyone and make an ass of yourself than you are to actually get a grade bump.

I speak from experience.

Lucidity
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby Lucidity » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:54 pm

My concern isn't so much about wanting to bump my grade. The work required to be "exemplary" during class discussions and the ambiguity of a grade bump at the professor's whim makes the effort hardly worth it. But what I AM worried about is getting knocked down a letter grade because I sound like a blubbering fool when the prof calls on me. The confrontation I can deal with, but if it hurts my grades, then that is obviously a problem. Does anyone know of any instance in which someone's grades suffered because of their lackluster in class participation?

rynabrius
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby rynabrius » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:59 pm

The professors' concern is most likely ensuring that people actually attend class. They will not penalize you for sounding dumb in class after you show up.

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ChattTNdt
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby ChattTNdt » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:52 pm

I was told the same thing at my school's orientation, by multiple faculty. They said professors reserve the right to adjust up and down by 0.3

However, on the first day of classes, all the professors addressed this during class and said that they very rarely use it. Also, most said that they generally only adjust up. An adjustment down for class participation would involve repeated instances of not knowing jack shit when called on, with nothing positive to offset it.

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A'nold
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby A'nold » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:43 pm

You could essentially "sound like a blubbering idiot" every time you are called on for an entire semester and never get a grade drop.

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98234872348
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby 98234872348 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:44 pm

disco_barred wrote:
Lucidity wrote:I've been told over and over on tls that class participation does not mater, and that one should focus the majority of one's time and preparation towards the final exams. Yet the syllabuses from my torts, civ pro, and contracts classes would suggest otherwise. They all state that the professor reserves the right to modify your exam grade up or down, based on the quality of in class participation. One even goes so far as to say that exemplary in class participation can boost your final exam grade by a whole letter grade. My school grades on a C+ curve. Has anyone else experienced anything similar?


Everyone else has experienced something similar. Nothing new. They do this, and they mean it in the abstract, but it still basically never happens that grades are adjusted for it. If they said "by the way, class participation doesn't mean anything at all" can you imagine the potential ramifications of students just blowing shit off? Fear will keep them in line.

/2L who has 90%+ of 1L professors make this statement and 0% actually modify any grades that I heard about or experienced.

+1

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skoobily doobily
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby skoobily doobily » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:58 pm

I'd imagine he teacher holds that right so if a kid either isn't in class or hasn't done the reading every single time she calls on him during the semester then s/he could lower his grade.

One of my classes though, the teacher has in the syllabus that participation is worth 15% of your grade with the final being worth 85%. Not sure how to interpret that.

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Mroberts3
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby Mroberts3 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:16 pm

Related question on participation here. (Sorry if this is a hijack, but it seems the original question was pretty well answered).

How do you manage a class with lots of busywork built in? Our civ pro class seems to have a lot of handouts to complete as we do the HW reading. So far it doesn't seem like we turn them in, but the prof makes a point of going through the handout questions during class. It seems like one thing to not have briefed a case in anal retentive detail, but it seems like you could run into problems blowing off assigned work. (or not?)

By contrast my contracts class is straight casebook reading. This is much easier -- I read, mini brief, and then look to supplements/hypos. For Civ Pro I feel like I actually have to do these problems. They are actually useful to think about while reading, but taking the time to type out answers feels like a time drain.

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JazzOne
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby JazzOne » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:17 pm

Mroberts3 wrote:Related question on participation here. (Sorry if this is a hijack, but it seems the original question was pretty well answered).

How do you manage a class with lots of busywork built in? Our civ pro class seems to have a lot of handouts to complete as we do the HW reading. So far it doesn't seem like we turn them in, but the prof makes a point of going through the handout questions during class. It seems like one thing to not have briefed a case in anal retentive detail, but it seems like you could run into problems blowing off assigned work. (or not?)

By contrast my contracts class is straight casebook reading. This is much easier -- I read, mini brief, and then look to supplements/hypos. For Civ Pro I feel like I actually have to do these problems. They are actually useful to think about while reading, but taking the time to type out answers feels like a time drain.

Brah, this is law. Get used to time drains.

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chup
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby chup » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:40 pm

skoobily doobily wrote:I'd imagine he teacher holds that right so if a kid either isn't in class or hasn't done the reading every single time she calls on him during the semester then s/he could lower his grade.

One of my classes though, the teacher has in the syllabus that participation is worth 15% of your grade with the final being worth 85%. Not sure how to interpret that.

