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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Talking to Your Professor about Your Grades

Sometimes I hear professors talk about students who hold the professor responsible for their grade.  The reality is that students earn grades.  If a professor was going to "give" a grade to students, I don't think they would devote the time and energy into creating and grading course assignments.  They would merely look at a student and say, I like that student therefore I am going to give her an A or I'm going to give everyone an A.  So when you talk to your Professors about your grade, it is better to ask the Professor to explain how your grade was calculated.  Not, why did you give me that grade?

Professors also frequently hear, I need an A in this class.  If you need a particular grade, it is your responsibility to understand how the final grade will be calculated.  You should be monitoring your own progress toward your goal grade.  If you are unclear on how to calculate your grade, the professor would be more than happy to assist you. 

Professors are also informed by students that the student is the professor's customer.  This is an incorrect orientation toward a professor and it surely will not get a student very far.  If you really need to apply a business model to higher education (which really isn't applicable), you should look at professors as your boss!  Would you be late for work?  Would you ask for an extension on a special project?  Would you not complete the work that you were assigned to complete?  If you approached your work as you do your education, how long would you be employed?

At all times, you should approach a professor with respect.  If you are asking about your grade, be sure you understand the syllabus and assignment details.  When students approach me about a grade dispute, the first question I ask is what did it say on the syllabus.

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