As a marker, there are always some students who will email requesting to meet as they disagree with the marking. According to the professor, the marker should solve students' marking issues but I am uncomfortable with those students who insist that marks should be given in their way. Some of them are disrespectful. If I refuse to meet them, they will complain to the professor about me not engaging with students and the professor will criticize me. Should I engage with these students?

  • 12
    I notice you asked a very similar question two years ago (and got some excellent responses). And another. And another. Hmm....
    – cag51
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 4:43
  • Which country? This is heavily country-dependant.
    – Tommi
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 12:31

2 Answers 2


According to the professor, the marker should solve students' marking issues

There you have it. Yes, meeting with students and explaining your reasoning is one of your job duties. Even good graders make mistakes, and even good students sometimes don't understand where they went wrong.

I am uncomfortable with those students who insist that marks should be given in their way.

You do not need to negotiate with students. You need to explain why they were incorrect, and explain how the point deduction was calculated. (Hopefully you've been using a rubric so that students are consistently docked the same number of points for each offense -- if not, you should start.)

When students try to "insist," you can explain that it wouldn't be fair to adjust penalties on a case-by-case basis. You can be pretty blunt here: "I provide these meetings so I can answer your questions. I've already explained why you lost points; I am not going to debate with you on every question."

Some of them are disrespectful.

You certainly don't need to tolerate this. "I find that statement very disrespectful. If you continue to be disrespectful, I will ask you to leave." If you do in fact ask a student to leave, or not to return, you should pre-emptively send the professor a note concisely explaining what happened (e.g., "FYI, I told John he was not welcome in my office after he called me a _.").

  • 2
    That rubric is your most important tool. Not only will it help assure correct marking, it will help prevent you from making mistakes in marking. And, of course, if you do make such a mistake, you must correct it.
    – Bob Brown
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 8:59
  • +more for rubrics. A good rubric w/ appropriate comments can actually eliminate the questions of "why did i score X on this"
    – ivanivan
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 14:41
  • @Bob Brown: I totally agree, and here's a description of what worked for me. Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 19:57
  • There are some guys who just refuse to leave before they are satisfied. What to do with them? Call security? Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 0:18
  • I have never had that problem. A simple statement of "I understand that you disagree but my decision is final. We're done here" has always been sufficient for me. Calling security would be a bit extreme unless there is a safety issue or you have asked them several times to leave with no avail. Moreover -- you seem to have been struggling with this issue for several years now; it may be time to schedule an appointment either with an experienced teacher or a therapist, depending on where the issue lies.
    – cag51
    Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 10:40

Almost everyone is uncomfortable with confrontation. Being an adult means being uncomfortable when you have to.

My announced policy was that if I had made a mistake, I'm happy to change it. If not, we're not going to have a discussion about harshness. They love the word "harsh," and no matter how little you deduct for an error, you're still "too harsh" for their taste.

Nope, the sentence I used was, "Everyone gets screwed the same. That's fair." You get better grades by being a better student, not because you're a tenacious negotiator. In extreme cases, I would eventually say, "OK, at this point you're cheating and I'm about to turn you in to the Student Judiciary." What? "It's academically dishonest to try to get an unfair advantage over your fellow students. So it's cheating." Game over.

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