Bump ups / downs for participation

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Extension_Cord
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Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby Extension_Cord » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:50 pm

Can a professor really bump you up or down for classroom participation? Not like assignments but for the talking in class? All of our finals are blind graded and one of my professor says 5 people will be bumped down for participation and 5 will be bumped up for participation like a half letter grade. It doesn't seem really fair and kind of defeats the purpose of blind grading. I was thinking this was probably just a plow to get people to speak up but Im a bit uneasy now because I never speak in classes unless im cold called.

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howell
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby howell » Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:07 pm

First, wrt the blind grading, the exams can be graded blind, and then the professor can submit an additional list of people to bump up/down. So the professor wouldn't know if she bumped you up to a B- or an A+.

My experience has been that this is usually a scare tactic. Some professors do actually make small adjustments, but it's rare. The other perspective on professors rarely changing grades due to participation is that if a class goes normally/well, then they decide not to adjust any/many grades.

I hope the plan your professor has is a scare tactic. I don't like the automatic selection of a certain number of people like that. I've also found that the professors with extreme policies like this tend to get a lot of nonsense in class, because people who would never normally talk start raising their hands and saying anything to "participate." It's a nightmare. I would rather have a no laptop policy than a heavy participation factor if the professor is going to take the lazy route to class participation.

Renzo
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby Renzo » Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:44 pm

Don't believe the hype. Imagine what it would take: the professor blind grades all exams according to the curve, then submits a list of students that should get a "bump", then has to re-assign all the grades in the class to meet the curve again. As it is, professors can barely be bothered to grade exams on time; you really think they are going to all this extra work?

I've also had professors say that they will mark "borderline" exams, and then submit a list of students who should get a "bump" if they happen to be one of those borderline exams. The raw mathematical odds of this working our for you are not good: if its 5 students in 100 that will get a "bump" and there are 5 borderline exams. The odds of those two groups lining up are about two in a thousand.

shock259
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby shock259 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:05 pm

In two of my classes, "class participation" supposedly counts for 10% of the grade. However, I'm deeply skeptical of this, in part because the classes are 60 people and in part because it's extra work for the professor. And our classes are curved so high anyway, I don't know how this can really factor in (B+).

zomginternets
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby zomginternets » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:04 pm

Renzo wrote:Don't believe the hype. Imagine what it would take: the professor blind grades all exams according to the curve, then submits a list of students that should get a "bump", then has to re-assign all the grades in the class to meet the curve again. As it is, professors can barely be bothered to grade exams on time; you really think they are going to all this extra work?


My math skills totally suck, but if 5 are bumped up and 5 are bumped down, then their cancelling effect should not impact the curve right? The discretionary up/down bumps are the ones that would require redoing the curve.

OP: the 5 mandatory down bumps are stupid. I bet more than 5 people in your class haven't participated during the year, so he's likely just to be randomly picking 5 people to bump down who don't deserve it any more than the other non-participants who didn't get bumped down. I would complain about such a policy.

Edit: not to mention the people that did participate occasionally, who the prof probably forgot participated and randomly selected their name for the down-bump.

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Extension_Cord
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby Extension_Cord » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:52 pm

It doesn't seem fair because the whole purpose of blind grading is to prevent professor bias when they grade right? How can bias not be involved in these bumps (-,+)?

I really hope its just all talk.

Anyone else have a teacher that says this?

Renzo
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby Renzo » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:27 pm

zomginternets wrote:
Renzo wrote:Don't believe the hype. Imagine what it would take: the professor blind grades all exams according to the curve, then submits a list of students that should get a "bump", then has to re-assign all the grades in the class to meet the curve again. As it is, professors can barely be bothered to grade exams on time; you really think they are going to all this extra work?


My math skills totally suck, but if 5 are bumped up and 5 are bumped down, then their cancelling effect should not impact the curve right? The discretionary up/down bumps are the ones that would require redoing the curve.


