Dealing with complaints ...
Having worked in education for almost 20 years - one has become used to the fascinating array of complaints that head my way.
Before someone reads this blog article and gets all self righteous. In among these complaints are valid concerns which I have upheld, supported and managed. Yet sadly these are not as common as you may wish to believe. Often complaints about different educational issues in my experience come when the customer aka student has a mistaken view of what they have experienced.
Common complaints include:
- My tutor has marked this question too harshly - I deserve at least X extra marks. When we investigate, we often find the opposite. The tutor was generous in spite of the best efforts of the student. When we offer to give them the correct marks, they are suddenly keen to keep their original mark awarded.
- Exam question X is wrong - it should be Y. Irrespective of the fact that exam papers are checked by different parties before they get in front of the student. My personal favourite is when they complain bitterly about a specific question - yet the concept being addressed is a core subject. Another is when they officially complain that the technical configuration in a question is incorrect - a question that asks them to identify issues in a configuration (go figure).
- My tutor has not returned my marking on time? We do get late markers - they either need support or management. However when we drill down, we discover that the student thinks that once they submit it should appear within a couple of days. In spite of all of our efforts to convey that the assignment will be returned up to a maximum of 14 days.
- The question is too hard - really? Sometimes we may consider this when the module/course we deliver is new. Yet when it is used (in different forms) every year - we have tried and tested questions that have stood the test of time over the last ten years.