It means they're 15% full of shit.

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kings84_wr
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby kings84_wr » Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:10 am

In my immigration law class the prof has a seating chart, if you are prepared to be called on/want to be called on that day you circle your name on the chart. If you circle your name 2/3 of the classes you get a .3 boost, if you circle less then 1/3 you get a .3 drop.

Sort of an interesting change. I have a feeling nearly all the class will circle the 2/3 and it just really won't matter in the end.

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20160810
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby 20160810 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:49 am

I've been the beneficiary of a participation bump before (did really well on an ungraded midterm and did fine on call, had an A- on a final turn into an A on my transcript). This does happen.

However, I suspect this isn't typical and it mainly just means that you shouldn't skip class of blow off reading, which you already knew. After all, what are profs supposed to say: "Participation doesn't mean anything, go ahead and hit up Facebook?"

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stonepeep
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby stonepeep » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:26 pm

Agree with the above replies. One of my 1L profs grade-bumped some people for participation (and noted this in the memo he distributed to the class along with his model answers), but he was the only one. All of the rest used the threat of grade decreases/hope of grade increases to scare people into preparing and participating, but class participation had zero actual effect on grades.

At my school, the professors MUST inform students that they reserve the right to adjust grades based on participation if they wish to do so, which means that most professors include a mention of the policy in their syllabus simply so that they do not waive their right in the very rare case they actually want to exercise it.

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IzziesGal
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby IzziesGal » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:45 pm

rynabrius wrote:In short, you're far more likely to annoy everyone and make an ass of yourself than you are to actually get a grade bump.

I speak from experience.


Ha! Ditto. My torts prof had a mandatory participation thing, where every time you spoke he put a little mark next to your name. If you had at least two marks, he'd look at your participation pts and bump you up on the exam. Or so he said. I was one point - ONE POINT - away from the next grade, with several of those little participation marks, and I got nothing. Absolutely nothing (except for an email telling me how his hands were tied b/c of the strict 1L curve). I will never participate again. :wink:

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zeth006
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby zeth006 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:47 am

IzziesGal wrote:
rynabrius wrote:In short, you're far more likely to annoy everyone and make an ass of yourself than you are to actually get a grade bump.

I speak from experience.


Ha! Ditto. My torts prof had a mandatory participation thing, where every time you spoke he put a little mark next to your name. If you had at least two marks, he'd look at your participation pts and bump you up on the exam. Or so he said. I was one point - ONE POINT - away from the next grade, with several of those little participation marks, and I got nothing. Absolutely nothing (except for an email telling me how his hands were tied b/c of the strict 1L curve). I will never participate again. :wink:


Dude, I would've totally begged and harrassed him with e-mails.


Slightly unrelated, but sis at grad school was also at 89%. She dropped a bunch of e-mails on the prof that were some variation of "Pleaseeeee. I worked so hard!" Prof in two consecutive e-mails said "No, I must upholdthe grading standard." A day later, the prof sends out a mass e-mail stating he was raising everyone's grade percentage. Dunno whether my sister's begging did it. :P

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chris0805
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby chris0805 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:59 am

I know of two times I was grade bumped in my three years of law school and a couple times where I suspected (but you never know). It depends on the professor, but, usually, I don't think talking a lot necessarily helps, but when the professor is asking for comments, making an argument or stating a position that isn't obvious or simply a factual assertion can help.

For example, I had one professor who (a) generally intimidated people and (b) was known as a harsh grader. I volunteered an argument (when he was asking people for volunteers) three times over the course of the semester; so not quite gunning like crazy, but also not staying silent either. I also asked him for recommendation and he said he rarely gave them if you only took one class with him, but he'd wait to see how I did on the final. I got my grade, asked him, and he told me that I got X grade on the final, but he bumped me up .3 because I made strong arguments in class. Thus, the final grade was good, but no letter of rec. It was a weird experience.

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: Maybe the profs are catching on

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:56 am

Lucidity wrote:I've been told over and over on tls that class participation does not mater, and that one should focus the majority of one's time and preparation towards the final exams. Yet the syllabuses from my torts, civ pro, and contracts classes would suggest otherwise. They all state that the professor reserves the right to modify your exam grade up or down, based on the quality of in class participation. One even goes so far as to say that exemplary in class participation can boost your final exam grade by a whole letter grade. My school grades on a C+ curve. Has anyone else experienced anything similar?

Syllabi

Just because a prof says class participation counts does not mean he actually changes grades.




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