I'm currently in a grad program and took a class this semester that was graded on a curve. This semester had assignments completely online, something not done before for this class, so at first it was a bit rough coordinating/syncing up with team members for group work that wasn't designed to be done asynchronously.

Grading was harsh at first, but later very lax (with assignments being marked 100s towards the end of the course even if the answers were wrong), this resulted in a curve down of almost a letter grade. Many students complained and the instructor admitted to grading more generously than usual and promised, in no uncertain terms, to get rid of the curve for this semester.

However, after getting my final grades back, I learned that the grade reported to the university was still the curve in place and nothing had been done. In addition, the course grades and assignments had been blocked access for every student. Since all assignments were online this semester, this makes it a bit difficult to prove what my grade was, but I did document my exact grade value (but not individual assignments).

I made an inquiry to my professor and TAs but after nearly 3 weeks, I received no response. At this stage, I'm not sure what is going on or if I should be concerned or not.

What should I do about this situation?

TL;DR: I took a class that graded really generously, resulting in final grades curved down a lot, instructor promised to remove the curve for students, it didn't happen, and instructor is ignoring inquiries. What should I do at this point?

  • "I took a class that graded really generously, resulting in final grades curved down a lot." It's unclear to me what you mean by this. Are you saying that the instructor starting by grading very harshly at the beginning of the semester, then tried to compensate by grading very leniently towards the end of the semester, and then overcompensated for his lenient grading by introducing an unreasonably harsh curve at the end? Commented May 29, 2022 at 14:56
  • Sorry for the confusion. Yes, the initial grading was harsh early on, partly since the assignments were migrated to online for the first time, and grading was later much more lenient later on, but this ended up with a curve that significantly reduced the final grades.
    – zed12321
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 15:14
  • The reality is that there is almost certainly nothing that you can do about this. In most of the world, instructors are given wide latitude to assign grades in any way they like. The only circumstance under which you might have a case is if the instructor put statements into their syllabus, then explicitly violated those statements. Even then, most instructors include some language about "reserving the right to vary from the stated grading scheme". It is likely that the best you can do is accept whatever grade you got, and avoid this instructor in the future. Commented May 29, 2022 at 18:06
  • @XanderHenderson at my uni (in Germany) the policy was that the prof has to inform students at the beginning of the semester how grading is done, and had to stick to that, with no possibility to change that later. We also had a policy uni-wide where if you received between 100-95% of the points, you got a "1" (best grade), with 95-90% a "1,3" and so on. To make grading fair and transparent. So in some places, regulations might exist and it could be good to check if there are.
    – Sursula
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 5:57


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