I am an undergrad in the US taking an upper-level biology course with ~30 students. My professor has been grading some assignments in what I, and other students in the class, realize is quite unfair. For example, we had to post to a discussion online and respond to our classmates' posts. When it was graded, I received a 17 out of 20 total points. Upon looking at the rubric, there was a section for "initiative" - if you were one of the first 10 students to submit the assignment, you received the full points. I submitted my assignment pretty close to the due date, but it was turned in completely on time! I know professors reserve the right to grade how they see is best, but come on... If the assignment is turned in on time, how can the professor be allowed to take points off for not doing it early? This was not stated in the syllabus, and the rubric was provided only after grading was done.
Does this seem like a fair and legitimate way to grade students? Should I look into reporting this to someone higher up at the university? (Who?) I did already provide a course evaluation that raised these concerns.
Some other examples that I believe are not fair to students:
- She often says that she grades off the "best" student's work. Like for written assignments, she would say that she had to look at all of them, decide whoever's assignment was best, and then grade everyone based on that student's work. This makes everything a huge competition which is very frustrating.
- We had a poster project where other students and some professors were invited to come in and see them. She had observers put stickers on their "favorite" poster and those who received the most stickers received extra credit. However, many just put their stickers on the ones closest to the door.