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Questions tagged [grades]

Queries related to interpreting grades or understanding grading systems. This tag is not suitable for queries about improving grades or about the process of assigning a grade to an assessment item.

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228 votes
21 answers
27k views

Failing students when it might cause them economic ruin

The issue has crept up on me slowly over the last several years. I am increasingly aware of the massive debt that many of my students are taking on, debt which is far beyond the sort of debt that I ...
John Coleman's user avatar
  • 4,148
123 votes
26 answers
134k views

Slept through final, professor is giving me a zero and failing me – is there anything I can do to change this?

I slept through my 8 am final last Thursday, and I didn’t wake up until 11:50 am. By the time I scrambled to remember what day it was, it was already noon. I frantically sent the professor an email ...
Lauren DeGuire's user avatar
117 votes
15 answers
31k views

How to react when encountering students who have previously failed my course?

Context: I am an assistant professor of mathematics at a small liberal-arts college in the US. I did my graduate work at a large public university, and there I rarely encountered students who had ...
AegisCruiser's user avatar
  • 4,527
98 votes
11 answers
50k views

What to say to a student who has failed?

A student has failed a course I just taught. Grades were announced yesterday. This student sent me a very long heartbreaking email about how this means she will be kicked out of her program, how she ...
Mark Girard's user avatar
88 votes
7 answers
15k views

Are college students forbidden from sharing their grades with other students?

I am currently in an anatomy class and had an issue. I and three other students worked on an 18 page packet together. We had the same answers since we worked on it as a group. However, two of us ...
Isaac Fields 's user avatar
76 votes
15 answers
27k views

Should I cheat if the majority does it?

I'm taking the last and hardest exams of my master degree. During the exams we aren't allowed to use anything else but our brain. Cheating is pretty easy though: one has the lecture notes and all the ...
RenatoRenatoRenato's user avatar
74 votes
10 answers
11k views

Is it ethical to limit marks based upon past performance?

A professor has a habit of starting oral examinations by asking for or looking up grade averages and grades from other subjects and then taking them heavily into account when evaluating the student in ...
mirgee's user avatar
  • 839
68 votes
10 answers
10k views

Understanding an abnormal grade distribution

I have three years of experience teaching as part of a team (many teachers, some with more experience, agreeing on a syllabus and preparing the tests together), but this year is the first time I am ...
scozy's user avatar
  • 1,240
55 votes
10 answers
77k views

How important are my grades to the rest of my PhD career?

Speaking to the faculty in my program, I've noticed that they seem to evaluate themselves and others using two criterion: (1) publication quality and quantity, and (2) ability to obtain grant money. ...
eykanal's user avatar
  • 48.5k
54 votes
6 answers
13k views

Is it fair for a professor to grade us on the possession of past papers?

My English professor recently asked us to bring in all of our graded essays from the whole semester in order to fill out a 'rubric' of sorts which tallied the various types of mistakes we had made. ...
Equinox's user avatar
  • 514
52 votes
16 answers
20k views

What to do when students answered more questions than instructed during an exam?

I am a 5th year grad student. This is the first time I am allowed to teach a higher level major course on my own. We just had our midterm today and I am confused as to how to proceed. On the midterm ...
user148813's user avatar
52 votes
8 answers
14k views

Should I notify the teacher that he accidentally gave out the answers to an assignment?

For one of my class projects, the teacher coded the entire solution, then took out a few sections that we are supposed to complete for our assignment. This incomplete code was distributed to the class ...
lemondandy's user avatar
48 votes
8 answers
12k views

How can I deal with being pressured by my department to pass students who failed?

Due to COVID-19, I have found myself teaching a course online. I worked with the university teaching center to transition the course online, prepared an online classroom, and updated the requirements ...
user avatar
48 votes
11 answers
19k views

What can a student who is already studying hard do to improve low grades?

I have been studying hard for the past year and a half (it's my second year of Computer Science) while not getting remotely close to the desired results. I passed my first year with a 7.2 GPA (5 (...
gorska's user avatar
  • 481
47 votes
12 answers
23k views

Would I get into trouble if I give out "too many" A grades?

In the next semester, I will be teaching for the first time a seminar course which is composed of about 25 students. I am not sure how to respond to prospective students who have asked me about the ...
I Like to Code's user avatar
45 votes
18 answers
21k views

Should students have access to past exams or an exam bank?

Something I never understood is how in so many undergrad classes North America, the students are allowed to have past exams that they are allowed to study over. It never made sense to me because it ...
Shamisen Expert's user avatar
45 votes
7 answers
8k views

How do I articulate my grade dispute in a letter of complaint (student grievance)?

