eSIS displays blank grades last semester
February 16, 2007
Any university student knows the feelings that surround final exams. There’s stress from trying to get everything finished on time, fatigue from pulling all-nighters, anxiety from wondering if studying wasn’t enough and finally, relief after grades come in. However, after last semester, some students at UW-River Falls didn’t get to experience that relief. Instead of grades, some students received blank spots in their grade reports on eSIS.
Faculty Senate Chair Wes Chapin became aware of the issue while recently talking with his international relations students about the issue of late grades.
“I have no idea how many students were affected on campus,” Chapin said. “But 10 out of 32 students [in my class] had one or more blank grades for a significant time after grades were due.”
According to a policy passed by the Faculty Senate and signed by Don Chancellor Betz in spring 2005, grades are due five business days after the last day of finals. This past semester, due to Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on consecutive Mondays, the deadline fell on Jan. 2, later than previous years.
Chapin said this “holiday anxiety” added to student concerns, which, in turn, added to the unease about grades.
Like Chapin, Registrar Dan Vande Yacht was completely unaware of the issue.
“We didn’t know about it until Wes mentioned it,” Vande Yacht said. “We received phone calls about late grades, incompletes and transcript requests, but none that I know of in regards to blank grades.”
Vande Yacht said the Registrar’s Office sends out hundreds of transcripts at the close of every semester to potential employers and transfer schools. Each of these transcripts is looked over before it is sent out, and no grades were found blank in the transcripts from last semester.
It is not known at this point whether this was a technical or faculty error, Vande Yacht said. “The faculty can enter grades during the day, which then go into a roster. We run the system every night and post the grades,” Vande Yacht said. “We usually enter an [incomplete] grade if grades aren’t in, but never a blank grade.”
Regardless of the mystification as to the reason for the blank spots, there was still irritation among the students who received them. Malisa Hyland was one of those students.
“One of my grades was blank until well after January 2, when grades were due,” Hyland said. “It was annoying because I wanted to figure out what my GPA was so I knew if I made the Dean’s List.” The mention of the Dean’s List brings up another pertinent question: Did the blank spots affect grade point average (GPA) and therefore have a potential effect on financial aid eligibility, scholarship qualification or academic progress in general?
Vande Yacht said the Registrar’s Office is not aware of any dire issues that resulted from the blank grades. He said that as far as he knows, the blank grades have since appeared. However, there is a plan to go back and re-evaluate the Dean’s List to be sure.
While the issue seems to have resolved itself for the most part, Vande Yacht said that this will definitely create a wariness that didn’t previously exist. “All we can do at this point is look back into the database, do some research and talk with our colleagues who use the same system to see if they’ve ever experienced similar problems,” Vande Yacht said. “Most importantly, we can be mindful of it for spring semester.”
Anyone who experienced blank grades is encouraged to contact the Registrar’s Office at 425-3342.