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Should I dispute my final grade?

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Anyway, I'm grateful for the responses to this post--despite the fact that many people seem to have misunderstood/overlooked the actual details of my situation.


After going through this over and over again on here, I've realized just how much I don't want to pursue this. I'm irritated, yes. I feel that I've been treated unfairly, sure--but I think the odds of getting the grade changed are slim. More than anything, opening a grade dispute would have been more about validating my point than getting a higher grade.


I really just feel like this guy is incredibly scattered and arbitrary. And I just love the fact that he gave me 25/100 points because I had one absense--this is despite the fact that he asked me and my two friends to stay after class to help him with a PowerPoint presentation. So, in total, I stayed an extra 45-minutes after class giving him pointers and tips about his PowerPoint so he wouldn't look like an unorganized mess at a conference, had one unexcused absense, and ended up with 25/100 points to show for it.


Ugh, I know I sound a little bitter--and I am--but, man, I'm just exhausted by even thinking about this now.


Again, thanks for the replies. I'm not going to dispute--even though I'd love to tell him exactly what I think about his class, especially his attendance policy. Respectfully, of course.

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Regardless of how you read my statement, I know what I meant by it--and your interpretation of my words is not what I meant. In fact, what I said was, "When you have a job, that's it--you do your work and you go home (hopefully) at the end of the day."


Funny how you cut out "hopefully" when you quoted me. Like I said, I'm not naive. I've worked plenty of jobs (teaching and community outreach) where the work doesn't stop just because it's 5pm.


Anyway, I'm done defending myself about this. I know what I meant and I definitely know what I said. So you can "cringe" as much as you like; the problem seems to be in the way you're choosing to read what I wrote, not in what I'm saying.

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With all due respect, your post was misunderstood by many as far as the requirement of posting your presentation "after", by several who responded here, so perhaps reconsider taking some responsibility for being unclear. Anyway, your "hopefully" still seems to make the point that you believe working people mostly go home at the end of the day, don't do volunteer work, don't have work to do from home or work that requires them to stay very late at the office. That's all I'm saying, so please don't blame me for your lack of clarity and for interpreting the words you wrote.


"hopefully' you will get a job where your boss has reasonable requirements - reasonable in your opinion - and is lenient as far as attendance unless you believe in your opinion that attendance requirements are important. I've had all kinds of managers/bosses and I'm a reasonable boss so hopefully you will find what you're looking for since you seem to be negative on what you see as arbitrary - and your definition of arbitrary seems a bit of an overreaction (and I mean, "a bit")


I successfully disputed a C grade in grad school - he was a visiting prof, he didn't abide by the curve, and as a result of my complaint and a few others, everyone who got a B or below was raised a grade. So I am not against disputing grades, just to make that clear.


good luck.

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Hey again, and thanks for the response on this.


I know that Urbana is probably a stretch at this point, as is UW (it's the one with the 50% acceptance rate). It just sucks because there are only so many MLIS programs, and a good number of them go out the window immediately based on location or the quality of the program.


Speaking of which, do you have any idea where I might be able to find a ranking of MLIS programs? Almost all of the top ones say that they're # 3 in the nation, #6 in the nation or whatever, but I haven't been able to find an actual ranking. Of course, I'm not basing my decision entirely on rankings, but they're a factor.


Thanks (again) for any help you might be able to offer.

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Thanks! I'd found that U.S. News and World Report list a while ago, but of course ran into the road block of lovely capitalism, lol.


Thanks, again--at least this way I can somewhat base my school choices on ones I'm more likely to be accepted to.


And UW is ranked at (or around) #4--that's just great. My top choice just had to be a top program. Typical, lol.


Now that this thread is completely off-topic...thanks (yet) again.

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be for real. Some of us who in your words 'misunderstood your post' read it the way it was written.


