November 29, 2016

Tips on disputing a final grade


By Kendall Rabeneck–

When final grades start to flow in, some might be lower than desired. If the cumulative or semester GPA is too low, some students might lose financial aid, be kicked out of the honors program or become ineligible for an organization.

On the opposing side, many professors dislike receiving requests from students asking for higher final grades. In order to not anger the professor and have the chance to receive a higher grade, here are tips on how to do it.

Figure out if you have an argument. Predict your grade before finals week. Factor in the grade you are most likely to receive from the course before taking the final. During this analysis, consider the best and worst case scenario. After taking the final exam or turning in the final project, determine how you feel on the test or paper in relation to other course assignments.

This way you do not have any surprises for the final grade. Look at the grade as soon as it come back. If the grade is higher than expect, then celebrate. When the grade is lower, look at the point value to figure out if you need to talk to the professor. For example, if you have constantly performed in the “B” range, odds are you do not deserve an “A.”

Quickly notice major differences. If a grade is way below expected or a zero appears in the grade report, reach out to the professor about what happened. Sometime factors such as attendance rate or participation can be a result, but mistakes can happen as well. Figuring out what happened with the professors helps clear confusion.

“I retook this class, and my paper came back as a zero,” senior Christine Dillman said. “Apparently, it was reported as plagiarized. Turned out I plagiarized myself from the previous semester since the paper was the same. I almost had to take the class for a third time.”

Look for inconsistencies. Professor are human just like anyone else. Sometimes when recording grades, they can incorrectly enter in a grade that affect the outcome of the final grade. If a professor hands back assignments, make sure the grades match. If some points do not match with your final grade, contact your professor with the proof.

Junior Stephanie Hekeler talked to professors after grades were posed. “I had an A-, but was .03 points off. A paper she (the professor) entered was wrong, so I emailed her,” Hekeler said. “Even though she did not notice it was wrong she gave me the grade anyways. Then she emailed the class to not complain about the grade. I got lucky.”

Be professional. If there is an unsatisfied grade, be respectful to your professor. Being aggressive to them, makes them less willing to work with you. Use proper titles like “Dr.” or “Professor” when addressing them in email. Do not attack them, but explain the situation in a calm tone. If the matter is serious, talk to the professor face-to-face to work the matter out.

“I had to go to his office to talk to him,” Dillman said. “Showing the two papers and explain what happened resolved it quickly.” The easier it is for you to work with the professor, the more open they will be to your argument.

Accept the outcome. No matter what, you should accept and respect the professor’s decision. Their job is to critique your understanding of the course. If you prove to them you are worthy of a higher grade, then you will be rewarded.

Do not bash them for their decision. Writing bad review on them or reporting them because they didn’t raise your grade shows immaturity. The faculty of the university will pick up on it. This semester might not be your best performance. When professor disagrees with you on your final grade, accept it.

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