I take the required course through another university in order to graduate earlier, and that is how my nightmare starts.

From the first few weeks, everything was going fine; however, after the mid-term, the professor approached me and said she needed to talk to me. When I went to see her, the first thing she asked me to do was read aloud of the instruction of the exam (which I felt being insulating because English is not my native language). The instruction is basically said this exam contains the answer key, do not take them with you or take any pics and hand in back as same as it is.

After I read it, she asked me "where is the answer key"? I immediately realized that she thought I took her answer key. I told her that I did not take your answer key, because when I reviewed the exam, I thought the scantron was the answer key. She said it's fine and she would take me out of the report (What report!!??) Per my understanding now, everyone should have an answer key, instruction guild, and scantron on the exam when she hands back for us to review. However, what the hell would I know it as we just had a few mins to review our exam back at that time?

BTW, I remembered when she handed in the exam, I saw my classmates do not even have instruction paper being stapped on the exam, meaning that it may be a simple mistake that she forgot to staple the answer key on my exam.

After this incident happened, she kept giving me lower grades. I compared my papers with my classmates. Most of them got full points without following her instructions or writing properly. She makes comments saying I did not answer questions, but I did answer all the questions in my paper. My friends reviewed my papers and all agree with me, so the professor may not even finish my paper.

I am so upset and I really need to pass this class. What should I do? Go to talk with deen or persons with higher positions? I just felt like because I am not coming from the school she works, so she treats me differently. However, ironically this course is ethics. She was not supposed to accuse me of things I have never done and based on her bias to treat me differently compared with others. I really don't know what to do...

  • 2
    Escalate. How to do that depends on the country/culture.
    – Peter
    Apr 17, 2019 at 9:07
  • 3
    "I told her that I did not take your answer key, and when I reviewed the exam, I thought the scantron was the answers" I can't make any sense of this sentence.
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 17, 2019 at 15:48
  • 3
    "Answer key" means the list of correct answers, something that typically only the professor/TA/etc would have. Do you instead mean the sheet where you write your answer choices? So this test had 3 pieces, A) a list of questions, B) an answer sheet, and C) a scantron page, and you were never given (B) and then accused of removing (B) from the test room?
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 17, 2019 at 16:02
  • 3
    I am not sure if I would trust your friends to give you good objective information in this case!
    – Dawn
    Apr 17, 2019 at 18:41
  • 2
    Honestly your story sets off alarm bells. Students struggling with language skills often fail to follow instructions, and not even be aware of the fact, believing they did follow instructions. Students also tend to not understand why they lost points versus other students, since they didn't understand how to get the right answer in the first place. I'm also wondering about the mix of scantron tests and writing. How big is the class? The professor may not even be the one grading your writing. Apr 17, 2019 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


Two steps:

  1. Ask her for a meeting in her office where you can talk in peace and phrase your concerns in a friendly but clear way. First say that your feeling is that there is a problem but you are not exactly sure what it is and why it is there. Then ask what you can do to improve the situation. Don't make any accusations ("You grade my papers worse!!") and dont get personal ("You don't like me!") that will just make her defensive. Rather say things like "I feel that something in our communication is not quite optimal and I am here today to ask what I could do to improve the situation.".
  2. If this meeting does not improve the situtation then you will need to go higher up in the food chain and talk to whoever this is.
  • Can I ask her to review my papers again? If she refuses, will I fail the final?
    – user106838
    Apr 17, 2019 at 16:22
  • 1
    You should ask her to go over your papers with you and explain what you needed to do to earn full points. Frankly you should have done this after the first bad paper. Then you could have improved!
    – Dawn
    Apr 17, 2019 at 18:40
  • I asked her about how to get full points before the incident took place. I followed her guilds but I did not get good grades. So, I went over my classmates' papers, and make me realize that she graded me unfairly on purpose. My classmates did not follow her instructions and it could tell that they were wrapping up the papers in the last minute. But, They still got full points..... what can I say :(
    – user106838
    Apr 17, 2019 at 19:35
  • 1
    @user106838 You should NOT ask her to review your papers again because you would ask her to indirectly admit to misconduct (graded your papers worse than they are) and she is not going to do this. But yes, you can follow Dawn's advice.
    – lordy
    Apr 18, 2019 at 6:41

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