The semester is officially over and the grades are in, which means that it's officially Grade Complaint Season. I don't mind showing students numerical breakdowns of how they did in class (actually, I do mind that, a bit; I hate having to quantify everything), but what I really don't like is finding multiple "Why did I get a B?" queries in my e-mail inbox. It makes me want to hide for the next two weeks and pretend I've skipped town already. Or growl and snarl and show my teeth.
On the upside, after this round is over, I'll never have to deal with another grade complaint again unless I decide somewhere along the line that I really, really want to return to teaching, which looks unlikely at this point.
Oh, and see generally Michael Bérubé, whose blog I've been reading of late (must update blogroll again), on the subject of how to reduce grade inflation (NYT, registration required). What he says about the default A/B scale in English departments — "English departments have basically worked on the A/B binary system for some time: A's and A-minuses for the best students, B's for everyone else and C's, D's and F's for students who miss half the classes or threaten their teachers with bodily harm" — is certainly true here. (Which is why it's especially galling to get deluged with change-my-B-to-an-A requests at the end of each semester.) I like his proposal that colleges factor in "degree of difficulty" in determining students' grades, but I'm kind of glad I won't be there if it ever gets put into practice.