Administration at my school has classified a class* I teach commonly as “challenging”.
To me, a challenging class is about the inputs required of a student.
To my school, challenging is about the grade the student earns that I output. A course is labeled challenging if more than 25% of students earn a C- or lower.
You read that correctly. We still label a C as “average”, so if more than 25% of your students are below average you’re challenging. Huh?
The message from my chair was clear: give the students some assignments early on that clue them into what they’re in for. Fair enough.
The message from my university was not clear.
* In fairness, there are other classes labeled this way as well. In fact, the entire slate of 1000 and 2000 classes in my Department of Economics and Finance were labeled challenging.
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