A learner moves through uncertainty, optimism and confusion towards clarity as she seeks relevant information and formulates her focus. After collecting the information she needs with growing confidence, and writing and rewriting her paper until she reaches a level of satisfaction with it, she awaits her results. The assessment phase should bring with it a sense of accomplishment, but this assumes a successful outcome.
When her mark arrives, and it’s pathetic, those weeks of hard work loom large in the learner’s mind and the disappointment and shame merge with anger and resentment. That’s when she moves through the RUPMaP.
There’s globalising, feeling that her very identity is under attack: “I am a damn good [insert profession here], what do they know about me.”
There’s rebellion: “I’m gonna hand in the next assignment and I don’t care if it’s any good. I’ll show them.”
There’s the fight response: “This marker isn’t fair. I did an okay job. I want a re-mark.”
And the flight response: “It’s no good. I obviously can’t do it. There’s no point going on with it. I quit.”
There may even be acceptance: “Well, there are obviously extremely high standards, and I didn’t quite do it right.”
The learner may move through some or all of these stages, and revisit them throughout the process of coming to terms with the dud mark and making decisions about the future.
The process resolves in one of three ways:
- Pursuit of a re-mark, which leads either to satisfaction or further frustration and disappointment.
- Acceptance, after which the learner carries on with the course of study.
- Abandonment of the course, leading to both relief and disappointment.
An understanding of the RUPMaP can provide comfort and clarity to a learner in distress. Allowing the learner to move through stages of the RUPMaP is essential. Blocking the emotional responses that emerge after the shock of an unexpectedly poor mark can be detrimental to the learner’s health. A few drinks can also help, as well as watching some mindless TV.
Good luck to anyone coping with the receipt of unexpectedly poor marks.