A professor for my one course didn't calculate an attendance and participation grade into my final grade but it was worth 20 percent in the syllabus.

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    What evidence do you have to support this claim? – Chris Leary Dec 28 '17 at 3:09
  • Did this hurt or help you? Did it hurt or help others? There's not enough detail in your question for us to even attempt a reasonable answer. – Bob Brown Dec 28 '17 at 3:23
  • Chris, the evidence I have is my grades posted online by the professor that doesn't include attendance and participation although it was originally an a plus but has been taken down. I have photos of current grades as well as the hard copy of the syllabus. Bob it hurt my grade because it was originally an A plus and now there is no grade. – Jeffery Ishler Dec 28 '17 at 4:33

I would argue that an instructor has the right to deviate from the syllabus's method if it does not unfairly penalize any student.

I had this happen recently when I told a class that the weighting of the final exam was different from how it was calculated on the syllabus. Because the change benefited everyone in the class, except for one student who was right in the middle of a grade range (and was only disadvantaged by about 1 point out of 1000), and therefore was not hurt by the change, I kept the more beneficial weighting.

  • I don't believe that this is possible. Suppose that the change affects the relative rankings of students. Then it penalizes whoever went down in the rankings. Suppose that the change does not affect relative rankings but only shifts the grade distribution. Then it penalizes either the entire class or the rest of the school depending on the direction of the shift. Suppose that the change does neither. Then why bother making the change at all? Grades are used in practice to compete for scarce resources, and any meaningful change will affect how this plays out, necessarily hurting some people. – SolveIt Dec 28 '17 at 4:08
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    I don’t grade that way. I wouldn’t state or publish the relative rankings of students, and I don’t have fixed percentages of A’s and B’s, etc. If I change the grading scale, it’s by shifting grades uniformly by the same amount. So the change in principle shouldn’t have caused anyone’s grade to be lowered, and if it had, I wouldn’t have done it. – aeismail Dec 28 '17 at 4:50

A syllabus is often considered to be a kind of contract, which the instructor would be violating if they changed the terms without notifying the students. But in the case you're describing it's more likely either you or the instructor made an error in calculating your grade. It's certainly reasonable to ask for an explanation of exactly how your grade was determined.

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