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Can a University professor post a grade on web-campus or blackboard and then change the grade the next day? Yesterday I received a B and today I it had been changed to a C... C's do not pass the class in the masters program.

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    Generally, yes. And most especially if the first grade was posted in error. Mar 24, 2016 at 5:25
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    @DanRomik Sure, what if one student requested a regrade which changed the curve for all other students. Mar 24, 2016 at 7:12
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    @AustinHenley then you should suck it up and accept that grading is not an exact science. I don't think regrading a single student is an acceptable reason to change other students' grades.
    – Dan Romik
    Mar 24, 2016 at 7:33
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    @DanRomik from a student's literal perspective (what they see on Blackboard), sure. Calculated columns will change as more assignments that are factored into them are added. But even then that may be considered fixing an error. Consider my statement as merely trying to emphasis the likely corrective —as opposed to something arbitrary— action than anything else. Mar 24, 2016 at 11:48
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    I don't know what the policies are in your university, however, given that this change of grade means now you do not pass your masters class, I would definitely ask for a word with the professor. If it was a mistake, then too bad for you, because C was your real/original grade. If it was not a mistake and he decided to change it last minute, then I guess you can ask why this change was made and be sure it was justified.
    – LenaMi
    Mar 24, 2016 at 15:51

2 Answers 2

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In the US, universities generally have a policy that describes under what conditions a professor can change a grade that has been officially posted to the student's record.

For example, in my university, the official policy is that an instructor may change a final grade that has been officially posted to the student information system if there was an error (e.g. in the calculation of the grade) or if the instructor overlooked some work that the student submitted1. The web interface asks me to supply the reason when I submit the grade change request:

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When I submit a grade change request after grades have been posted, it goes through another layer of approval (department head) but barring exceptional circumstances, these changes are routinely approved.

"Intermediate" or "unofficial" grades (e.g. grades that are posted in Blackboard but not in the official student information system, midterm grades, grades on assignments that aren't the final course grade, etc.) typically are not subject to those rules, and can be changed more easily.


1 Although students persist in asking me to change their grades for all kinds of other reasons.

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    +1 for the answer, but I want to give an extra +1 for that bingo, which I reckon I'll distribute to my colleagues when finals week comes 'round. Mar 24, 2016 at 5:53
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    @Massimo I have a similar policy, but I could imagine scenarios where it could be tricky; for example if all the rows in the spreadsheet used for grading calculations were shifted by 1 accidentally, so that every student in the class got another student's grade.
    – ff524
    Mar 24, 2016 at 6:26
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    @MassimoOrtolano and ff524, at the risk of sounding patronizing: your policy should be to not make such mistakes. When I enter final grades into the system, I check, then double-check, then double-double-check, triple-check etc., probably spending an hour or two on various forms of error-detection. I can think of few worse things to do to a student than mislead them about their final grades, even temporarily. (With that said, mistakes can still happen so I realize it's a slightly patronizing thing to say, but it's still a good policy to have even as a potentially unsatisfiable ideal.)
    – Dan Romik
    Mar 24, 2016 at 6:36
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    @DanRomik it's my original work (first posted here in chat)
    – ff524
    Mar 24, 2016 at 6:40
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    @DanRomik When I have had to correct final grades, it's usually been because students only bother to tell me about an error in the grade of an earlier assessment (not the final exam) when they see that it affects their final grade. So after final grades are posted, they let me know that "I took this quiz a month ago and got a grade, but the grade is recorded as a zero" or "I did a demo of this lab assignment for the TA but it's not recorded" etc. With a large class, TAs participating in grading, and many low-stakes assessments (which I prefer), some errors are inevitable.
    – ff524
    Mar 24, 2016 at 6:50
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Your school may also have a policy that, while the grades posted to the student information system are "released," they are not final until the final-exam period (and its grading window) has officially ended; say, the Monday after exam week. The posting gives students an early glimpse of their assessment should they desire to launch an appeal (formal or otherwise), while also giving the instructor a holding area in which to post the final summation of the students' grades without the clutter of the many components composing it that might have clouded the waters on the learning management system, for example (and thus a chance to double-check them one last time).

There may also be an in-between option: that they are "released but not final" when posted, but become finalized 24 hours after whatever point they are posted (at which point it does become a bit more engraved, and thus a little more difficult to formally downgrade, or even upgrade). This can then lead to deliberate delays, wherein instructors withhold the "official" grades for days at a time lest they lose their prerogative to change their minds amid student complaints. It's all easier if you just keep your gradebook separately, take your time, make your decision, and stick to it.

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