Why Your Grades Take So Long To Show Up
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog is still waiting on a few grades, and judging by the comments, you are too. But it might not be entirely your professor’s fault: according to an email sent out to 1007 students by Prof. John Kender, Columbia’s grading system is more than 30 years old.
Columbia processes grades by using a system that was first released in 1972. In order to have kept it running for more than 40 years, it has consistently run special-purpose emulators that make its otherwise state-of-the-art systems think that they are stuck in the 70s and using an operating system called “CP/CMS”:
The grading system is written in a programming language called “Focus,” which in 1975 was one of the very first database languages developed and released:
But because of this, grades are processed only once per day, in a batch job that runs at about midnight every night. I am not making this up.
The university, recognizing that it is time for it to upgrade, does have plans for replacing the grading system. The upgrade is scheduled for the year 2020. I am not making this up either.
Update (Jan. 7, 3:50 pm):
Kender is concerned about the response this has received, and would like to clarify the following:
- I did in fact work in industry for two years between my MS and my PhD, and I have been a consultant to “real world” companies since 1979.
- I did not send out the same memo last year.
- I have never claimed that the only reason my grades were late were the system. I submitted course grades three days late (1/5, not on the due date of 1/2). But they appeared on student transcripts on 1/7.
- It is biologically impossible for me to be a bitch.
We’re not making this up either via Shutterstock