Day 22 It’s Midterm. Stay Calm.


We’ve reached the halfway mark in my 8-week semester course.  Breathe.  Although midterm exams are not required in our subdivision, I use this week as a time to fine tune and reflect upon how the course is progressing. I check in with students regarding their preparation, organization and determination.  What is their cumulative grade right now? Are they struggling to meet deadlines? How frequently have they logged on? Can we determine an established pattern in their style of writing? Midterm is an opportunity to address students’ concerns and assure them there are a multiple ways to achieve success.

Stay calm.  I can often gauge a student’s worry in how they communicate online. I am sensitive to their concerns about the final product and provide feedback, an itemized review of their grades in Blackboard and a portfolio of their assignments.

From: Student
Sent:  3:11 PM
To: Hubbard, Danica
Subject: Midterm Grade

I’m a bit concerned with my grade considering the end of the semester is coming near. I understand that the assignments I turned late were deducted because of that but as far as the criteria I feel like I was a bit confused on what I missed for the source summaries. I revised all of them according to your corrections and was hoping you could replace my grade. If not it’s completely understandable but my goal is to get an 85 percent in the class. I feel confident that I can at least get a B from here on out with or without the revised work but I want to make sure my research paper meets your expectations.

Sent from Outlook Mobile

Teaching and learning can be viewed as complementary and overlapping activities that aim to benefit both the quality of student learning and the professional development of the instructor. If a student is not where he “wants to be” during midterm, it may be  dependent upon his motivation and commitment to learning.What can we change together to optimize learning and growth?  At midterm I am assessing my teaching and students are assessing their learning — done in tandem, this helps to improve our overall performance.

According to the Carnegie Mellon University website, the goal of formative assessment is to gain an understanding of what students know and don’t know in order to make responsive changes in teaching and learning. These are low stake assessments such as asking students to compose a few sentences in response to a Discussion Board prompt, creating an outline for an essay, peer critiquing essays using one or two paragraphs. On the other hand, a summative assessment measures the level of success or proficiency that has been obtained at the end of an instructional unit, by comparing it against some standard or benchmark.  At this point, students have a midterm grade and we are required to complete the midterm verification in MyAccess, noting if the students is actively pursuing the course objectives or not.  I can use the outcomes in summative assessment to  guide students’ efforts in future courses, particularly if the courses are sequential within their academic program of study.

I also wear my academic adviser hat at midterm, advising students who are struggling to consider withdrawing from the course.  For example, if a student is not passing at midterm, I will encourage them to consider dropping the course and registering a different time when they are ready.  A failing “F” grade is a blemish on their academic record and it can be difficult to regain academic footing. Students need to be aware of the difference between failing a course versus withdrawing from a course.

The withdraw grade and procedures are explained on our College of DuPage website:

Withdrawal Procedures
The final day for a student to withdraw from any course will be equal to 75% of the time for the respective academic session (see the Registration Calendar) through myACCESS or in person at the Office of Student Registration Services, Student Services Center (SSC), Room 2221.
After the deadline, students will be required to appeal for late withdrawal and provide appropriate documentation to the Office of Student Registration Services for all requests. Students who are granted approval to withdraw by petition will not be eligible for refunds of tuition or fees and will receive a ‘W’ grade on their transcript. Late Withdrawal Appeals must be submitted at least one day prior to the last regular class meeting. Students will not eligible to petition for late withdrawal during the week of Final Exams.

Medical Withdrawals: Requests for medical withdrawals should be made to the Dean of Enrollment Services. Send medical forms to Student Registration Services, SSC 2221, (630) 942-2687. Requests should be made in writing and accompanied by documentation from a physician or medical institution to verify the medical condition, date of onset and estimated length of treatment. Request forms for medical withdrawals are reviewed individually. Refunds are issued when appropriate within the guidelines of the College of DuPage refund policy. You will receive written notification of the decision within three (3) weeks from the office of the Student Registration Services.



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