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Another Gust of Wind from COVID-19 Blows Through Kingo’s Lives: Alternation in the Grading System

Kingos have had to focus on their studies online during a chaotic three months from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Moreover, Kingos may have passed difficult times until now as test methods and grading systems changed because of the current situation. In this situation, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) examines the grading policy of SKKU for this semester and the various grading methods that have aggravated Kingos’ confusion.

Alternating SKKU Grading Policy

SKKU announced that submitting assignments instead of a midterm exam for this semester was the general rule. SKKU, however, made room for alternations so that there is a chance for diversifying grading methods depending on a professors’ discretion. In the early stages of COVID-19, professors could host offline tests after receiving approval from SKKU and could take all responsibilities themselves, but as the situation got worse, offline tests were prohibited. Especially, some classes use different ways of grading as professors can decide on the grading methods, and this has resulted in chaos among Kingos.

Dissimilar Grading Methods, Accumulating Confusion

The grading system also should change as the whole semester is operated by i-Campus, but instructors did not unify the test and grading method for this semester. The core of this problem is that there are various opinions as much as there are plenty of subjects. In this chaos, some require appropriate alternative evaluation methods like an absolute evaluation in other schools. Various evaluation methods reflecting the trait of each subject can be summarized into three categories below.

1. Online Tests

This is like the previous offline test except that Kingos take exams online. As it has similarities with the preexisting method, the instructor can take advantage because the pressure to prepare a test is on an average level. For Kingos, they can get rid of the burden from a new test manner. This method, however, has a serious disqualification in terms of fairness because it is hard to prevent cheating, so this way should be developed more to raise fairness, and some instructors have devised the unique tests that are most feasible for each subject. For example, instructors hand out topics they have taught to students, and the remainder, the test questions, are made and solved wholly by students themselves.

2. Alternating Assignments

Instead of taking a test, students can do assignments that take up the same percentage in a total grade as the midterm exam. This method has a strong point in that an assignment has more fairness in general than an online test, but it is also open to controversy depending on subjects. In terms of the subject that requires Kingo’s creative answers, there are little worries, but like the Natural Sciences Campus’s subjects that require exact answers, an assignment requiring standardized answers is still open to the fairness problem. Furthermore, another limit still exists; grading standards for an assignment are vague.

3. Evaluating with the Final Exam Only

This means canceling the midterm exam and evaluating Kingo’s grades only with the final exam. This method usually used the alternating assignments process. This manner can avoid fairness problems that could be seen in the two methods above, and there is enough time for the COVID-19 situation to calm down. For this reason, midterm tests for 100% online classes hosted by the academic affairs office and some other classes have adopted this manner. In the meantime, Kingos should manage the widened range for final tests, in exchange for fairness.

신주영  poowooho3@g.skku.edu

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