Challenging a Grade?
posted by Mitra
I'm taking a science class in university. On an exam, there's a question marked down to half points that I believe is completely correct and confirmed with a classmate. I think the grader just made a mistake.
Usually, in these scenarios, my reaction is that whether right or wrong, grading is outside my control, and the best thing to do is not let it bother me, focus on keeping a positive attitude, and focus on my goal of learning what I want to learn.
My wife insists that I challenge the grade. However, I know that generally, the professors and the TA's have zero tolerance for that. Students are at the bottom of the status hierarchy. TAs are happy to chat, but have zero tolerance for grade challenges and won't give it a single second of consideration. They will not reevaluate the question. If you bring it up, they will dodge you in person not answer any emails you send. I can bring it up with the professor (who students generally aren't supposed to speak directly to) or even escalate to faculty, but I would rather not, as they probably would similarly snub me and avoid the actual exam question, and I would be stigmatized as a big cry baby.
The exam question is really a cut and dry technical question, and I think an impartial evaluator would readily grade it as correct. It's almost ridiculous that I am unable to challenge such an issue and get a response.
I don't even care so much about the actual points (it's a small number of points), but I feel like I should develop the interpersonal skills to tactfully address this, without just submissively rolling over.
What do you think?

Nikita
I think you are on the wrong website

Ms. Sue
I suggest you make an appointment with the professor and ASK him to explain the question and its answer to you.

bobpursley
I wonder how many times you have been given full credit when you didn't deserve it? Did you get so emotionally involved then?
Visit the TA. If that fails, visit the department chair. Of concern to the school, generally, is not your grade but fairness and openness in the grading system, but you are right, it is not a great concern. They are far more concerned with developing students with analytic and skilled minds.
Personally, I have never minded a student challenging any grade or mark I gave, and sometimes they were right. I did however get annoyed at public whiners, and backbiters.
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