I'm filing a formal letter of complaint (for a grade litigation request) over a grade dispute in an English literature course. I've got 90/100 (an A) in each of the 3 exams in this course. These exams ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 441
44 votes
13 answers
12k views

What recourse do I have if the disability office grants unreasonable accommodations to a student?

I've talked to several colleagues who have expressed frustration at the amount of and kind of accommodations that some students receive. I know the Approved Position is "the disability office ...
user169329's user avatar
44 votes
7 answers
17k views

Are course grade distributions supposed to be bell shaped?

I just got done teaching my first course, and my grades are heavily skewed: I consider my assessments to be fair and have had them vetted by more experienced faculty. Also, the course averages are ...
Michael Stachowsky's user avatar
43 votes
10 answers
9k views

What is the purpose of having grades?

What is the idea behind giving a student a grade? It might sound like a funny question but I'm serious. I ask because in my previous question about disputing a mark, it's hard for me to decide how ...
Celeritas's user avatar
  • 818
43 votes
7 answers
8k views

Why does grade inflation seem to be so severe in the USA?

A comment on this question on undergraduate admissions notes that a good college might get 10x more applicants who all have the maximum possible grade point average, than the college can admit. (The ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 42.9k
41 votes
13 answers
16k views

Is it appropriate to give a student a "negative grade" (fewer than zero points) for a small portion of the overall grade?

I teach a course where attendance is required. The syllabus says "Every unexcused absence will result in a deduction of one point from the attendance grade". The total number of points for ...
Zuriel's user avatar
  • 3,517
41 votes
10 answers
18k views

I have been accused of copying two lab reports from the previous year even though I had done everything by myself

Today I got accused by my professor of cheating and copying two reports I submitted. I had a formal meeting with the professor where he tried to push me into admitting I cheated by showing me the ...
Ballislyf's user avatar
  • 391
41 votes
12 answers
12k views

Is it ethical to ask students to proofread a textbook?

I will have a draft of a new textbook ready for the fall semester. It is an engineering class. I very much want feedback from the students concerning the quality and usefulness of the material. What ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
41 votes
8 answers
10k views

Are athletes' college degrees discounted by employers and graduate school admissions?

This question and the pertinent answers suggest that, as a rule, college athletes in the United States are not held to the same academic standards as other students. It also seems that this is well-...
henning no longer feeds AI's user avatar
41 votes
3 answers
2k views

Can game theory explain grade inflation?

According to wikipedia, grade inflation is the tendency of academic grades for work of comparable quality to increase over time. That article also includes plenty of evidence for the phenomenon and ...
Tal Fishman's user avatar
36 votes
10 answers
30k views

What does an optimal grading distribution look like?

Researchers on education must have thought about this, so I hope to find some directions here. Suppose that I am grading students on a scale from 1 to 10. If I have no prior knowledge of the ability ...
HRSE's user avatar
  • 1,577
36 votes
5 answers
21k views

Is there a way to improve my grade after graduation?

I graduated around 3 years ago with a degree, from a Russell Group university, in Mathematics. I had some mental health issues in my final term which essentially bombed my grade. Since I had no ...
Gamora's user avatar
  • 580
35 votes
13 answers
24k views

What can a professor do about an exam that was too long for the allotted time, after the students have completed it?

I just finished a midterm exam. It was very easy but I was only able to finish about 3/4 of it. And I rushed through some parts in the final moments. Talking with other students, there's a consensus ...
murray's user avatar
  • 533
32 votes
9 answers
15k views

Purposeful fail - effect on Master's admission [closed]

I am intending to purposefully try to fail a course to stay an extra semester, so I can finalize some research projects which can't be finalized otherwise. My current GPA is 3.82. How badly would that ...
xxx's user avatar
  • 377
31 votes
13 answers
17k views

Misunderstood exam question with consequences for incorrect answer

I suspect a student misread an exam question worth 10 points (exam out of 120). Aside from this one student, the rest all understood the question and the average grade was 8.2/10 for this question. ...
If you do not know- just GIS's user avatar
29 votes
7 answers
14k views

Is a professor allowed to ask me what grade I got in a previous class?

I'm a student in Michigan, in the United States. I've just started a class for which a previous class was the prerequisite. The professor of my current class asked that I give him my grade for that ...
nikodaemus's user avatar
29 votes
8 answers
19k views

What do I do if a teacher fails me after they said I'd pass?

I just failed a university-level course that the instructor assured me I was passing. We've discussed my grade in emails but we continue to disagree on how it should be calculated and even on what ...
Tony Gallagher's user avatar
27 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is there any point in handing back exams ordered by grade?