It appears to me that you felt posting it online was 'pointless'. If he said to do the presentation in class, and then upload it online 'afterword'.... He probably meant that they had the SAME due date. Not three weeks later. Not the end of the quarter.


So because you felt it was pointless, and you obviously had better things to do he docked your grade. This should serve as a lesson to you to follow the rules or guidelines to the letter. If you had questioned the due date prior to the choice you made you might have gotten a better grade.


As for your quick dismissal of my suggestion about attendance and how important it is, y es thats the real world.


Your absenses could have been excused if you had taken the time to get the proof (whatever that is) to the professor. If you had a funeral you attended, you could have gone to the office, whoever handles that and gotten an excuse. As for the school related conference that also could have been proven. Thirdly if you were sick enough to stay home from school you could have gone to the doctor to get a note to bring to the professor.


Every time that my husband misses work he always brings a note to his boss. Not that he thinks he will be fired, but because it is the right thing to do. In the real world most employers expect you to drag yourself into work unless you are sick enough for a doctor. It's all about choices.

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Here's the thing. The professor makes the rules for the grading system. He clearly sets out what the rules are upfront. Then you choose not to follow them.


Then you get angry when you get marked down for not following them.


If you went over the acceptable absense limit, all you have to do was tell the professor why. If you told him up front (or just after the fact) that you had to go to a funeral, he wouldn't mark you down. Instead, you just violated the rule and said to heck with it.


Same with the posting of the presentation. You just said to heck with it.


So the professor said, to heck with it, this guy is just an average student who doesn't respect his professors right to set the rules. So you got an average grade.


This is a hard lesson for you, but in life, you don't set most of the rules. Professors teach discipline along with their other subject areas. They are preparing you to go out and work in the world, and you need to follow the rules to succeed.


The world is full of a million hotshots who think they don't need to follow the rules. Some of them succeed, but many end up bouncing from job to job because they don't have enough discipline to succeed.


So take this as a lesson to take someone else's authority seriously. Your boss will set rules in future, and the result won't be a failing grade, but you getting fired.

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I fully agree. I felt like the OP was very dismissive of that aspect of the assignment and the attendance. Which to me shows a lack of respect for the requirements that they were asked to meet.


If I had that same assignment, to me posting it would mean the DAY OF the presentations. If the class was all presenting over several class periods then it would be impossible to put one date down. Its not even that hard to put things online, my research group did it every week.


It is not self important to make sure your students show up. What good is taking a class if you don't go? You behoove yourself with that responsibility when you enter into college. You pay tuition and fees for that class, you should be taking every moment of it seriously because that is your money at work. Not attending class is wasting your money.

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Where I work it is the same but that's not the point - the point is, almost every job has rules and guidelines to follow as far as attendance, they are usually in writing somewhere, and it's typically not up to the employee to judge them unreasonable and not abide by them. Obviously the employee can quit if he doesn't like them.

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Well, the OP really did only have one unexcused absense, so we shouldn't imply that she just skipped class willy-nilly, all the time. Granted, she knew the rules, so she needs to deal with the consequences... but her professor also had a pretty ridiculous attendance policy.


It was a policy she knew about from the first day and it was an elective class - her choice to take the class. I never implied that she skipped class for no reason, nor do I believe that to be true.

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In college, I had to write a complaint letter regarding a professor who was obnoxious and used bullying tactics toward anyone who questioned her grading policies. She went so far as humiliating this one girl by canceling two classes because she questioned her grading policy. This professor was a pyscho. Thankfully the administration investigated the matter and checked my final exam results to make sure that the professor didn't retaliate against me because I wrote the complaint letter. Your original post reminded me of this incident. With all that said, I don't see how you can dispute your final grade.


Your professor was pretty clear about the rules of the class. You knew about the rules before he enforced the rules in an adverse manner on you. In order to be fair and consistent to the other students, he had to penalize you. Since you knew about the rules beforehand, I really can't see the school doing anything regarding your grade. They would probably support the professor's grading policies since he was pretty clear and upfront about his rules regarding attendance and the presentation.


