Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Actual student e-mail & my response

Dear Dr. N,
I had e-mailed you about my grades on the lab exam and the last lab we were given back. You then gave my e-mail to TA and had him/her respond. S/he did and was a lot of help. I finally talked to him/her about them ---day in class and at lab and you stated clearly that my answers were incorrect. However, my problem is not about getting the 4 points back for what I did wrong. My problem is the fact that my answers are almost identical to another person's answers and they recieved full credit for them. I am not willing to give the name of this person, they should not be penalized for a mistake, but I am merely trying to bring to your attention the issue I'm having with the grading in this class. It is very inconsistent and believe it or not, 4 points will help in the end. Someone is unfairly receiving credit for incorrect answers.

specific questions removed

I feel that this issue could be cleared up easily, however, this is not the first time I've had an issue with the grading. I'm just really confused as to how certain things are graded and what the format for grading is.

I don't have time to come into your office hours due to classes, so I felt an e-mail was the first step to solving this problem. I appreciate your taking the time to read this and hope we can figure something out.


I am not willing to second-guess TA on his/her grading. I have a TA for this course because I don't have time to do all the grading myself and I trust his/her judgment. Any time s/he has concerns or questions, s/he consults me and I am very comfortable with this arrangement. If you feel it is worth your time to compare your answers to others, that is your business, but I am not going to change grades based on it. It may be that the other student also had the incorrect answer and that TA missed it. It could also be that the other student used slightly different wording that was clearer than the way you wrote it (even if it seems the same to you). If you want me to look over your answers again, bring the exam with the questions marked explaining why you think your answer is correct (and saying that someone else had the same answer is NOT a valid reason) and I will do that. However, there is always a chance that I will disagree with TA's grading and end up taking off more points (I'm sure s/he is more lenient that I would be).

Dr. N


BrightStar said...

While I can understand why the student feels like the situation is unfair, I really like your response. I particularly liked how you communicated that just because the student thinks the answers are the same, there may be some important distinctions in the wording, and you took the situation away from the student who got credit and put it onto the student to justify conceptually why he or she deserves those points back independent of the other student. Nice! (Also, it was smooth to point out that you might actually deduct MORE points for a request of a regrade!)

Terminaldegree said...

Beautiful response. Brava!

Anonymous said...

yes, nice answer!