UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The spring 2021 Starfish mid-semester progress reporting window opened March 1 and will conclude on March 10, giving instructors the opportunity to raise flags or give kudos to students as feedback on their performance.
Flags are intended to draw attention to a concern and can be viewed by academic advisers, who are then expected to clear flags when certain criteria are met. Students are encouraged to respond to flags by reaching out to their instructor or academic adviser. Academic advisers can help address issues students may have or activate the larger support network within Penn State. Kudos let students know they are on the right track and reports indicate that receiving instructor feedback through kudos can be a powerful motivator.
The mid-semester progress reporting window is crucial for giving students feedback on their performance so they can plan for the future and ideally improve their grades. It occurs at a critical part of the semester when many students take mid-semester exams, and it precedes the course registration window for summer and fall, which opens on March 17, as well as the late-drop deadline of April 9. With alternative grading approved by Faculty Senate earlier in the semester on Jan. 26, students have even more time to plan with academic advisers on how to manage courses and grades this semester.
Many factors can affect a student’s performance, from issues in their personal and home lives to lack of access to technology. Flags from multiple instructors can signify deeper problems that might need to be addressed by a wider support network.
“It’s important that students keep in touch with their instructors and academic advisers, especially if they are remote learners,” said David Smith, associate dean for advising and executive director of the Division of Undergraduate Studies. “Instructors, academic advisers and the wider support networks at Penn State can make a significant difference in a student’s life and learning, but that initial communication from an instructor has to happen first.”
Students are encouraged to consult the resources at keeplearning.psu.edu, where they can find information on effective learning, health and safety, semester planning, technology resources and more.
The Division of Undergraduate Studies is part of the Penn State Office of Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu.