I suspect a student misread an exam question worth 10 points (exam out of 120). Aside from this one student, the rest all understood the question and the average grade was 8.2/10 for this question. One student did something entirely different and got 0.
After staring at their answer for a while, I realize he / she had confused "map generalization" and "general purpose map". I suspect English is this student’s second language. Now, this question awards 3 or 4 times the points of a typical multiple choice question as it is of a higher level.
I do not like the thought of giving this student a zero on this question when it may be a language nuance issue. They are very close terms, the one I used and the one they misunderstood if for. This student has had issues all semester though with handing work in, attending class, completing assignments, etc., (hence, why this is important as it may have implications for their grade, major, graduation).
The student is on an important grade boundary and it could make a difference to their final grade even a difference to if they have to take the class again / can graduate on time / or even stay in the major.
My thoughts are one of:
- Give them another stab at it with more language context, ASAP.
- Give them some consolation points.
- Stick with the 0 for this question.
- Grade the question they answered and not the question asked.
- Give him / her the lowest grade anyone else got (or 1 lower) for this question.
The semester is over but I have a few days before grades are due.
What to do?
The Department Chair recommends removing this one question from this one student's exam and the Associate (sub) Dean applying the "rest of the exam average" to this one question. This is two ways of saying the same thing really as the outcome is identical. Either way you do it applies this one student's average grade for all the other questions to this one question. The Chair and Dean (both whom I highly regard) have no more information than this board aside from the student's name. So if the student averaged 70% on the other questions this would be identical to giving them a 7 out of 10 on this question (this 7 is close to what would happen). Hmmmm. This has not come up in all the answers or comments below.
What to do?