You could have had a good case if he did not do a good job of presenting his students the rules of his class and his grading policy. Some professors are extremely vague and unclear when it comes to explaining their rules to their students.


I also want to reiterate what someone else said. You should have had a private discussion with your professor about the absenses. If you had done that, there is a very good chance that he would have excused your absenses. You should have done it as early as possible. My professors excused my absenses because I discussed the absenses with my professors after class or in his/her office. I admit that some professors have some extremely draconian policies on attendance. However, most schools will support those policies because they want the students to show up for class.


By the way if you think the rules in schools are harsh and unfair, wait until you enter the workforce. A friend of a friend got fired for tardiness. In my workplace, you will get punished severely for using the internet for personal use. Yet management will do nothing if you are slow or make a lot of large mistakes. This one guy refused to process the mail he received from his customers out of laziness. That same guy got punished with a promotion to the supervisor position.

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There is nothing to lose from disputing the grade.


Professors play favorites all the time. Some like little girls, others like people who attend all of their classes no matter how badly structured they are. If you care about it and it is important to you, then you should at least try and get the grade fixed.


After all attendance is not a measure of your mastery of the course work its silly to force you to attend if you could pass otherwise. Rich kids and people who don't have other commitments have all the time in the world to sit through a pointless class but others don't and they shouldn't be penalized for it. Lecturers just want to to drag the whole thing out and interfere with your life to make themselves and the course look important.


I was so frustrated with the system; show up at 1am for a weekly 2 hour lecturer on a Friday and then they don't even teach they just read ! Wasting literally my entire day. They just cram information in because it is only a formality. Then they wonder why people don't want to turn up ! How is a person supposed to learn under those circumstances ?


Please challenge your grade.

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You should challenge it because he doesn't have the right to arbitrarily change your grade at a whim. He is a professor and not a King or a Lord. He is bound by the same rules that you are - he cannot just write what he wants into his class rules and expect to be able to get away with anything.


Whatever he puts in that contract has to be legal. I am betting there are rules your University has set out in regards to attendance and marking. It doesn't sound right that he can take marks off other pieces of work for attendance. He can't just fail you because he doesn't like you. If there is no date set for the submission online, challenge it. You posted it - that could be enough.


What angers me about this situation is that this man is pettily toying with your life for his own petty sake. If he had an attendance requirement worth so many grades that would be different. But being able to punish your other work for not attending doesn't sound right.

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Most of what you wrote in your post sounds groundless BUT if what you say is true, then *you* definitely should have challenged your grade.


1. I'm not saying that students cant tell the difference between good classes and bad classes BUT just because you dont "get" the professor OR just because you dont get a good grade in a class doesn't mean the class is badly structured or the professor is a bad teacher.

Sometimes a prof's teaching style and a student's learning style just doesn't mesh.


2. Attendance is important because the whole classroom experience is important -- what your peers say in a [discussion] class may be as important as what your prof. says. If this was not the case, schools need not exist, wouldn't you say? If people can get the same information by simply reading textbooks, why not just teach yourself by reading books about a certain subject?



3. Plus whatever you may think about a teacher, that person has the teaching and research experience under his/her belt that qualifies him/her to distribute certain knowledge to students and I think it's rather presumptuous for a student who's still learning to criticize the credentials of a prof. who's probably engaged in research in that field for several years/decades.


Of course, this is not to say that there aren't kooks or frauds in the academia but those people are systematically weeded out by something called the tenure system.



4. Moreover, IF the whole class gets a failing grade -- then obviously there is a problem with the way the professor is delivering his/her information to his/her students BUT if there are people getting good grades in a class that one accuses of being "badly structured," then can you really say that the problem lies with the teacher??



