Midterm grades are missed when gone

Do you remember those days from middle school and high school where you received those five-week or 10-week reports that showed your grades? Those reports that some of us looked forward to seeing and that some of us made sure to check the mailbox before our parents did around the time they would usually come?

Yes, I remember those two. At the time, I didn’t really look at them more than once, saw I was doing fine, and they got shoved in a bunch of other paperwork, never to emerge again. But, as Benjamin Franklin once said, “you never know the value of water until the well runs dry.” The same can be said for midterm grades in college.

Midterm grades for the current semester were due by faculty on March 28. A lot of people were complaining to me about not seeing them being posted. As of now, all of those people have received all of their midterm grades for their classes. My midterm grades report remains empty. And that is nothing new. For the fall 2012 semester, I had three midterm grades given, last spring I had two and last fall I had a whomping one midterm grade. And in most cases, the classes that have been listed are ones that I know generally where I stand.

To the best of my knowledge, my freshman year at Oswego State I was told that the administration had changed the rule about midterm grades for that spring semester. Previously, midterm grades were only required for 300-level courses and above. I was told that spring that midterm grades were now required for all classes.

I understand that a lot of times, a student’s midterm grade is literally nothing close to what a student might actually get in the class. Only half of the class is over and only half, or maybe hardly grades at all, can be factored together to generate a midterm grade. I am a creative writing major and in most of the creative writing classes I’ve taken, the major grade for the class doesn’t even come until the last third or quarter of the class, meaning my midterm grade was based off a few small homework assignments and my attendance and participation.

There has been a few times however, that midterm grades have kind of saved me. I can remember one particular class. I took American history to 1865 my freshman year. The only grades I had for the class was 25-question test every Friday. I was never able to find out how I scored on these quizzes. I figured I had been doing relatively well on them all along. When I received my midterm grade (it was actually one of the ones I did get) it was a “C.” I was greatly surprised and did not expect that at all. I am a history minor and was not going to allow myself to receive a “C” in a general American history class. So I was able to reverse the problem, work harder and study more, and ended up receiving an “A” in the class. I would never have known that though if I didn’t receive that midterm grade.

I know it is a lot of work for professors to put together these grades to do in a small period of time. They have their own life too after all. But it is nice for us students to know where we stand midstream. Knowing where we are helps us know where to go from here.