Variance analysis reflects information about actual performance relative to a standard. Variance analysis reports provide managers with information about the performance of employees, from direct labor to supervisors and managers. Grades provide similar information for recruiters who want to hire graduating students. Following is information about Professor E. Z. Grader’s performance measurement system.
Professor Grader is popular; almost all of his students receive As. This phenomenon is widely attributed to Professor Grader’s superior teaching skills. Grades for this professor’s courses are determined as follows:
Item ........ Points
Midterm exam .... 200
Attendance .... 200
Term paper .... 200
Final exam ..... 400
A student needs 700 points for an A, 600 points for a B, 500 for a C, and 400 for a D. From the 200 points given for perfect attendance, a student loses 5 points for every class missed (out of 40 class meetings); however, attendance is seldom taken. If the term paper is 20 pages or longer, 200 points are earned; 10 points are lost for each page less than 20 (thus, a 12-page paper is worth 120 points).
Professor Grader has given the same midterm exam for the past 20 years. To reduce the number of exam copies in students’ files, Professor Grader does not return the exams; grades are simply reported to individual students. A popular business fraternity obtained a copy of the exam 15 years ago. They have chosen not to share the exam with any person not a member of the fraternity; thus Professor Grader usually observes that grades on this exam are nearly normally distributed. The final exam is a take-home exam that the students have two weeks to complete.
A. Is it possible to develop a perfect system for measuring student performance in a course?
Why or why not?
B. How much variation is likely in student performance for each of the four graded items?
C. Describe the weaknesses in Professor Grader’s grading system as a performance measurement system.
D. What are Professor Grader’s professional responsibilities to various stakeholders in this situation?
E. Discuss whether Professor Grader has acted ethically in this situation. Describe the ethical values you use to draw your conclusions.
F. Is it ethical for students in this situation to access a copy of the prior midterm exam or to seek assistance in completing take-home assignments? Does Professor Grader’s system affect the students’ responsibilities? Describe the ethical values you use to draw your conclusions.