Vote on my students fate

I screwed up (or my Russian-Mafia-Virus-infected laptop did, but probably me) and have three homework assignment grades missing from my spreadsheet for a student.
Initially I assumed she just didn’t do the assignments, but I found one of the papers, with a low, low score of 10% (she had low attendance so probably wasn’t there when I gave them back) and she sent me a partial photo of another one, from which I could construct a grade with a bit of optimistic extrapolation, with a high, high score of 77%. This leaves me with one missing assignment score. For this set of three assignments I drop the lowest score.

Reconstruction options seem to be

  1. Grade on what I have, dropping the missing score
  2. Give her the class average score for the missing score and drop her actual low score.
  3. Grade her on the best score, reconstructed from the photo, only.

I recognise that all the options are unfair and unsatisfactory, as would be any kind of makeup procedure.

If you don’t vote I might actually have to take a decision, and I hate that.

I’d go with 2 or else 3 if 2 actually requires some effort. In the long run, who really gives a f&^k?

Since you usually drop the missing score, just grade her on what you have. It seems doubtful the missing assignment would have scored higher than 77% based on what you’ve said about the student.

Well, you can say this is 4., because I have a slightly different take. Ask her to bring in the missing test/assignment from the photo. If she doesn’t have it (or claims she doesn’t have it), ask her to redo it.
As for the final missing paper, that one is tricky. You want things to be fair for the other students as well. You could apologize for the loss, and have her redo that assignment as well. Or you could give her an average based on the first 2 scores. I’m not sure I’d drop the 10% score. Maybe if she had done like 5 papers, and that was a clear outlier. But as it is, you only have that 10 and a possible 77. So I’d go the apology and make-up test/assignment route personally.

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Does she know you lost her assignment?

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As it seems you may have been at fault, give her a 100.


Well, then you’d set a precedent of every underachieving student trying to sabotage OP’s computer every time he gets it fixed. :wink:

100, definitely not. If you must go the average route, then class average would be a more than fair mea culpa. This is a student who received a 10% after all. But I still think just having the student make up the assignment with perhaps a 10% bonus added to whatever is the final score, is the best option.

And in the future, OP, keep your scores saved in two places.


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This is the kind of situation where the professor gives a very low grade, then the student writes a heartfelt post on social media to vent her frustration about the fact that her low grades were caused by a sick parent/friend/pet. The touching post becomes viral and people start to reach out to the professor. “Please give her another chance, she’s been through a lot!”.
Little did they know, the assignment was lost…
And little did the professor know…K-Man knew this.

“He gave her a low grade and didn’t even read the assignment! Must have been racism!”

I’m looking forward to all of this…

Ps: fuck the word “assignment”, I keep forgetting it has that unholy trinity of G-N-M.


You joke, but it’s true to a degree. Being a teacher in 2019 (whether it’s Taiwan or the west) is knowing how to navigate a minefield or netizens who only live to take you down for doing your job. The only problem with the brilliant cartoon below is the 2010 section is a bit outdated now; in 2019, some random angry netizens would be with the parents confronting the teacher as well.


You messed up and didn’t enter your student’s scores correctly/ misplaced at least one of the assignments (maybe two). In my opinion, it would be unfair to ask her to do extra work to compensate for a mistake you made.

I generally give students the benefit of the doubt. Maybe something disruptive was going on in her life when she got the 10% and she scored an 90% on the missing assignment. Unfortunately, you don’t know. It would be much worse, in my opinion, for your error to result in a student receiving a lower grade than she earned than in giving a higher one.

If it were me, I’d drop the 10%, give her 100% on the missing assignment and vow to be more careful in the future. If that seems too generous, still drop the 10% and ask her a series of substantive questions about the missing assignment. If she seems neither clueless about the material nor like she aced the assignment, I’d look at her overall grade in the class (minus the 10% and missing assignment). If lower than 77%, just drop both scores. If higher than 77%, I’d assign that average as the missing score.

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Thanks all.

Re “Who gives a fuck”, Well, er, I do.

This is in many ways a crap job but doing it badly makes it significantly worse.

Re the “You messed up so you have to maximise the benefit of any doubt”, I get that, but in so doing I am unfair to the majority of cases where I didn’t mess up.

Re “you lost two assignments”, I lost the scores, having returned the graded and commented assignments to the students. Never been a problem before but I think in future I’ll try to remember to retain all assignments.

You live and you learn. Every teacher misplaces or loses an assignment or test grade at least once. At least you didn’t lose the whole class.

From now on, I would save test scores in 2 places though.

So, voting seems to be
1 for go with what you have (but comment is contradictory, suggesting best score is meant)
1 for class average for missing score
1 for makeup (but school want the grades yesterday)
2-3 for 100% (not doing that)
1 for student overall average for missing score.

Makeup is probably fairest, so if I can stall the school for long enough I’ll do that. I was stonewalling in the hope that the student could be bluffed into producing the missing assignment IF she did it and IF she hasn’t chucked it, but she isn’t responding to text messages so may be calling my bluff.

Next fairest is probably the students overall score substituted for the missing assignment, though this will require some “tuning” to exclude some groupwork and other innapropriate content.

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Your school’s more easy-going than mine. Mine goes mental if grades are issued late.

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Absolutely not the fairest, it’s the least accountable (on your behalf).


Totally disagree on both counts.

There’s no way to replicate scores that are gone, so this is the only way to get the closest approximation. I think if he offers a 10% bonus to the student owing to his mistake, it makes it less painful for the student to redo it. Plus, if it’s a take-home assignment, they might have it saved on their computer anyway.

Also, it’s very accountable. He has to tell the student that as their teacher he screwed up and lost their score. That’s very humbling and opens you up to headaches from the student’s parents and faculty, but in the end it’s the most honest and ethical route imo. What’s not accountable is pulling a score from thin air, that has no actual bearing on the student’s ability. That’s just making up stuff and brushing your mistake under the rug.


It’s 4 now and why not? What mistakes are you marking the student down for? You lost it, your fault, now you have no way of knowing what or if the students mistakes were. 100% is lucky for the student, but I feel you can explain why honestly, you lost the homework and have no way to mark it down.

i was a GSI back in the day and if this had happened to me, I would simply not count that assignment in the overall score calculation. so in this student’s case, he would have one less assignment and one less score. the 10% would be removed, and only the 77% would count - so rather than 2 assignments that other students would have, she would only have one (at 77%). this of course is likely to benefit the student (pretty significantly too), but as you the instructor messed up, you must give as much benefit of the doubt to the student as reasonably possible.

option 1 is unfair. option 2 is also unfair since why would she just get the class average? therefore option 3 is the only one that would be fair. to be honest, if the student knew and were to complain, giving a 100% to the missing assignment would not be out of the question. so hopefully just removing it from calculation is enough.


Luckily you are not in Russia!