“OMG! You Got My Grade Wrong!”

It’s about the time in the semester when students may start becoming concerned about their grades. There hasn’t been a day gone by lately that a student hasn’t popped in during my office hours to ask about grades.

How should a student approach you if he or she thinks you’ve recorded a grade incorrectly? Let’s come up with a list of do’s and don’ts. I’ll get us started:

DO: Visit me in my office. Show me your graded assignment that’s been handed back to you. Say something like, “It looks like the grade that’s on this assignment isn’t the same as the one that’s recorded in WebCT Vista. Could you check on that for me, please?”

DON’T: Write me a Facebook message saying, “OMG, Prof. Nixon! U screwed up 1 of my grades!”

I look forward to reading your thoughts on this topic.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcfox/271891873/

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8 responses to ““OMG! You Got My Grade Wrong!”

  1. Pingback: Checking on Your Grades « Making Connections

  2. I require the student come to my office during office hours so I can check the error and make the correction with them sitting in front of me.

  3. I would prefer a student see me during office hours with the graded assignment in hand. This provides proof of the grade and I can make the change in WebCT immediately.

    I do not respond to emails, phone calls, or Facebook/MySpace messages related to grades.

  4. I prefer an email even if a student alerts me in class that there’s a problem. I won’t remember the latter, but the former jogs my memory and allows me to provide feedback more quickly.

    Part of the management process is to establish assessment procedures at the start of the semester. I tell students that administrative mistakes may occur occasionally, but those can be corrected. A performance point spreadsheet is posted roughly every two weeks and the syllabus recommends that students track their points and notify me if there’s a discrepancy. And I explain that all points are reviewed and posted before final grades are submitted, which gives students a final opportunity to make sure the points are accurate.

    The question of how I’m notified, however, is different than how the notification is worded. I tell students that I’ll treat them with respect and expect the same. If a student’s comments reflects the assumption that I’m incompetent or biased or selectively messing with their grades, it doesn’t matter HOW they notify me.

  5. Chris Caplinger

    Students are responbile for keeping their graded work and presenting it to me in the event of an error. This would need to happen in person, because I’ll actually need to see the document. If he/she can’t produce the assignmnet, then I won’t change the grade.

  6. Ask that student to show evidence. Do they have the graded tangible work. Also pay attention to timeliness.

  7. I prefer an email alerting me to the potential calculation error. This gives me the opportunity to review the data and make any necessary corrections in a non-threatening manner. At that point I would reply to the students email and inform them of what I found and thank them for drawing it to my attention.

  8. Pam Bourland-Davis

    As Department Chair, I have found students often try to start the process of grade complaints or appeals with me.

    I will always ask whether the student has met with the professor to obtain final grades and to double check all records. Grades may be recorded in error or sometimes students don’t completely understand the grading scale. I can say that I’ve never met a professor who won’t correct a mistake if that’s the cause of the grade discrepancy.

    If for some reason, however, the grade is correct according to the professor, and the student feels it is not correct or does not follow the syllabus, he or she should then start a formal appeal. This appeal process is completed in writing and starts with a letter to the faculty member. If that answer isn’t satisfactory, the written appeal goes to the department chair for review.

    Note that this process requires a student to have a copy of the syllabus and grades. Any argument or position requires documentation and substantiation. A student must provide a compelling case in any appeal. “Just because,” “Someone else got…,” “I worked hard,” or “It’s not fair” will not provide a strong case and substantiation for a grade change. And not having any of your graded work, record of grades and/or syllabus would not be particularly persuasive (and it has happened).

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