5. What course meets at 1 am? And why would finishing a reading assignment be a waste of someone's time if the essay/article/chapter includes information about a particular topic that you're trying to learn more about? Even though the professor may not specifically address the content of a reading assignment, usually that information becomes the basis of the discussion or the learning which takes place in that day's class.


Lol, I am so off-topic from the OP's original post but I just had to respond.

Sorry YabbaDabba for going off topic!

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Actually, university systems pressure faculty to LOWER grades, not raise them. They want to fight against grade inflation. C is supposed to be average, and they don't want everyone handing out Bs and As to everyone. I have taught college, and they constantly got after anyone who handed out too many As and Bs and who never handed out Cs. The grading system loses meaning if everyone gets Bs and As.


So they support professors who are NOT lenient with students. They also support the professor's judgement in awarding grades unless there is a clear evidence that the professor is universally unfair or discriminatory based on race or sex or other legal definition.


Let's say everyone else in the class did attend class and abide by the two absense rule and posted their presentations on time. Since you did less than that, that makes you at best an average, or less than average student who isn't entitled to the same grade as the students who did toe the line.


The point is it is his class and you can't decide that things the professor thinks are important aren't important. He made it clear what was important, and you decided it wasn't. So you pay the price.


What he is trying to say when he says it isn't fair to the other students is why should you get the same grade or better than someone else if you did less than someone else and didn't meet the criteria he established right up front.


In college, you are constantly rated against your peers. If you did less well than your peers, you will get a lesser grade.

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^See that's what I'm thinking more people need to know.


The prof I worked for discussed this in depth on several occasions. As her grader and as a past student in her classes, I was aware of the work and the information that needed to be understood. We talked about how students who only do the assignment expect to be given an A, but if everyone just did the assignment then that A would be average. A is supposed to mean excellence, so we discussed revamping the grading such that people who went beyond the basics and showed true excellence.


It worked well because students found out what it was like to think outside the box.

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I'm sure many of the people who responded to me on here thought I was just some whiner who only cares about getting As and Bs. That's not who I am. As you said, Izzy3910, despite the fact that this was an elective course, I clearly wasn't aware of the attendance policy beforehand. If I had been, I wouldn't have taken the class, that's for sure. One of the main reasons I took this class was because it was offered in the evenings and I had work/internship/volunteering and one required class during the day. And it was only an elective in the sense that it wasn't "required" to graduate, but I had to take something to meet my credit requirements for the quarter.


Anyway, I wasn't trying to be rude earlier when I said that it seemed like people had misunderstood some of what I was saying. The main focus of the responses seems to be on the importance of attendance and deadlines. The ever-popular "if your class were a real job..." analogy being a prime example of that importance. Well, I never said, nor do I believe, that attendance and meeting deadlines aren't important.


I was still upset when I made my original post, so obviously I wasn't as clear as I might have been otherwise. My problem isn't with my professor's expectation that I attend class or with him docking me points for the presentation.


What upset me was that, in my opinion, he'd been overly strict in his dealings--on top of that, he never even took attendance. Ever. And even if, as some people have said, I'd brought in a doctor's note for that one day I was ill, it wouldn't have mattered--according to his grading policy, because I'd missed those two previous days (which were excused), anything after that was unexcused since he only allows two excused absenses. So my being ill was a moot point and would have cost me 10% of my grade regardless of a doctor's note.


I attend a very good Jesuit university--attendance is always a percentage of your final grade. I have no problem with being docked for missing class--even if it's just one class. I just hate that he docked me nearly 10% of my final grade for one class. I wish I could be the perfect student with perfect attendance, but life manages to get in the way of that sometimes.


As for the presentation deadline, again--there wasn't one. I love that everyone keeps saying that I should have posted it the day after or the day of, etc. Well, guess what? I agree--if I'd done so, I probably wouldn't have this problem. Again, my issue with the fact that he gave us a failing grade is that he's extremely black-and-white. Either you do everything to the T, or you're unreasonably punished for it. It's easy to say that I should have done this or that, but in a class without concrete deadlines, timeliness stops mattering because it doesn't matter to the professor. Or, so I thought.


