Student Question

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So im in a bit of a situation...i had my final grade (A) reduced to a C+ because i had apparently missed 2 classes more than i was allowed to stated by the syllabus. The thing is, i sent my professor an email on two occasions explaining reasons beforehand that would have prevented me from attending class, to which he responded well. I thought that he had excused my absences for these two occasions (i had to miss other classes on the days i emailed him about and my other professors excused my absences, so i was under the impression that he had done the same) only to find my final grade tanked because of something i thought was previously resolved. To make things worse, this 1 grade is preventing me from making the GPA cutoff for my major and could affect my scholarship stance, so if remains a C+ i am COMPLETELY screwed. Do i have any hope or basis for convincing my professor to change my grade? I participated in class, asked questions, did very well on the quizzes and exams but am getting a C+ because of missing two classes which i thought i was excused for?

From reading much of your (professor's) responses to grade grubbing, it seems the common consensus is that you avoid caving because assigning someone a grade they didnt "earn/work for" is a bit unethical. In my case, i studied for hours and worked hard to do well on all the quizzes and exams, but due to absences i thought i was excused for, i am getting a much lower grade that has dire consequences.

I think you'll be hard-pressed to find many people here who would advocate for your professor changing your grade for this reason. If the syllabus said that you were allowed to miss X classes and you missed X + 2, you have to accept the consequences. I have to say, I'm a little skeptical that your professor would've made it seem like that was okay. (It's hard to know, for example, what you mean when you say that your professor "responded well" to your emails.)

Assigning someone a grade that they didn't earn (no scare quotes needed) isn't "a bit" unethical - it's hugely unethical.

(I'm not a professor, FWIW - I'm a grad student.)

You need to have a face-to-face meeting with your professor.

I'm not slamming you, but we don't see the entire story and only have your post to work from.


Hi Breaking,

First of all, your grade is not based on how hard you worked.  Your grade is based on how you performed.  "Performance" is measured according to the grading rubric and policies presumably found in your professor's syllabus.

If the syllabus specifies that you could only miss X number of classes, and that after this your final grade would suffer specified penalties, then you really did screw up.  A professor writing you back and thanking you for keeping him informed is not the same as a professor excusing you from class requirements.

You can certainly print out those e-mails from your professor, sit down with him, and ask him to reconsider on the basis of your misunderstanding (your thinking the absences were "excused," and therefore not subject to penalty).  I wouldn't mention the "dire consequences," because those are your problem and are completely unrelated to your performance in the professor's class.

If your professor won't hear you, you can certainly go over his head and discuss the matter with the dean of students (or other appropriate individual at your school).  Understand that most professors consider this a hostile action.  Also understand that at most schools this is one of the things the deans of students are there for--to represent and advise students in difficult situations.

Good luck.  If, however, the syllabus really does spell out the penalty which the professor specifically exacted for your absences, then you need to prepare yourself for the possibility that nothing will change, no matter what you do.

If I was in your situation, I would email the professor and ask if he would be willing to meet to discuss it. DO NOT whine or say it's not fair. Explain that you misinterpreted his emails and see what he says.


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