Unfortunately, I am in a very difficult situation with one of my Professors. In the previous semester, I argued for the grade he gave me in my assignment. I tried to explain him that the way that he had marked me was unfair. He told me that there was no possibility to remark my assignment without giving me more feedback. I felt disappointed and I decided to address the problem to my programme leader. The programme leader told me that an external examiner will be involved. 4 months have passed and I am still waiting. I feel that they tried to cover up this issue. Apart from that, in this semester, the same professor failed me. I feel terrible. I want to drop the programme. Could you, plesase, advise me?

closed as off-topic by RoboKaren, Peter Jansson, Wrzlprmft, xLeitix, David Richerby Mar 11 '15 at 18:25

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  • "This question appears to be off-topic because it seems to seek specific advice for a very specific situation, and it's likely that only someone with a good understanding of your situation will be able to provide an objectively correct answer." – RoboKaren, Peter Jansson, Wrzlprmft, xLeitix, David Richerby
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  • 3
    did your professor give a new reason for why you failed? Was this completely random? Is there a chance you are just not meeting the standards of the class? The question now is a bit too broad in my opinion – user-2147482637 Mar 11 '15 at 13:10
  • I used to be one of the best students in the classroom. My grades have always been above 80%. I have always participated in the classroom and asked him questions even if many times he couldn't answer properly. I tried and studied hard to impress him with my assignment. However, according to him my effort was not good enough. It is really dissapointing when professors do not admit their mistakes. – Bruce Mar 11 '15 at 13:15
  • In my opinion, he became mad because I exposed his mistake in front of the programme leader. THis is why he failed me. – Bruce Mar 11 '15 at 13:21
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    Why do you say that your grade was unfair? All I can gather from the question and your comments to support this claim is that you got good grades on previous assignments and you "tried and studied hard" on the assignment in question. Neither of those two things has anything to to with the merit of your work on that assignment. There may be more about this situation that we don't know yet, but as it stands, your judgement that the grade was "unfair" doesn't sound very convincing (not to me anyway, and maybe not to your professor either.) – Trevor Wilson Mar 11 '15 at 17:35
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    I should add that if he really did fail you because he is mad at you for complaining, then that is terrible, regardless of whether your complaint was justified. – Trevor Wilson Mar 11 '15 at 17:37

I would advise to first talk to this professor, and ask what you should do differently to get a good grade in his class. Write down his advise, and mail it to him, just to have a written overview of what you discussed. When you understood him correctly, he does not need to respond. When you misunderstood, he might respond to that.

I would refrain from discussing with him whether it was justified that you failed his class or received a poor mark for the assignment. Such discussions will be very unlikely to deliver any result that is positive for you. Rather focus on what he thinks you need to do now. If you work with that, you are much more likely to get a better grade.

Maybe, you are right, and he did evaluate you unfairly. Maybe not. You can put a lot of effort and energy in trying to proof that you are right, but this will alienate the professor only more.

Life is not always fair. Sometimes it is smarter to focus on how to improve a situation rather than on what is fair.


First, you need to remove your emotions from the situation. I see in your comments you've suggested that, "In my opinion, he became mad because I exposed his mistake in front of the programme leader. THis [sic] is why he failed me."—If you are interested in my advice, that is an opinion you should forget.

Now the rest of my post is going to assume that you want to proceed up the administrative path to getting your work re-assessed. But I suggest you read the other answer here before you decide if you want to get into this mess.

Let us look at the objective facts. Is there a mark scheme for this course? Get hold of it and compare the work you submitted against it. Can you say, objectively, that your work satisfies the mark scheme? Can you really say that? Take the scheme at the highest standard and your submission at the lowest. Is there any subjective wriggle room? It may be that you are out of luck.

However, if you think, according to the mark scheme, in an objective way, that you deserve a higher mark, that is all the reason you need to request an external review, if you are determined to do that.

Do you have a permanent faculty contact assigned to look after you, such as a tutor? You should seek her advice and assistance, that is what she is there for. If you do not, then you should find the senior person responsible for the entire programme at your institution and put your concerns to him. If he is of no assistance, again you will have to talk to someone further up the food chain.

Your institution will probably have a set of guidelines to follow in this situation. It may be on their website. It may be devised by a senior body above the department in question, such as the University Senate, if your institution has such a body. You should attempt to follow the procedures they lay out.

At all times your communications should be level-headed, polite, professional and, so far as is possible, objective. You should remember that you are an adult and you are talking to an adult. You should not make any allegations against your professor that you cannot prove. As soon as you say "I think he was mad at me", you lose all of your credibility.

It sounds like you have already started this procedure by requesting an external examiner. My next step would be to write to the programme leader and ask for a written update on how this is progressing.

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