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279 votes

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

It feels like one of the deadly sins but it's actually a physiological need... If it's a physiological need because you were sick at the time of the exam, then your school should have a policy about ...
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  • 171k
208 votes

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

Speaking from personal experience, I advise you to accept the consequences of the events that occurred and move on. There are, and will be, many important situations in life that require you to be in ...
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  • 1,572
178 votes

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

It sounds like you're still in finals, so the first part is containment – you likely have other exams to be ready for and should probably focus on them. Next, as from @aeismail's answer, it's ...
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  • 6,128
166 votes
Accepted

Failing students when it might cause them economic ruin

You are responsible for teaching the students to the best of your ability, and to judge their capacities to use what they have learned. That judgment is made based on their grades. So you have ...
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145 votes
Accepted

Is it ethical to limit marks based upon past performance?

What you describe is, in my opinion, horribly unethical! Yes, past performance is often a predictor of present performance, but there are so many other factors involved as well. What if a student ...
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  • 180k
145 votes

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

As a professor, one has to assume that all past exam questions are available to students. Some student organizations debrief members after exams and capture the questions for such an exam bank. Some ...
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  • 258k
132 votes

Should I cheat if the majority does it?

I don't want to report them, I probably don't have the guts to do it, especially because it's such a socially accepted practice. A "Snitches get stitches" mentality will not solve your problem. ...
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  • 966
121 votes

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

I have a lifetime of experience in academia in the US, and in all of my experience your instructor's claim is completely without merit. There is no regulation or cultural norm that requires students ...
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107 votes

Putting class ranking in CV, but against dept guidelines

So, you put it on your CV, the future employer does what employers do and phones the institution to check details of awards, years etc. BOOM - the institution does not confirm you were "top of the ...
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  • 27.9k
101 votes
Accepted

Emailing a professor for points on an exam when you want a recommendation from the professor

Let it go. You discussed this before, he made his arguments and it is unlikely that he will change his mind. It isn't only up to you to make a good argument for the points, but the professor himself ...
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  • 3,174
98 votes
Accepted

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

If this was not mentioned in the syllabus (or at least announced prior to the papers being returned), this is totally inappropriate. While it may be foolish for students not to keep their graded work ...
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  • 19k
97 votes

Failing students when it might cause them economic ruin

Take the example of a medical student. Do you want to pass someone who does not have the necessary knowledge to treat patients correctly? It is your duty to make sure that only the ones who know what ...
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  • 5,696
96 votes

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

I think the point is, or should be, that having diagnostic question be "secret" is perverse. That is, why not tell people directly what we want them to know? And why not let them see representative ...
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  • 80.2k
96 votes

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

Dear Committee, This grade dispute seems like a simple math error. As shown on the attached syllabus, the grade is 85% exams and 15% worksheets and responses. On the exams, I scored 76.5/85, which is ...
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  • 50.9k
89 votes

Purposeful fail - effect on Master's admission

Explore all other options first. Seriously. Talk to professors whom you think to possess some common sense (especially your adviser and the department head if they are among them) explaining clearly ...
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  • 8,757
89 votes

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

TL;DR: be consistent Speaking from the other side of this: I once struggled severely with one math class in particular and ended up taking it 3 times. I failed the first two times (the first try was ...
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  • 1,014
87 votes

Understanding an abnormal grade distribution

I agree with the other answers that this may be an artifact of the histogram. May I humbly offer a few alternative ways to plot these grades? All of these essentially show that your effects are ...
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85 votes

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

Send him a polite email explaining that, while you completed the assignment on your own (which I am assuming to be true), by stumbling upon the solutions in advance you had a hard time doing anything ...
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  • 2,556
81 votes
Accepted

What does an optimal grading distribution look like?

Assigning grades to fit some "optimal distribution" is misguided. We don't want to maximize the entropy of the grades in a particular course. It's not a very useful measure of a "good" set of grades. ...
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  • 107k
79 votes
Accepted

What is the purpose of having grades?

A professor who I used to work with once gave me an explanation that I found quite useful for understanding the purpose and philosophy of grading. Universities, he said, must always struggle with a ...
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  • 180k
79 votes
Accepted

Grading on a curve in required doctoral course, failing as a result

How could I talk to the professor and tell him that I put a lot on effort in his class, but due to my lack of programming experience my performance was way below the average of the class? The ...
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  • 168k
78 votes

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

Here's how you can address this: I was a victim of a major crime during [month]. This interfered with my studies during [time period]. This is unlikely to recur. I have subsequently done/will do [...
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76 votes
Accepted

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

You won't get into trouble if all your students earn grades of A. It has always been my hope that I'd have a class with all A grades, or even all A and B grades. It has never happened. If you "give ...
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  • 25.1k
74 votes

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

With only three weeks you can already tell they are bound to fail in five months? Yes, that is too discouraging. There is a middle ground between "you will get an A" and "you will most certainly fail"...
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  • 21k
74 votes
Accepted

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

Your department defers to you as the final authority on the student’s grade, and for a good reason: because you are the only person who sees the full picture of the student’s performance and the ...
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  • 168k
72 votes

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

Sleeping is a physiological need shared by every other person in your class - who did get to the exam. If you had a medical condition, you may be able to get special dispensation for that. Expect to ...
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  • 5,337
64 votes

Grade changes with auto grader

If any student feels disadvantaged by this, then you will have an uproar and complaints to administration. You describe a system in which they depended on the actual thing you built not some "...
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  • 258k
62 votes

Should I cheat if the majority does it?

If I were you and my primary concern was the PhD application (but also not being bugged for the rest of my life if I cheat), I'd ask myself the following questions: How limited is the number of ...
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  • 1,460

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