University of Georgia Professor Reverses Policy that Lets Students Pick Their Grades

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University of Georgia Professor Richard Watson has changed his mind about a policy originally included in his syllabi for his fall business courses that would have allowed students to choose their own grade if “unduly stressed.”

Breitbart News reported last week on a syllabus written by University of Georgia Professor Richard Watson, in which he wrote that in two of his business courses would allow students who are “unduly stressed by a grade” to “email the instructor indicating what grade [they] think is appropriate, and it will be so changed,” with “no explanation” being required.

Watson also wrote in his syllabi that his exams will not only be open-book but will also only test for a “low-level mastery” of the course material.

“If in a group meeting, you feel stressed by your group’s dynamics, you should leave the meeting immediately and need offer no explanation to the group members,” another portion of the syllabus read. Under his original policy, students could “discontinue all further group work” with their remaining grade being “based totally on non-group work.”

After serious criticism, Watson has had a change of heart. The University of Georgia announced in a statement on August 8 that Watson’s syllabi didn’t conform to the University’s expectations for academic rigor.

“The professor has removed this language from the syllabus,” Executive Director of Media Communications Greg Trevor told Campus Reform in an interview. “In addition, the University of Georgia applies very high standards in its curricular delivery, including a university-wide policy that mandates all faculty employ a grading system based on transparent and pre-defined coursework.”

The Dean of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia released a statement condemning Watson’s “pick your own grade” policy, calling it “inappropriate.”

“The syllabus stated that his grading policy would allow students inappropriate input into the assignment of their own grades. I want you to know that the syllabus did not conform with the university’s rigorous expectations and policy regarding academic standards for grading,” Dean Benjamin Ayers wrote, adding that he has “explained this discrepancy to the professor” who “has removed the statement from his syllabus.”

“Rest assured that this ill-advised proposal will not be implemented in any Terry classroom,” he finished. “The University of Georgia upholds strict guidelines and academic policies to promote a culture of academic rigor, integrity, and honesty.”


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