FAQs About Final Semester Grades

 

I got a 69 (or 79 or 89); I'm SO CLOSE to the next letter grade.  Would you please double-check my grade?

ANSWER: Please know that if you earned a 58% or 59% or 68% or 69% or 78% or 79% or 88% or 89% - in other words any sort of borderline grade - that I already have reviewed very, very, VERY carefully all of the scores I entered for you - not only that, but I also took a second AND THIRD look at my grading of your final exam (every. single. question.) to make absolutely sure I had awarded you all the points I possibly could.  I do understand how important grades are (for GPA, for transfer, for sports eligibility, for moving forward with your goals, etc.), so please know I already have double-checked very carefully because those issues are important to me for you!

 

I got a 69 (or 79 or 89); I'm SO CLOSE to the next letter grade.  Can't you just GIVE me 1% more?

ANSWER: I only record scores; I do not "give" them.  The syllabus I gave you at the beginning of the semester that explained grading policies for this class is my contract with you as well as with all of your classmates.  It would be unfair and unethical for me to break that contract by randomly giving some people a higher percentage.  Because of the fact that I realize I am not perfect (because I am human!), and because I realize there is a good chance you had one or more bad days during the semester (because you are human!) I accounted for that in one or more ways - either I offered extra credit OR I dropped one or more of your lowest scores OR I replaced a missing test grade (or your lowest test grade) with your percentage on your final exam.  So whatever grade you are seeing in the grade-book has already had some "cushion" built in ("cushion" that was available equally to everyone in the class).  This consideration I am able to support as being reasonable, just, and fair to all.  Because this has been done your grade is ALREADY at least a percent or two higher than you would have earned without this consideration - so if your grade seems borderline it actually really isn't technically QUITE as "close" as you think it is to that next letter grade.

 

It looks like I got an A on my final exam; why is my overall grade so low?

ANSWER: Please double-check your syllabus.  If your exam was worth 200 points, then what you are seeing in the grade-book represents points out of 200 and not a percentage.  If this is the case, then a score of 90 points is actually equal to a 45% on the final.  It would take a score of 179 to 200 for the final exam grade to be an A.  This only applies to classes for whom the final is worth 200 points.  If you think I made an actual error in determining your grade based on what you see entered for your final, please read the question and answer two spaces below this one to see how to handle that.

 

I really thought I would pass this class, but I got an F.  I'm panicking because I'm supposed to transfer next semester.  Would you please give me a passing grade (because I really, really NEED it) or let me do a test retake or give me a project to do for extra credit?

ANSWER: If you failed, please know I am very sad about it.  Truly.  That is never my desire, and it never gives me any pleasure to see that be the case.  That said, I don't "give" grades; I only record them, and a grade indicates what you have shown through homework, quizzes, tests, etc. in terms of how well you know the material.  I cannot in good conscience just randomly raise a grade - that would make all grades meaningless.  I also need to act fairly and justly to all my students.  Others may also want to do extra, extra credit or to be given chances at test retakes after the semester is over, but the semester is over.  All points have been recorded, and there are no additional points possible.  I hope that your next attempt at the class will be super successful, and I'm sorry if that wasn't your experience this semester.  Hopefully this class has given you a solid foundation for another attempt at it and/or has helped you see what might work better for you earlier in the next semester in terms of strategizing for success!

 

But, even after reading and understanding all of the Q&As above, I really do think you made an actual error in recording some of my scores.  What can I do?

ANSWER: If I made a true mistake I certainly want to know about it as soon as possible!  Please email me with a high priority setting and with the word "ERROR" in the subject line, and tell me SPECIFICALLY what the error was.  In the email include your FULL NAME, the name of the CLASS you were taking from me, and the SECTION NUMBER of that class.  Be sure to have the assignment, quiz, test, etc. available for me to look at in order to justify the change.  If an error was made I would be more than happy to fix it, and I would like to do so as quickly as possible!

 

I got a 79.4%, and I noticed another student got a 79.5%.  I got a C, but that person got a B.  Why?

ANSWER: I round grades to the nearest whole number percent.  A 79.5% rounds up to an 80%.  A 79.4% remains a 79%.  This is the standard mathematical method for rounding.  The line has to be drawn somewhere otherwise pretty soon a 79.4% is a B, but then so is a 79% (because it's so close to a 79.4%) and then so is a 78% (because it's so close to a 79%) and so is a 77% (because it's so close to a 78%) and so on, and that's just unsupportable.  Please know that if you earned a 79.4% (or 69.2% or some other borderline grade) that I double and triple checked the grades I entered for you before I ever posted them and before you ever asked me to do so (and that some "cushion" has already been granted - through any extra credit or "grade replacements" or grade dropping that I may have offered this semester - varies semester-to-semester, but I always provide some "cushion").  It would be unjust and inappropriate for me to randomly change anyone's letter grade, but if you feel I have made a true error in entry or calculation please read the answer to the question just above this one in order to find out what to do.

 

PLEASE NOTE: It is always my desire that my students be successful!  It makes me truly amazingly happy (for my sake and for yours) when I get to enter passing grades!  And it truly makes me sad when it hasn't been a successful semester for you.  And because I really do care I actually spend 2 to 3 hours double-checking EVERYTHING even after I have finished all the grading and entering all the grades in my grade-book before I post any results online.  Please know that I truly do wish you all the best!