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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Teachers gear up for final exams

Though final exams mark the end of the school year for students, their teachers’ work is just beginning.

With large papers and lengthy tests days beginning Friday with the start of finals, professors are expected to turn in their student’s grades on Saturday, Dec. 17, the day after final’s week ends, according to UA’s Academic Policies and Procedures.

While a majority of teachers may find this to be a trouble-free task, according to Beth Acree, enrollment manager at the UA’s Office of the Registrar, some professors require additional help with grading exams and papers on time, especially when instructing large lecture courses.

“There is a variety of ways grading can happen,” Acree said. “It can be from the primary instructor, a TA (teaching assistant), additional graders could be helping or even a department admin who helps enter the grades.”

In writing-intensive majors such as English and history, papers typically take the place of exams, Acree said.

Michael Schaller, a regents professor of history, said in his 38 years of teaching both upper and lower division classes he has never had an issue getting grades in on time for his students.

“With professors, it’s kind of just the name of the game,” Schaller said, who went on to explain professors only have two days after a final is taken to grade and record the results. “We have our graduate assistants and teaching assistants and know we have to get the job done two days after a final. It’s something that we know about and plan for, I think it is more pressure for the students than the faculty.”

In the UA’s large lecture courses, grading help is provided by teaching assistants who are often graduate students.

“You learn very quickly what are your priorities for your own course work and generally the professors that you work with give you deadlines that are manageable,” said Ben Gorham, a graduate student studying classics who is also a teaching assistant this semester for a large lecture class that takes place in Centennial Hall. “The way that the calendar is arranged after most our final exams are taken care of, that is when the big influx of grading happens.”

Gorham explained that, according to UA Academic Policies and Procedures, after final paper and exams are graded, all content is held in the courses department offices where students are able to go in to view their work and even contest their grades if they feel the grading was done inaccurately.

“I’ve seen kids come and look over their essays as much as three months later, but not a full year,” Gorham said.

One of the first things Gorham said he learned this semester was balancing his teaching assistant duties and his schoolwork.

“Everything gets done,” Gorham said. “Even if it takes heading to Espresso Art and spending six hours drinking coffee and grading, that is what you have to do. It’s more or less the life of the grad student.”

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