If the 5 up and 5 down could be guaranteed to offset one another, then yes. But there's no such guarantee. You could make up a really egregious example, where all the "ups" were C's and all the "down's" were A's. But, for the sake of realism, I used a random number generator, and got the following distributions (assuming no A+'s and no C's in the group).


The "bump up" students got: A- B B+ A B-. This bumps up to : A B+ A- A (nowhere to go up) B

The "bump downs"A- A- A B+ B+ Bumps down to: B+ B+ A- B B

Before the bump there were 2 A's, 3 A-'s, 3 B+'s, 1 B, and 1 B-. After the bump, there are 2 A's, 2A-'s, 3 B+'s, 3B's, and no B-. There are too many B's, not enough B-'s and not enough A-'s. So now, the professor has to bump other students up or down to get the grade distribution back, or undo some of the bumps of those 10 students.

Transferthrowaway
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby Transferthrowaway » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:31 pm

I always understood it to be that the exams were graded blindly and then after the actual exam grading is completed, the professor is given a list of names that corresponded to the anonymous grading IDs and he/she could make adjustments as he/she saw fit.

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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby Renzo » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:40 pm

Transferthrowaway wrote:I always understood it to be that the exams were graded blindly and then after the actual exam grading is completed, the professor is given a list of names that corresponded to the anonymous grading IDs and he/she could make adjustments as he/she saw fit.


That's true, but it doesn't change the fact that it's a lot of work to tinker with the curve, once you've already graded exams, and especially given that I guarantee your professors (at least 1L year) don't actually know or care about 80% of the class or more.

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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby johansantana21 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:20 pm

I hate professors who say they will do this. It just encourages a lot of incessant chatter by students who want to impress the professor.

Also I hate the idea that someone might be bumped down just because the professor wanted to bump up someone for "class participation". What is this, middle school?

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Extension_Cord
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby Extension_Cord » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:35 pm

johansantana21 wrote:I hate professors who say they will do this. It just encourages a lot of incessant chatter by students who want to impress the professor.

Also I hate the idea that someone might be bumped down just because the professor wanted to bump up someone for "class participation". What is this, middle school?


My Contracts teacher that does this, just rambles on and covers very little contracts in class. He rather talk about torts than contracts...

I feel bad for the people who paid $5,000 for his class.

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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby adonai » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:26 pm

Extension_Cord wrote:It doesn't seem fair because the whole purpose of blind grading is to prevent professor bias when they grade right? How can bias not be involved in these bumps (-,+)?

I really hope its just all talk.

Anyone else have a teacher that says this?

I have a professor that is bumping people up half a grade for participation under her "discretion"...whatever the hell that means. At first everyone went buck crazy participating and camping outside her office, but the hype died down as the semester progressed. Still, there are a couple gung-hoers who are hellbent on getting this bump up (they literally raise their hands after every couple sentences). But I agree it is almost impossible to keep track of everyone who participated. Even the Prof. gave up trying to keep track and learn names of those who participate. This is just plain unfair, though. One should be graded based on how well they do legal analysis, not schmoozing the teacher with nonsense. I'm more shocked that the administration would even allow this policy.
Last edited by adonai on Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Extension_Cord
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby Extension_Cord » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:30 pm

adonai wrote:
Extension_Cord wrote:It doesn't seem fair because the whole purpose of blind grading is to prevent professor bias when they grade right? How can bias not be involved in these bumps (-,+)?

I really hope its just all talk.

Anyone else have a teacher that says this?

I have a professor that is bumping people up half a grade for participation under her "discretion"...whatever the hell that means. At first everyone went buck crazy participating and camping outside her office, but the hype died down as the semester progressed. Still, there are a couple gung-hoers who are hellbent on getting this bump up (they literally raise their hands after every couple sentences). But I agree it is almost impossible to keep track of everyone who participated. Even the Prof. gave up trying to keep track and learn names of those who participate. This is just plain unfair, though. One should be graded based on how well they do legal analysis, not schmoozing the teacher with nonsense.


