Should teachers give students grade bumps?


Matt Silverman

Yes- Max Jordan, Editor-in-Chief

Believe it or not, teachers were kids once too. They experienced high school just like the students they teach. They know more than anyone how tough high school can be, and how sometimes students just can’t seem to catch a break.
Students work the whole quarter just for the end result, but sometimes they fall short of the mark. Obviously teachers should not bump kids with a 78 percent to an ‘A’, but I do think teachers should consider what the student has been through before saying “no” to anyone asking for a grade change.
Every student is different, which means every student has a different life going on behind the scenes. Kids go through all kinds of hardships, and they may not have the time they want or need to complete all of their work or study for every test they have. While I understand that this isn’t the case for every kid, the teacher should consider the specific kid they are dealing with and if they seem like they are having a hard time out of school.
Another thing to consider is how well the student is doing in the class. If the student is failing but coming in for help or asking questions in class, then that should sway the direction of the final grade. The same applies for if the student works hard and still comes up with a grade that is just short of what they were aiming for. If the teacher can sees that student really cares about the class, then they should consider bumping the student.
Finally, if the student turns in all of their assignments and does all of their work, it is a good indication that they are worthy of a grade bump because they really care about the class. If a student has a bunch of ‘z’s, the teacher is not going to want to help them out because it shows that they don’t care enough about the class to do the work. The work, however, should be done thoughtfully because if the work is done poorly or without effort, then this will also make the teacher reluctant to bump a grade.
One helpful tip about bumping is that instead of waiting until the last day of the quarter to ask the teacher, go in as soon as you realize you may not get the grade you want and ask what you need to do in the weeks coming to secure that you get what you are aiming for.
Most teachers are kind people with hearts and they want to see their kids succeed. That being said, it’s not guaranteed that teachers are willing to bump you, so always work your hardest, and sometimes teachers will notice and help you out.
Teachers have much more life experience than their students, and they know just how hard the life of a high school student can be. They want their kids to succeed, but they don’t want students to be able to walk through high school without working hard for the grades they want.

No- Matthew Klein, Managing Editor

Before I embark on an argument about why I am against the “bump” as a whole, I’d like to be honest so I sound as unhypocritical as possible.
First, I have been bumped before. I won’t say how, but twice in my tenure taking high-school level classes, I have asked for or been given a bump of some kind. Second, as long as policies on bumping continue to fluctuate from class to class (and educator to educator), I will use the system in my favor, as anyone else would. I’m not here to argue that I wouldn’t take a bump if offered—like most anyone, I absolutely would—but rather that bumping across the board should be eliminated.
If there’s even slight variance in what a teacher believes is fair to bump, then across the board, students who don’t have that teacher are at a disadvantage. As if this wasn’t enough, grade inflation grants equal merit to students who worked hard to earn high grades and those who didn’t work as hard but were able to pull through—with less-than-outstanding understanding of the course material—thanks to a little help from the teacher. In this process, A’s and B’s become more meaningless, since the number of students receiving these grades, who should in fact be earning B’s or C’s, becomes notably increased.
A common argument in favor of bumps is that students occasionally make mistakes during the quarter and that teachers should be compassionate and forgiving for minor errors made during the quarter.
But then the entire question of bumping comes back into play: how much is a reasonable bump? Is one-tenth of a percent fair? Half a percent? More? Because these standards vary from teacher to teacher, it makes it markedly easier for some kids to earn A’s with one teacher than another.
This isn’t the point of school. If students in one class can get an 89.0 and earn an A, while another class of students earn an 89.4 and get a B for taking the same course, then students with the second teacher are clearly at a disadvantage. Teachers should simply be the medium through which information is presented to students, not act as God for grades with students they like or “feel are deserving.”
Not only is bumping unfairly advantageous, but we already have a cutoff, and a fairly generous one at that. If teachers choose to ignore the cutoff, then the entire cutoff itself becomes meaningless. The point of having a minimum requirement for a certain grade is that it defines the line for those who deserve A’s and those who don’t. And if you were one point away from an A, then you still don’t demonstrate mastery of the course’s concepts.
The problem has an easy fix: teachers should be forced to obey the cutoff criteria. Then, all students are on an even playing field, which is the only way to truly determine who does/doesn’t understand a concept.

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