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I'm a professor's assistant and design the exercises for his class. Each week the students are assigned some homework, which will be corrected by a tutor. I got an email from a student, who "complains" about his tutor.

In essence, he does not understand the grading of his tutor. While the tutor answers his questions during the weekly exercise about his grading, he does not honor the request to be more transparent in advance.

The student makes it clear, that he has no bad intentions, he would be satisfied if this is just the way it is (and he is just used to more clear grading from other classes). He didn't contact the tutor directly, because he doesn't have his email address and he wanted to raise awareness to this issue.

Now, I'm unsure how to proceed. We have a weekly meeting with all three tutors and the professor where we talk about stuff related to the class, but I don't want to paint him in a bad light in front of the others.

Specific questions:

  • Should I refer to the student by name or leave him anonymous?
  • Should I mention this to the professor?
  • Should I speak with the tutor 1on1 or bring this up as a generic mention to all tutors?
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  • The tutor is an employee? Like a grad student? – Azor Ahai -him- Dec 13 '20 at 22:25
  • It's a mix of grads and undergrads. – infinitezero Dec 13 '20 at 22:48
  • Gotcha. In my sphere, a tutor would have been a third party that the student employs independently for extra help. – Azor Ahai -him- Dec 13 '20 at 23:34
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    First understand that you are getting only one side of the issue. – shoover Dec 14 '20 at 1:41
  • You write that you are a professor's assistant; what is it that you usually do? That is, what's your job scope, what are typical responsibilities? – Allure Dec 14 '20 at 2:08
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No, don't mention the student by name when speaking with the tutors. Yes, the professor should be made aware that there are issues, but that you will work to resolve them. The professor might need/want the name.

You may need to speak to the individual tutor to get their feedback on why they are doing what they do. There may be a good explanation that is actually student focused. Or not. But you need this feedback.

However, you need to spend some time with your group of tutors to make sure that they treat students in a uniform way. All of them should use the same criteria and the same policies. If that isn't happening then some students are being advantaged or disadvantaged over others. This, I think, is the most important element here.

But if you think a reprimand for the tutor is necessary, the professor needs to be involved in that as well.

And, it may also be necessary to reassure the student in some way that their concerns are being addressed. How you do that should also involve advice from the professor.

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    No reprimand at this stage. First you need to state your expectations of transparency and consistency, and give them a chance to implement them before you can reprimand them. I agree with the rest of the advice, +1. – Captain Emacs Dec 13 '20 at 16:44
  • "This, I think, is the most important element here." -- to be clear, you are stating that uniformity of treatment is more important than a student getting a good education? "Poor grading feedback", if it exists, seems just as important. – Yakk Dec 14 '20 at 1:03

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