I got called out by some parents today. I quashed their complaints pretty quickly though, even though we’ve never actually met.
One of my colleagues brought me a student’s exam with an impressive score on it and explained that the student’s parents were complaining because, despite the high score, the student had received a score much lower than that as final mark. (Imagine earning on A on the final exam but earning a B for the entire course.)
Part of the issue is that final exams are only 50% of the final mark. (Which is too high, in my opinion, but that’s the way things are.) The other 50% is class participation and class projects. This often helps bad to average students. For example, it is possible to earn a 0 for class participation but still receive a passing score by doing well on the exam. (A 0 class mark plus a 62 on the final exam equals a 31% final mark which is passing at the school where I work, albeit with a few unpleasant consequences such as not getting automatic promotion to the attached university if that kind of mark is normal for the student.)
I quickly determined that although the student had done well on the exam and on a couple projects, he’d generally not done well on the other projects and had done the bare minimum on day-to-day participation. He actually had a B+ and was just a little extra effort away from an A.
Luckily, my colleague understood and promised to notify the students and the parents. I expect that student will be much more active this term…