THE QUESTION: You are a college professor and one of your brightest students has started struggling in class. You know that he works practically full time to pay for his education and you respect him because you did the same thing when you were in school. You have been helping him explore financial aid and scholarship options and have found a program that he qualifies for next semester, as long as he maintains a B average. He maintained an A average until his work schedule started interfering in his studies and is now barely holding onto a B average. You’ve just finished grading his final exam, which is a low C, which will bring his average down and disqualify him from the financial assistance. You are wondering whether to give him a higher grade, in light of all the circumstances.
WHAT’S YOUR ANSWER?
A. You give him the grade he earned (a low C) because this is the appropriate evaluation of his work.
B. You give him the grade he needs to salvage a B average and get the financial assistance he needs.
C. You give him the low C on the test, and then offer him extra credit work, which will make it possible to bring his overall average up to a B.
D. You give the student the C he earned on the test, and the resulting grade for the class. But you also tell him that you are willing to write a letter to the financial assistance program, explaining the circumstances, and asking them to consider giving the financial assistance he needs on a probationary basis.
WHAT’S MY ANSWER?
I picked C: You give him the low C on the test, and then offer him extra credit work, which will make it possible to bring his overall average up to a B.
This was really tough. Generally, I don’t want to enable somebody (give him a grade he didn’t deserve), but I also want to create and give opportunities anytime I can (which a B average would give through financial aid). In the end, I feel extra credit is the best way to give my student the opportunity to maintain a B average without just handing him something he didn’t deserve. To be fair, I could give the extra credit opportunity to all my students.
Well, what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know your answer and why in the comments below.
Click here to read an evaluation of this Dilemma from Fulvio Di Blasi, a world-renown scholar in the field of applied philosophy and business ethics.
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