It seems so unfair, I doubt it actually happens. I can't imagine why a school would allow it, its blatantly biased.

adonai
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby adonai » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:36 pm

Extension_Cord wrote:
adonai wrote:
Extension_Cord wrote:It doesn't seem fair because the whole purpose of blind grading is to prevent professor bias when they grade right? How can bias not be involved in these bumps (-,+)?

I really hope its just all talk.

Anyone else have a teacher that says this?

I have a professor that is bumping people up half a grade for participation under her "discretion"...whatever the hell that means. At first everyone went buck crazy participating and camping outside her office, but the hype died down as the semester progressed. Still, there are a couple gung-hoers who are hellbent on getting this bump up (they literally raise their hands after every couple sentences). But I agree it is almost impossible to keep track of everyone who participated. Even the Prof. gave up trying to keep track and learn names of those who participate. This is just plain unfair, though. One should be graded based on how well they do legal analysis, not schmoozing the teacher with nonsense.


It seems so unfair, I doubt it actually happens. I can't imagine why a school would allow it, its blatantly biased.

Things are already competitive enough as it is. Throwing this in the mix just makes it an unhealthy environment. At orientation, the administration went on and on about being egalitarian and noncompetitive and crap, and then the prof. runs this by them and they end up approving. It is pretty upsetting just cause of the fact they agreed. I know it probably won't shift the curve much but this shows they really don't care and just want to watch students squirm even more.

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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby quiver » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:31 pm

All my 1L professors said that they had the discretion to bump up or down a max of 5 students but almost never bumped down. They said they'd bump up occasionally but that the bump up was based on the quality not quantity of responses (to dissuade us from what the above comments portray). I don't remember how I found this out but I think one professor told me that the bumps were outside of the curve; therefore the professor would blind grade the exams, submit a list of students to be bumped up, and would not have to recalculate the curve afterward. My assumption is that since only a max of 5 students were bumped I don't think the administration was too concerned about curves being wildly thrown off from discretion based bumping.

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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby forty-two » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:56 pm

Renzo wrote:
zomginternets wrote:My math skills totally suck, but if 5 are bumped up and 5 are bumped down, then their cancelling effect should not impact the curve right? The discretionary up/down bumps are the ones that would require redoing the curve.


If the 5 up and 5 down could be guaranteed to offset one another, then yes. But there's no such guarantee. You could make up a really egregious example, where all the "ups" were C's and all the "down's" were A's. But, for the sake of realism, I used a random number generator, and got the following distributions (assuming no A+'s and no C's in the group).


The "bump up" students got: A- B B+ A B-. This bumps up to : A B+ A- A (nowhere to go up) B

The "bump downs"A- A- A B+ B+ Bumps down to: B+ B+ A- B B

Before the bump there were 2 A's, 3 A-'s, 3 B+'s, 1 B, and 1 B-. After the bump, there are 2 A's, 2A-'s, 3 B+'s, 3B's, and no B-. There are too many B's, not enough B-'s and not enough A-'s. So now, the professor has to bump other students up or down to get the grade distribution back, or undo some of the bumps of those 10 students.

This is true for schools that have mandatory distributions, but many schools just have mandatory means. In that system, I think the 5 bumps up and the 5 bumps down would cancel each other out because you'd end up with the same mean either way. At any rate, I think OP should be fine as long as he/she answers decently during cold calls.

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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby mrloblaw » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:58 pm

forty-two wrote:
Renzo wrote:
zomginternets wrote:My math skills totally suck, but if 5 are bumped up and 5 are bumped down, then their cancelling effect should not impact the curve right? The discretionary up/down bumps are the ones that would require redoing the curve.


If the 5 up and 5 down could be guaranteed to offset one another, then yes. But there's no such guarantee. You could make up a really egregious example, where all the "ups" were C's and all the "down's" were A's. But, for the sake of realism, I used a random number generator, and got the following distributions (assuming no A+'s and no C's in the group).


