Student senate advocates Midterm Grade Reporting


Sonny An | Assistant photo edito

Huijing Cai, graduate in Business, studies in the Main Library on Sunday, February 15, 2015.

By Gillian Dunlop, Staff Reporter

Professors should be required to release midterm grade reports, according to a new Illinois Student Senate resolution for action.

The goal is for all undergraduate students enrolled in a 16-week course to know their grade by the end of the seventh week of the semester.

Spencer Haydary, co-author of this proposal and vice president-internal of the Illinois Student Senate, said the idea behind the proposal was to benefit students by letting them know their grades before the add/drop deadline of the semester. This way, students could get a good sense of how they are doing in class and what areas they may need to address.

Not all members of the senate were in support of this proposal, and a debate ensued regarding whether professors should be required or encouraged to post midterm grades.

Bryan Parthum, first year Ph.D. student and graduate student representative, disagreed with the proposal.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
Thank you for subscribing!

“My personal concern was by mandating midterm semester grades, if the goal was increasing transparency and understanding for the students, I think that online grade reporting only adds an additional barrier to helping them pass that particular class,” Parthum said.

Parthum’s argument against requiring midterm grades was that this would allow students to see their grade and drop the class without ever consulting their professor or teaching assistants. This may take away the possibility of a meaningful conversation that would help a student stay in the class and learn strategies for studying.

“An actual interaction with a teaching assistant or professor is much more beneficial than a blind report online,” he said. “By mandating (midterm grade reports), we potentially reduced the possibility of helping students in the long run.”

However, the student senate cannot actually require professors to upload scores without the authority of the provost. Since this resolution was passed, the next step is for the Senate to advocate it to the administration for approval.

“This is a recommendation we’re issuing to administration,” Haydary said. “(It will) be at the discretion of the provost office as well as professors themselves.”

Even so, Parthum argued against it at the meeting, making the point that sometimes professors don’t know what the class curve will be at the time of reporting. Therefore students might not be receiving accurate grades at the time of midterms.

“At midterm grades, the professors still don’t know where the class sits as a whole,” he said. “I’m a fan of the word ‘encourage’ because it does add more flexibility on behalf of the professor.”