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I recently took an advanced course with a professor. The course had two exams, a final project and assignments. I got excellent marks in both the exams and assignments. At the beginning of the course, the professor stated that since the course is advanced, he'll keep some weight on the class performance of students, so that exams (which may be tough) don't decide your grade completely. I attended the first few lectures and no class ever involved any significant participation from any student.

The classes began with the professor asking people if they have solved any problems from the textbook and some students usually said yes. Ultimately, I received a very bad grade in the course and it seems that only those students whom the professor knew outside the classroom received good grades. The grading was ultimately made in such a way that the exams carried little weight (I even doubt the professor checked the papers) and most of the weight was on 'class participation' which, in my opinion, translated to personal impression. One of my friends, who was also a victim of this scheme of things, tried to reason with another teacher, only to receive 'A professor has full liberty to decide on grades' as a reply. I feel that he did not grade on any concrete activity at all, but simply on personal impressions. Students who often went to him to discuss (often materials outside the course) or whom he knew from before seem to have received the best grades. What should I preferably do in such a situation?

As a first step, I've asked him the grading policy and was told that he has graded on his own perceptions of who mastered how much. (As a side, he says that even the final project was immaterial, since everybody has done well on it). Let me repeat that none of his classes had any significant activity that could have substantiated such perceptions. The professor has asked me to treat the issue as closed and move on. Should I do so if I feel that there was some serious injustice involved? If not, what should I do in such a situation? How should I present a case if at all.

This is in one of the premier institutes in India. We do have a grade review committee. I just wonder if escalating it to them is advisable

closed as off-topic by Daniel R. Collins, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, jakebeal, Willie Wong, paul garrett Jun 27 '16 at 17:43

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "The answer to this question strongly depends on individual factors such as a certain person’s preferences, a given institution’s regulations, the exact contents of your work or your personal values. Thus only someone familiar can answer this question and it cannot be generalised to apply to others. (See this discussion for more info.)" – Daniel R. Collins, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, jakebeal, Willie Wong, paul garrett
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    After those first few lectures, did you stop attending? – Jon Custer Jun 27 '16 at 14:35
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    @adrija: If an instructor tells you at the beginning of the course that part of your grade will be determined by class performance, it is a poor idea to stop attending class without having a careful discussion with your instructor on the consequences of this... – Pete L. Clark Jun 27 '16 at 15:05
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    ...Perhaps the instructor decided (for instance) that the performances on the exams were so similar that the grades would be mostly determined by class participation, which was itself determined by class attendance. I don't claim that's a good grading policy...but it seems consistent with what you were told, which could weaken your case if you wanted to make an appeal. – Pete L. Clark Jun 27 '16 at 15:06
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    Voted to close because this depends on the individual course policy too much to be generally informative. In particular, the student explicitly chose to ignore the stated class-participation rule, and really has no coherent case for grievance. – Daniel R. Collins Jun 27 '16 at 15:53
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    I've been in classes before where it was explicitly declared that grades would be primarily determined by class participation. If there was a stated grading system that said something otherwise, there might be a reason to object; if the university does not required the grading system to be declared, then it's really just up to the professor, and this is within the realm of normal variation. It might or might not be poor pedagogy, but that's beside the point for this question. – jakebeal Jun 27 '16 at 16:32

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