So I took this online class and the professor didn't grade our exams till the end of the semester and I was surprised to learn that I got a 0 on the first one. Now I remember taking this test and while I may not have gotten a perfect score, I don't think I did bad enough to deserve that grade. So I talked to him about it and he said he has a couple of blank scantrons and can't figure out which is which so he gave a couple of us a 0 instead. The thing is, the testing center at my college won't let you turn in a test unless everything has been filled out and I'm 100% sure that I didn't knowingly take the test without putting my name on it.

What do you think I should do? He also mentioned in the middle of the semester about losing his laptop or something like that, do you think he's lying about the blank scantrons to cover up the fact that he may have lost them and won't take responsibility for it? I was talking to him through email yesterday and now he won't respond. It really hurt my grade and he won't do anything about it. I NEED HELP!

  • 11
    I lost a student's test once. With no way to assess the student's performance, I assigned a grade of 100%. For the remainder of my career, I checked that each test had a name on it before allowing the student to leave the exam room, and came prepared with a giant binder clip.
    – Bob Brown
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 23:35
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    @BobBrown I second this. When in doubt, error on the side of benefiting the student. This professor seems to have done the exact opposite.
    – DC 541
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 23:45
  • 4
    If this is accurate, you should talk to the Department Chair.
    – JoshuaZ
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 2:30
  • 2
    Is the professor claiming that there are scantrons missing names or completely blank of answers? If the scantrons are missing the names (who knows, maybe it happened) and all other names are accounted for, I would think that, at the very least, you can make the argument that the unnamed people should receive the lower of the two grades, rather than a zero. This is a problem that is definitely compounded by the professor grading the tests so late in the semester. I completely agree with DC541 that there is something odd happening here, but proceed with caution.
    – Van
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 14:12

2 Answers 2


In my assessment, the professor acted somewhat negligently here. (Albeit maybe not lying).

I find it odd that he claims that he had a few blank scantrons without names, so he just gave people 0 points on the test. Really? He doesn't even have the presence of mind to email students and ask if there had been a mistake? This seems incredibly lazy. (Not to mention the fact that he waited until the end of the semester to grade the tests). I'm not sure it would be too far beyond the call of duty for him to have at least email students to verify if what he is seeing is correct. I would have done this for students I have, especially if they were turning in the homework and completing other assignments.

I do wonder how in the world your testing center would return blank scantrons to a professor. At every school I have ever taught at or attended, the testing center produced scantrons with student names computer printed on the top. And the testing center always scored the scantrons. Does this professor have his own scantron reader?

Moreover, every testing center I have ever interfaced with kept records. Surely your university keeps digital records of which students have taken the test, right? I'm pretty sure my undergrad institution kept computer-based testing center records even in 1996.

As Buffy says, I would stay away from accusing the professor of being a liar. But make this professor account for testing records recorded by the testing center. I'm of the opinion that this is actually part of his job description (implicit or otherwise).


I doubt that he is lying. There is little, if anything, to gain. I think the best you can hope for is to ask him if he will let you take a retest - even if it is a quick oral exam on the "missed" material.

I'm not sure why you haven't learned of this before now. Is there something you neglected to do earlier. If so, it is harder to get any satisfaction at this point.

But is your professor who can help you, not the people here. Email isn't a good way to handle things like this. You need to go see him if it is at all possible.

If you don't get a quick reply from email the reason could be benign or not. If you can't go see him and you don't get a reply, ask his superior to have him contact you. Don't make an initial complaint, I think, until you have tried other avenues.

It is possible, of course, that a scoring sheet was lost, but also possible that it was lost by someone else in the system. Be careful about accusations, especially of those who have power over you. Investigate first.

  • If the class is online, I wonder how feasible it may be for the OP to go to the professor in person. If possible to go in person, I would agree that it is best to try to find the professor face-to-face.
    – DC 541
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 23:23
  • @user102164 "Be careful about accusations, especially of those who have power over you. Investigate first." I think that's all you need to know. Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 23:27

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