For example, we had a peer evaluation that was a component of the presentation and we posted that the day after we posted our "late" presentation, but he still gave us full points. And I turned in my final paper during the last week of classes (while most people turned them in a week and a half earlier), but he still gave me full points there.


I'm not in the habit of committing academic suicide. I knew this guy was an ivy league professor, so I wasn't about to slack in his class. It wasn't like I was sitting there going, "Screw you, I'll do it when I feel like it." Which is why, as you might have noticed, all of the talk on here about being a responsible adult began to irk me. I wasn't being irresponsible here, I just wasn't being as exact as my professor turned out to be.


I never expected an A in this class, and I still don't expect one. In fact, I was anticipating a B or , at the best, a B+. And if he'd said, "By the way, I'm docking you some points for your attendance, and a few points for not posting your presentation in a timely fashion. So, you're getting a B-, instead of the B you earned," I would have grumbled, but I'd have accepted that.


Losing one-quarter of my grade, or even one-half, is entirely different from losing a whole grade. What upset me was that he knocked me down an entire grade (from a B+ to a C+) for missing one class and posting my presentation "late."


So, yeah, I don't agree with the grade I was given, but I really feel like the process of disputing it is probably going to offer more headache than validation.

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First of all, you're making assumptions about my mindset. Yeah, I thought posting the presentations online was pointless, but so were a good many of the things he asked us to do. But I did 95% of his assignments in a timely manner despite the fact that he gave no concrete deadline on nearly all of those assignments. I'm an English major, but I can do the math: just because I may or may not think something is pointless doesn't mean I'm reckless enough to ignore it despite the fact that it'll have a negative impact on my grade. The only reason I waited to post the presentation was because he hadn't laid out a due date for it (or for most of the assignments, for that matter).


Also, I wasn't trying to be rude when I said people seemed to have misunderstood my post. The two absenses for the conference and the funeral were excused because I made him aware of the reasons I'd be gone. I informed him and offered to bring in documentation, but he declined and said it was fine. My problem is that he docked me 10% of my grade for a single absense. And, as I said in my response to Izzy (above), even if I'd brought in a doctor's note for the third absense, it wouldn't have mattered--he only allows two excused absenses period. Anything beyond that, whether it's excused or not, means you lose 10% of your grade.




You know, I wish I had been as cavalier with my grades in this class as you seem to think I was--at least then I really wouldn't have cared what my final grade was.


Once again, I did tell him about both the funeral and the conference. I even offered to follow his rule and bring in a note from the dean, but he said it was fine. So, please, don't tell me that I "violated the rule and said to heck with it." In my original post (and the subsequent ones), I stated that my problem isn't that he docked me for missing class, it's that he docked me so much for that one missed class. A full 10% of my final grade is just unreasonable for one missed class.


Secondly, I didn't just write off the presentation. I'm not sure how many times I have to repeat this but he has almost no deadlines. He's really gung ho about allowing students to work at their own pace and set their own deadlines. Even when someone asked, in class, when he wanted our readings to be done, he said that we could decide. Another time, someone asked him when he wanted our online quizzes (six of them) to be finished and, despite the fact that the quizzes were based off of our weekly topics, he said that as long as we had everything posted by the end of the course, it was fine.


Those are just examples of his attitude toward deadlines and due dates--in fact, his syllabus lacked almost any deadlines. So it's not that I didn't take his authority seriously, it's that, when it came to deadlines, he never had laid down any concrete guidelines for us to follow.


As for my getting fired of this were a real job, I would find that incredibly unfair, too.


If I had a boss who told my co-workers and I, "After the presentation, turn in your reports." Then someone said, "When do you want them?" and my boss said, "By the end of the month." How is it fair that just because most of my co-workers turned in their reports that day or the next day and I waited until the 29th of the month, I end up getting fired (or failing)?


