As crunch time hits for UNH students heading into the final weeks of the semester, some have noticed that their midsemester progress reports were never posted online to Blackboard.
“Years ago, Faculty Senate mandated that new first year students and new transfers, statistically vulnerable student populations because of transition issues, receive midsemester progress reports,” University Registrar Andy Colby said. He said midsemester reports were not on a standard A-F scale but on a number scale.
“Those progress reports are reported by instructors at a defined time of the semester,” Colby said.
For incoming freshman or transfer students, the transition from high school or a former campus can be quite challenging and these reports can help guide students.
“These reports that are given to freshmen and new first year students help the Associate Dean’s office identify which students appear to be having challenges in their first semester on campus,” Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Kimberly J. Babbitt said.
Babbitt said the main goal of having midsemester progress reports for freshmen and new first year students is to help the Associate Dean’s office identify which students appear to be having challenges in their first semester on campus.
“Review of midsemester progress reports helps me to identify which students I should reach out to suggest that they should meet with faculty and/or advisors or me,” Babbitt said.
Following midterm exams, progress reports are made accessible for students on their Webcat accounts. Sophomores, juniors and seniors, however, do not receive these reports and they are not available on Blackboard.
Senior Kayla Donnelly said she thought it would be beneficial to have midsemester progress reports. “It would give you a general sense of how you’re doing in the class and could really help you for the next half of the semester. Also, I think your midterm grade should be posted to Blackboard ––privately of course,” she said.
Donnelly said having the option of midsemester progress reports could also help some students who would like to know how they are doing in each class to determine how they could improve in any way.
Junior Ashley Demato agreed that progress reports would be beneficial to all students. “I think midsemester progress reports and midterm grades should be posted for upperclassmen,” she said. “This should be a requirement because it is hard to know where you stand if your test grades are in the average/middle spectrum. Having this would only benefit students and could not hurt anybody.”
Senior Lecturer in English Stephanie Harzewski and Associate Professor of English Lisa Miller also spoke on the subject.
“I think they are a necessity for first-year students, or at minimum for the fall semester, as a check-in and as a formal sign that grades do matter. I have only ever been asked to do midsemester grades for freshmen and transfer students, and I think for juniors and seniors they are somewhat gratuitous but I have never been asked to do them for upperclassmen,” Harzewski said.
Miller said that she thinks it’s good idea to give midsemester progress reports to freshman and transfer students in order to ensure they are “on the right track.”
“What I try to do in every class is make sure students have a grade on at least one assignment before midsemester, so they have a way to gauge how they’re doing,” Miller said. Overall, she said she does not post midsemester grades for every student.
Based on the feedback from students and faculty, the general feelings about progress reports seem to be mixed. While students would like an opportunity to gauge how they’re doing during the semester, many professors don’t seem to find it necessary for upperclassmen. For now, the traditional progress reporting system seems to be working well for the students it impacts.