Poor marks

A short story as narrated by a student.

I’m not sure what to do…

Last week I opened up the email and looked at the spreadsheet. It took me a while to work out where our numbers were, but I now wish I hadn’t. It was terrible: 20%. The peer comparison didn’t help: the average was in the 50’s. The national standard is high 60’s. All that work…. All the effort we put in, and we get this! I put my creativity, my time, my spare time and even my family’s time (!) into those classes.

My friend told me not to lose any sleep over it. But I did. I couldn’t get the disappointment and frustration out of my head. Nor the worry over the future. I kept thinking: “Maybe this course is the wrong one for me: perhaps I should leave and try something else.”

How did we get such a low mark?

That’s it I don’t know. All the assessors have done is ticked a box, or a scale, or something. All I want to know is ‘why did you give us that mark?’ We did what ‘the system’ told us to do: we checked on our progress, tried to get interim feedback on how it was all going. And it wasn’t easy getting comments, but when we did get them, everything seemed to be OK. Not great, but OK.

Where do I go with 20%? I’d need to nearly triple it just to match my peers. I’m not sure the rest of the team is too bothered, but I’m the one in the hot seat. I’m the one holding the 20.

Right. OK. Think clearly. An action plan is needed. Eat an elephant one bite at a time, and all that!

First, identify the weaknesses; then target the low lying fruit (easy to do, but giving big gains) and so on… Study skills – go, go, go! Sorted.

But wait.

There’s no feedback.

There’s just a number!

I sent an email off to the graders almost as soon as I got the score, asking what was wrong and where we could improve. I didn’t get a reply. I expect they’re too busy, or have ‘moved on’ to the next thing they have to do.

There’s nothing for us to go on. I’ve no way of knowing how to improve this score.

I wish I’d never opened up that email.

I’m not sure what to do…



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