My points is that it's difficult to disregard something like due dates if there aren't any. And being so severely penalized for not following the norm of turning in my presentation the day of or the day after--even though there wasn't a deadline--seems unfair to me.


Anyway, at this point, I'm not sure why I'm even arguing this. I know what my opinion is, I know the facts of the situation. I know that I think it's unfair--but I also know I'm not going to dispute the grade.


This post is somewhat of a moot point now, but it's bothering me that people are making assumptions and or mis-reading/misinterpreting what I wrote. Not meaning to be rude because I do appreciate the responses--and I completely respect those of you who disagreed with me but based your disagreements on the facts of what I wrote. It's the replies that got things wrong and made assumptions about me/the situation that are bothersome, really.

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It seemed to me that what you posted later was different than what you posted at first- so it was the inconsistencies that concerned me, the backpedaling I saw. That added to the impression of a bad attitude. Just my interpretation. I am sorry this is so frustrating for you.

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It seemed to me that what you posted later was different than what you posted at first- so it was the inconsistencies that concerned me, the backpedaling I saw. That added to the impression of a bad attitude. Just my interpretation. I am sorry this is so frustrating for you.


Well, considering that the facts of the situation haven't changed, there was no backpedaling on my part.


I realize that my original post was long and I was still pretty upset when I wrote it, but the only thing that was "different" in my later posts was further information and/or clarification.


And that additional info. only came about because so many people were making snap (or just incorrect) judgements about me and the issue. Everything that I've said in my posts has been the truth of the matter. Given, my opinion has obviously been colored by the fact that I feel I've been graded unfairly, but I'm not 'fibbing' or changing my story, etc. just for the sake of being right.


By all means, offer your opinions: I just don't appreciate being misinterpreted and then receiving uncivil responses. I can handle people disagreeing with me, but saying that I blew off assignments or ignored requirements is definitely irksome.

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i don't have time to repost the inconsistencies but in my opinion that was what you attempted to do and I think others had that impression too. I was also put off by what I saw as a somewhat cavalier attitude in the first post. Again, it's a message board, it's only words and words have limits.


Again I know how frustrating it is to feel like you deserved a better grade.

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Well, I just re-read the entire 6-pages of this thread and I haven't seen anywhere that I changed my story or backpedaled. So, again, if that's an issue, it was most likely more a matter of interpretation or me not being as clear as I could have been as I laid out the facts.


Re-reading the thread though, has made me realize that despite the fact that his attendance policy is insanely strict (there's nothing that will convince me otherwise about that), I did take the class and, thereforeee, agreed to be subject to his rules. Even though two of my three absenses were unavoidable, and the third was just one of those sick days that everyone has, it was just a case of bad timing combined with an overly strict attendance policy. I didn't know about the policy beforehand, had very little choice/option to switch classes, but, again, in the classroom the professor's word is often law. Unfortunately.


So, at this point, my main gripe is still with the low grade on my presentation. Even after going back through the six pages of responses on here, no one has given me a valid reason for why I shouldn't feel unfairly treated about that. Most people have only offered lists of "should haves" and "I would haves."


Well, I should have turned in the presentation earlier because then I would have gotten a non-failing grade.


Hmm, excuse my sarcasm there. It's not directed at anyone in particular. It's more about the fact that this entire situation has turned into a lovely case of hindsight is 20/20 for me.

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Agree to disagree? Perfect. Let's call it the "theme" of this thread, lol.


I'm not disputing because I've already graduated. And I've already moved two hours away. The professor won't be there next year. More hassle than it's worth to have my grade upped from a C+ to a B- (I'm not expecting anything more than that, really). And that's just assuming they'd side with me over an ivy league professor that they invited to teach for a year.


Anyway--I think I'm officially done with this thread. Even if a few of the responses were somewhat irksome, overall they helped my sort out my thinking on this--including those that disagreed with me.

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