Back in France I had a few teachers handing back exams in order from the highest grade to the lowest grade, and I recall there was some tense suspense, especially for for the people at the bottom of ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
26 votes
11 answers
6k views

If I believe a student lacks the preparation to pass, what should I say to them? [closed]

I'm an Advanced Level math teacher in my country. I teach two courses Pure and Applied. Its duration is 3 years. At the end of three years, there is one exam for the whole three years. Only 1200 ...
Angelo Mark's user avatar
26 votes
9 answers
8k views

Curving grades without creating competition among students

I've recently taken a new position within a math department at a large university. The department has an official policy that in most lower-level undergraduate classes (let's say anything in the ...
Jared's user avatar
  • 719
26 votes
11 answers
5k views

How to motivate students to complete low-point homework?

I teach a course consisting of about 50 assignments. These include readings, many short writing assignments, and group projects. Additionally, students complete 2 large projects as the mid-term and ...
Village's user avatar
  • 12.5k
26 votes
3 answers
4k views

Should I hold the same writing standards for international students as I do for domestic students?

I teach courses in physics, astronomy and planetary science. Often, but certainly not always, international students (and even some domestic students, for whom English is not their primary language), ...
jvriesem's user avatar
  • 5,119
26 votes
3 answers
3k views

Grading system: Why A-F and not E?

Why do we use F for failing on an otherwise arbitrary alphabetic grading scale? Isn't E just as meaningful for failing as A is for excellent? I'm more interested in a response on the history of how ...
timothy.s.lau's user avatar
25 votes
3 answers
8k views

Should I talk about my single "failed" course in SOP (failed due to a disturbing reason)?

Background I failed a course in one of the last few semesters of my undergrad. I had poor grades in most courses in that particular semester. In the summer just prior to that semester, I had a ...
Mr.Optimistic's user avatar
25 votes
9 answers
18k views

Is it advisable to contact a professor if I fear failing a graduate-level course?

I am an international master's student in the US. I am currently finishing my last semester of courses. This semester has been very tough on my personal life because of some family issues. I also had ...
bawt's user avatar
  • 359
25 votes
5 answers
3k views

Non competitive grading system

I go to school at a University in the US. We use a competitive grading system where teachers give grades based on how you do relative to other students. This type of grading system doesn't encourage ...
user522's user avatar
  • 353
24 votes
2 answers
12k views

What can I do when my transcripts have mistakes?

My transcripts contain a mistake on the grade I took for a course. I applied before two months to change me the grade but the process is slow. Until now nothing has changed and I need to apply for ...
Grey's user avatar
  • 725
23 votes
5 answers
7k views

How can I ask a lecturer not to disclose (my) grades publicly?

In my university, some, but not all, professors upload online the grades of every student and their names next to them a few days before making them final at the end of the semester. This is done to ...
SuperHeroY's user avatar
  • 1,007
22 votes
5 answers
149k views

Why is B or B− the minimum passing grade for most graduate courses in US?

I was recently told that in many schools in the US (maybe other countries too), the minimum grade for a graduate course is B or B−. Meaning that B is considered as a passing score. I would like to ...
user59419's user avatar
  • 1,373
22 votes
3 answers
8k views

Should a professor recommending me talk about my (bad) grades in his or her letter?

I recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics. I'm now applying to research internships and some of these need recommendation letters from faculty. I did very badly during the first 2 ...
WorldGov's user avatar
  • 520
20 votes
4 answers
7k views

Graduate early with average GPA, or later with better GPA?

I've seen similar questions here, and I wish there was a narrower tag than the broad soft-question and career-development. I am currently a freshman/sophomore-to-be at a top ten math program in US. ...
user22835's user avatar
  • 303
19 votes
7 answers
9k views

A lecturer wants to grade me based on 'creativity' in a task, how do I succeed?

TLDR: In a course where students are required to do exercises, a programming project and write a report in small groups, the lecturer announced that grading will be based on 'creativity' and how funny ...
Jonas Schwarz's user avatar
19 votes
9 answers
7k views

I feel like I didn't deserve to pass an exam [duplicate]

Recently I did my retake exam for Advanced Maths in college. Compared to the ordinary exam, it was easier. My grade was 9/10. I worked very hard for it, non-stop for 5 months, dealing with anxiety and ...
user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
1k views

How to measure entropy of exam results

In this answer to a quora question, the answerer mentions how the 'entropy' of a set of exam results can be used to measure how well the exam differentiates between students. Should I be computing ...
Ken's user avatar
  • 293

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