The "bump up" students got: A- B B+ A B-. This bumps up to : A B+ A- A (nowhere to go up) B

The "bump downs"A- A- A B+ B+ Bumps down to: B+ B+ A- B B

Before the bump there were 2 A's, 3 A-'s, 3 B+'s, 1 B, and 1 B-. After the bump, there are 2 A's, 2A-'s, 3 B+'s, 3B's, and no B-. There are too many B's, not enough B-'s and not enough A-'s. So now, the professor has to bump other students up or down to get the grade distribution back, or undo some of the bumps of those 10 students.

This is true for schools that have mandatory distributions, but many schools just have mandatory means. In that system, I think the 5 bumps up and the 5 bumps down would cancel each other out because you'd end up with the same mean either way. At any rate, I think OP should be fine as long as he/she answers decently during cold calls.


I presumed that mandatory means were more common, because that's the system I'm used to seeing. Is that not the case?

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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby Renzo » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:30 pm

mrloblaw wrote:
forty-two wrote:
Renzo wrote:
zomginternets wrote:My math skills totally suck, but if 5 are bumped up and 5 are bumped down, then their cancelling effect should not impact the curve right? The discretionary up/down bumps are the ones that would require redoing the curve.


If the 5 up and 5 down could be guaranteed to offset one another, then yes. But there's no such guarantee. You could make up a really egregious example, where all the "ups" were C's and all the "down's" were A's. But, for the sake of realism, I used a random number generator, and got the following distributions (assuming no A+'s and no C's in the group).


The "bump up" students got: A- B B+ A B-. This bumps up to : A B+ A- A (nowhere to go up) B

The "bump downs"A- A- A B+ B+ Bumps down to: B+ B+ A- B B

Before the bump there were 2 A's, 3 A-'s, 3 B+'s, 1 B, and 1 B-. After the bump, there are 2 A's, 2A-'s, 3 B+'s, 3B's, and no B-. There are too many B's, not enough B-'s and not enough A-'s. So now, the professor has to bump other students up or down to get the grade distribution back, or undo some of the bumps of those 10 students.

This is true for schools that have mandatory distributions, but many schools just have mandatory means. In that system, I think the 5 bumps up and the 5 bumps down would cancel each other out because you'd end up with the same mean either way. At any rate, I think OP should be fine as long as he/she answers decently during cold calls.


I presumed that mandatory means were more common, because that's the system I'm used to seeing. Is that not the case?

Plenty of schools have a mandatory distribution, but I have no idea which is more common. And you're right that it's less problematic with a mandatory mean.

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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby shepdawg » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:52 pm

The push point policy is legit, but not all professors actually do it. I know for sure I was given push points in 2 classes. I know this because I received the highest grade in both classes, but my exam was not the highest (not the model answer). Thus, to get the AmJur, I must have been given push points.

Many will complain that it is unfair, but they are probably the chickens who never contribute to the class or contribute lame comments or questions. The policy works to encourage students to engage in the lessons. This creates breaks in the monotony of the professor's lecture, and increases learning in the entire class. So, quiet and cowardly students benefit by learning more, and brave students benefit by getting push points.

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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby mrloblaw » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:12 pm

shepdawg wrote:The push point policy is legit, but not all professors actually do it. I know for sure I was given push points in 2 classes. I know this because I received the highest grade in both classes, but my exam was not the highest (not the model answer). Thus, to get the AmJur, I must have been given push points.

Many will complain that it is unfair, but they are probably the chickens who never contribute to the class or contribute lame comments or questions. The policy works to encourage students to engage in the lessons. This creates breaks in the monotony of the professor's lecture, and increases learning in the entire class. So, quiet and cowardly students benefit by learning more, and brave students benefit by getting push points.


I don't want the monotony broken. I don't care what the other students in the class think, because they aren't writing the exam. Hence, I refuse to participate in 90% of my classes on general principle.

I assure you that the gunners aren't teaching me anything. In fact, I estimate that the number of viable brain cells I lose each time one of them opens their mouths to spew hot air is roughly equivalent to being bludgeoned in the head with a brick 38.2 times.

adonai
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby adonai » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:40 pm

mrloblaw wrote:
I assure you that the gunners aren't teaching me anything. In fact, I estimate that the number of viable brain cells I lose each time one of them opens their mouths to spew hot air is roughly equivalent to being bludgeoned in the head with a brick 38.2 times.

