13 May 2009

While you wait

Q. I am unhappy with my FINAL grade and would like to see it changed. What can I do?

A. Unfortunately, you have waited until too late for most remedies. Now that the grades are final I will NOT:
* Offer additional extra credit opportunities;
* Change the break point between letter grades;
* Reconsider subjective grades (like a paper or a studio project) unless they were returned so late that you did not have the opportunity to review the paper until after the end of classes; or
* Accept late assignments or offer make-up exams without excused absences (as approved by Martin Hall).
You should understand that these are not fair to the students who worked so hard to come to class on time, take good notes, get their work in on time, complete the extra credit, and take advantage of office hours and test review sessions.

However, there are some appropriate reasons for which I would consider a grade change. If you are requesting that I reconsider your grade, you should suggest which of the following reasons applies:
a) there seems to be a computational error in calculating your grade;
b) there seems to be a reporting error in calculating your grade;
c) you believe there was a scoring error on one of your exams;
d) you believe that you showed significant consistent improvement over the course of the semester (65%->75%->85%) and should receive special consideration; or
e) you want to submit late work under an excused absence.

If you are going to argue your case on a subjective grade, you certainly should focus on the SPECIFIC element of the grade (like "Test #2", or "the graphics grade on the final studio project") that you think should be reconsidered, not the overall final grade.

If you are close to the next grade and don't see any justifiable reason to request a change, you should at least try to get a copy of your final (by the first week of classes of the next semester) and check that there was no scoring error.

You certainly should EXPLAIN why a change of grades would be appropriate. I won't even respond to vague general requests to reconsider.

Ask yourself this simple question, is there some strong evidence that clearly demonstrates that your ability and knowledge are superior to your performance on the measures used in class? Is there a specific and appropriate reason that your test scores were not as high as they should have been considering your level of knowledge and ability?

Your grade is YOUR grade. Please do not ask me to change it because of someone else's (e.g., "I worked harder than him but didn't get as good a grade". If I erred and gave him a higher grade than he deserved, it doesn't mean that you deserve it too.) Instead, show me how your grade would be wrong even if you were the only person in the class.

Try not to insult me in your requests. Telling me that I am not FAIR is a really good way to make me feel less like helping. Plus, if I am really unfair, you should probably be discussing the matter directly with the department chair.

Try to avoid obvious lies. Students shouldn't tell me that they never missed a class when they know that I called on them 6 times and they answered twice.

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