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Should I request my professor to change my grade?

australia6616australia6616 3 replies3 threads New Member
Hello, so here’s the backstory:

I just finished my freshman year at college and I worked with an assistant professor as a research assistant last semester. Basically, we met every week or two and he would assign me to do something. I started out with the intention of doing it just for research experience. However, he offered me potential letters or recommendations or credits in compensation for my work in the beginning of the semester. I decided to take three credits with him as an independent study. I thought that I would just get three credits for my work as he never mentioned that this study would be graded nor did he provide any sort of rubric; he simply said that nothing more would be expected of me than what we were currently doing. So, while it says online that independent studies are graded, I assumed I would get a Pass/Fail grade (meaning I would just receive the credit and no GPA affecting grade). I took 19 credits that semester and conducted research with another professor so I was pretty booked. Since I wasn’t aware that I would be graded, it follows that my expectations and performance were underwhelming as I had to make time for other work.

At the end of the semester, I found out that he gave me a B, so I contacted him about it and asked if he could change it. He responded with a forwarded email from him asking admins if he could change my grade to pass/fail, which was not possible- I had to be given an A-F grade. So, I asked if he could change it to an A since that’s the only grade that wouldn’t lower my current GPA (based on my current 72 credits). That might seem pretty arrogant of me, but all of the offers he provided me in the beginning of the semester were strictly beneficial to me- receiving a grade that would be a detriment to my GPA is not beneficial. He responded saying that my performance is equal to a B grade but he was willing to change it to a B+. However, I felt that this was not fair and regrettably sent him angry emails stating that I would contact a bunch of department heads about this. So, he get a bit pissed off and recommends me to speak to one of my advisors. When I did, my advisor told me that fighting over a single grade and getting a bunch of people involved is not worth it. Rather, I should try to reconcile with the professor. I thought about it and decided that a B might not be too bad in the long run, but I am keen on getting at least a B+. Soon afterwards, I sent an apology email to my professor stating how I was too fixated on my grade and was willing to work with him without compensation anytime. He is in Italy right now.

He didn’t respond. I emailed him again and he said something alongs the lines of, “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in the project anymore.” My final email to him was, “I’m sorry to hear this. Previously you mentioned that you were willing to change my grade to a B+. Will that still be possible.” He hasn’t responded in over a week. I contacted my advisor and he said that I should just show up to his office some weeks later when he returns.

Any thoughts? Should I just keep the B and move on? Should I try to get a hold of him? It feels pretty bad knowing I probably screwed myself over.
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Replies to: Should I request my professor to change my grade?

  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9981 replies386 threads Senior Member
    It's not the professor's fault that you didn't know the independent study was graded. He gave you the B that you earned and generously offered to make it a B+ when you complained that it would lower your GPA, and you responded to his generosity by sending him (more than one) angry email threatening to contact a slew of other department chairs if he didn't give you an A. Now that you realize you don't have your advisor's support to pressure him to give you an A you want to take him up on his offer to raise your grade to a B+, but he hasn't responded to your request and you want to know if you should continue to ask.

    I think you should have cut your losses a long time ago. Grades aren't negotiable, and the only chair who will entertain a complaint about a grade is the chair of the department the course is listed in. You knew your responsibilities (what you had been doing before the independent study started) and you slacked off, so the grade isn't unfair.

    I wouldn't say the class wasn't beneficial to you. The benefit of being a research assistant is the experience. What won't be helpful is if you get a reputation for trying to pressure professors to give you the grade you want instead of the one you earned. If I were you, the only reason I'd go see that professor would be to apologize.
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  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3709 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    Jeez, asking for a grade change after doing minimal work, then sending angry emails. Just stop all of this and hope that this prof doesn’t interact much with your other profs or anyone who might consider hiring you someday. Independent studies often don’t involve grading rubrics and as the person who registered for the class, you should have known whether course was pass/ fail or not.
    edited July 2019
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7948 replies160 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    You blew it. You earned a B, this line speaks volumes: " Since I wasn’t aware that I would be graded, it follows that my expectations and performance were underwhelming as I had to make time for other work. " He offered a B+ and you got snotty.

    You know the line about burning bridges? This is what it means. And, unfortunately, you may have also blown any chance you had at working with any of his colleagues.

    Stop interrupting his vacation with your issues. He's in Italy; he should not have to deal with your choice to want an A for "underwhelming performance."

    Do you really expect someone here to agree that you should continue to harass this man?
    edited July 2019
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  • Austria1111Austria1111 4 replies1 threads New Member
    Hey guys, thanks for the replies. Just to be clear, I didn't send my angry emails requesting an A. I asked him if it would be possible to change it to an A and when he responded saying that he was willing to change it to a B+, I asked if there was any way to change it to some sort of pass/fail grade that I intended to get. This is when I got frustrated and complained how I would ask a bunch of department heads (I never ended up asking them) if I could somehow change my grade into a pass/fail.

    Regardless, at this point I think I should just drop it and move on.
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  • twogirlstwogirls 7774 replies7 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    If your performance was underwhelming then you should not receive an A....you didn’t earn it. I know students who worked in research labs doing independent study and they went above and beyond to receive an A.

    You should have appreciated the generous offer of the B+. I agree that you burned your bridges with any of this person’s colleagues.
    edited July 2019
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  • oldfortoldfort 23505 replies308 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    Look at this as lessons learned:
    1) Never assume anything, always set expectations and have an agreement.
    2) When asking someone for a favor, be gracious and appreciative.
    3) Do not send any emails in anger. Write it, sleep on it, and then decide if you still want to send.
    4) Do not threaten anyone, especially someone who is more senior than you.
    5) Get a prospective on a problem first - one B is really not that big of a deal, wasn't worth all the anger and hoopla.
    I am sure there are other lessons. Those are important lessons for later on in your life. Now, I would move on. But when the professor comes back, I would send a card (maybe a box of chocolate, or whatever you think he may enjoy) to the professor to let him know how sorry you are and you know you behaved badly, without asking for a better grade.
    edited July 2019
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  • skieuropeskieurope 41014 replies7678 threads Super Moderator
    edited July 2019
    Closing thread for ToS violation. The OP and one of the respondents are the same person. To make matters worse, both accounts are duplicates of a third account.
    edited July 2019
    Post edited by skieurope on
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