+180. Students never have anything "interesting to contribute" because the prof. contributes the most interesting/relevant/correct/grade worthy points. Gunners are only useful for days when you don't want to get called on and when you need an internet break.

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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby BarbellDreams » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:19 pm

Didn't read the thread.

Profs absolutely can do this. Our Civ pro prof actually sent us an email at the end of the semester to tell each student specifically how they did in participation and how much their grade will be bumped as a result.

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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby johansantana21 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:39 pm

shepdawg wrote:The push point policy is legit, but not all professors actually do it. I know for sure I was given push points in 2 classes. I know this because I received the highest grade in both classes, but my exam was not the highest (not the model answer). Thus, to get the AmJur, I must have been given push points.

Many will complain that it is unfair, but they are probably the chickens who never contribute to the class or contribute lame comments or questions. The policy works to encourage students to engage in the lessons. This creates breaks in the monotony of the professor's lecture, and increases learning in the entire class. So, quiet and cowardly students benefit by learning more, and brave students benefit by getting push points.


Chickens? The fear of participating in class passes for most people after a few weeks in...

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Extension_Cord
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby Extension_Cord » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:08 pm

johansantana21 wrote:
shepdawg wrote:The push point policy is legit, but not all professors actually do it. I know for sure I was given push points in 2 classes. I know this because I received the highest grade in both classes, but my exam was not the highest (not the model answer). Thus, to get the AmJur, I must have been given push points.

Many will complain that it is unfair, but they are probably the chickens who never contribute to the class or contribute lame comments or questions. The policy works to encourage students to engage in the lessons. This creates breaks in the monotony of the professor's lecture, and increases learning in the entire class. So, quiet and cowardly students benefit by learning more, and brave students benefit by getting push points.


Chickens? The fear of participating in class passes for most people after a few weeks in...


This.

The problem is it allows professors to use their discretion in awarding bump ups, not necessarily who progresses the discussion of the class. I have a teacher that will randomly asks really simple questions and will say this is worth half the participation points and someone will get it and will get a huge boost, i.e. whats the name of the case that limits incidential damages, 5 minutes after we talked about it. However, the same teacher will ask for a really hard question and someone will nail it and they only get any 1 point out of 10 needed for a bump.

mrloblaw
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Re: Bump ups / downs for participation

Postby mrloblaw » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:12 pm

Extension_Cord wrote:
johansantana21 wrote:
shepdawg wrote:The push point policy is legit, but not all professors actually do it. I know for sure I was given push points in 2 classes. I know this because I received the highest grade in both classes, but my exam was not the highest (not the model answer). Thus, to get the AmJur, I must have been given push points.

Many will complain that it is unfair, but they are probably the chickens who never contribute to the class or contribute lame comments or questions. The policy works to encourage students to engage in the lessons. This creates breaks in the monotony of the professor's lecture, and increases learning in the entire class. So, quiet and cowardly students benefit by learning more, and brave students benefit by getting push points.


Chickens? The fear of participating in class passes for most people after a few weeks in...


This.

The problem is it allows professors to use their discretion in awarding bump ups, not necessarily who progresses the discussion of the class. I have a teacher that will randomly asks really simple questions and will say this is worth half the participation points and someone will get it and will get a huge boost, i.e. whats the name of the case that limits incidential damages, 5 minutes after we talked about it. However, the same teacher will ask for a really hard question and someone will nail it and they only get any 1 point out of 10 needed for a bump.


Professors use class participation because even having to fill an hour of discussion four times a week is too much work for them. Hence, the more time gunners waste with their "I really feel that . . ." statements, the less work the professor has to do.

I don't fault gunners for taking advantage of the system quite so much as I fault them for actually thinking that their gunning is teaching us anything.
Last edited by mrloblaw on Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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