Why teachers should bump grades conditionally

Common Sense Editorial

Bump, according to Merriam-Webster, is “a relatively abrupt convexity or protuberance on a surface.” This may be the official definition in the dictionary but to students at this school, the word has drastically different denotation.

Bumping is not an occasion of someone running over a pothole or tripping into a passerby in the hallway. It’s the magical occurrence of a teacher raising a student’s percentage in a class to reach a higher letter grade.

The odds of this occurring are few and far between with a majority of teachers outright banning the act from their methods completely. Others choose to help their students by extending their grades without any sort of extra work necessary. I believe both of these mindsets have positive and negative aspects and a compromise made between the two parties would eliminate the taboo surrounding bumping grades.

If students are to request a bump, the teacher must first agree that their current grade is close enough to warrant a bump. Second, the student should be required to complete and receive a high grade on an additional assignment for their grade to change. A select few teachers at this school are using this system now, including English teacher Melissa Kaplan. “Since the new change in grading, I look at bumping two ways. If I think the student is close enough, I will require the student to do an additional essay. If they do well on the essay, then I will bump their grade,” Kaplan said.

I wish more teachers will implement Kaplan’s method. There are too many cases of students pleading their teachers for a bump to no avail. If students were required to complete an extra assignment, it might eliminate this common struggle altogether. Similarly, teachers often will bump students based on the level of work ethic they display during their class. For example, a student who completes their homework every night and arrives to class on time has a much better chance of getting a bump than a student who does not. “[Bumping] should depend on the student and if their work effort is strong enough,” junior Danny Kaputo said.

Above anything else, bumping is a privilege. If you do happen to have a teacher who uses it, you should consider yourself lucky. In this hyper-competitive, stressful environment, a bump is a diamond in a rough, a second chance at redemption, although the frequency of their appearance is about as rare as finding a Mewtwo in Pokémon. If you do come across a bump, please thank your teacher. They don’t have to be helping you at all and their kindness should be rewarded. “Most of the time, my teachers never bump me but when they do, I’m always so appreciative,” senior Lauren Yi said.

9 of 9 editorial board members agree