Letter to the Editor: If I Have Deadlines, My Professors Should Too: The Grading Time Gap


Mitchell Allred

Letter to the Editor: If I Have Deadlines, My Professors Should Too

Personally, I love college, and my entire journey has been unforgettable. I have truly enjoyed all college has to offer, but one issue I’ve encountered along the way has been “the grading time gap” — the gap in between the time we submit our assignments and the time our professors should deliver our grades or any feedback. However, it seems that this time gap is often dragged out.

How do professors expect us, as students, to improve when we don’t know how we are currently doing in class? As a senior in college, I have had the “pleasure” of completing assignments, homework, projects and even exams, and then having to wait weeks or even over a month to receive a grade or any feedback. So, how am I supposed to do better if I’m kept in the dark about my own work and effort? I mean, we work hard and just want some affirmation.

This is not an issue only I have encountered; many of my friends and classmates have found themselves in the same distressing circumstances. Collectively, it is viewed as unfair — especially in courses where you need to be aware of your prior efforts on assignments, so you can make changes accordingly to progress and get the grade you want.

Criminal justice major Yesel Carrillo is a senior at NMSU who has personally experienced this issue.

Carrillo shared, “Once I had a professor take like a whole month to grade three major assignments and one paper was specifically worth a lot of points.”

Carrillo said that the professor eventually reached out and explained why it had taken so long to deliver grades, which she understood, but the waiting game had already impacted her confidence and progress in class. “Why do we have to stress over deadlines, and they don’t?”

Tori DeThomas is a junior and journalism major at NMSU who experienced something similar after writing a long midterm paper one semester.

She said, “It took the professor like three weeks to grade, so for a month I didn’t know my grade and it was really annoying not knowing how that paper was going to affect my grade.”

I do recognize there are professors who work hard to put grades in at a timely manner and do regularly keep students informed of how they are doing, but for the few that make us wait, something needs to be done.

I conducted a survey of 150 local college students concerning the issue. Eighty-six percent of the students I surveyed said they’ve “had a professor take longer than three weeks to grade an assignment.” Sixty-six percent said the “professor’s delay in grading negatively affected their grade or progress.” Thirty-two percent of the students said “the longest a professor took to grade work or give feedback was a month,” while 26 percent said “it was longer than a month.”

So, if I have a deadline for assignments in the syllabus, maybe my professors should have their own deadlines.

I understand that professors have their own lives, and life definitely gets busy. However, if they set a deadline for themselves, it could benefit the performance and communication among their students. They also won’t have to cram their grading. Personally, I’d feel more confident in a class if grades or even feedback were given regularly.

There are also ways to voice our concerns with our professors and simply communicate with them. Send them an email or message or speak to them after class or during office hours. If our professors are aware, then they can make those needed changes and updates. Implementing a policy about how much time is appropriate for professors to take before giving us grades or feedback could be a solution too. Addressing this issue can really make a difference in the academic journey of a student. It may get frustrating at times, but we can get through it. We can handle it. We will.

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