How can I refute this? Is there a way to bring it up with a higher up?

My COMP 270 class professor has recently gave me half points on a recent assignment. The assignment is not worth much but its the point that matters and I feel like the professor has a problem with me.

Basically what happened is I submitted an assignment that followed all the directions. The assignment was to change an email to the “you view”. I did just that and once I submitted the assignment I commented under the submission that I felt like I could have made the email much better if I was allowed to change the way certain information was conveyed. An example, in the original email that was a part that said something was due in 1.9 weeks. Nobody knows what 1.9 weeks is but the assignment instructions specifically stated to not change information. So in the comment I said I would have changed this is the assignment instructions allowed me to. The professor then commented back and said I received a low grade on the assignment because I didn’t make the changes in the email that I said I would have in the comment. Me making those changes would have gone directly against the assignment instructions but now she is grading me down because I followed instructions. I am completely dumbfounded and I am currently talking back in forth with her about this. I honestly want to report her or have this fixed by a higher up in my school as the professor will not budge.

I can provide screenshots of everything, the assignment directions, my submission, and even the emailing back and forth.

Usually there isn’t much back and forth, and there is no one really to report to when you disagree with how much partial credit you should get. Hopefully you can do better in the rest of the class and then decide not to take this prof again.

Edited to add that there is no person “higher up” who should be overturning a professor’s decision about partial credit on an assignment.

Okay I got ya, I figured there would be somebody. I have screenshots (just in case the prof changes the assignment details) that show the directions of the assignment.

The assignment description specifically states to not change the information and the professor specifically stated in the message that I am being graded down for not changing the information.

By information I mean dates, data, etc.

This is the most important part of the story. Is this REALLY the hill upon which you are choosing to die?

While there are people at the college to whom you can report capricious grading practices, they are not the professor’s “higher ups”, College doesn’t really work that way.

Your college website should provide information regarding the steps you should take in the case of a grade dispute. I recommend that, if you feel that this is important to you, follow those steps.

Agree with above. If you want to be a bit persistent, respond politely to your professor, agreeing with her comments but clarifying that it was your understanding, per the instructions , that you were not to change content, but that you wanted her to be aware, in your side comments, of your additional thoughts about this composition and how you would have liked to have taken it in a different direction if it was permissible, but your understanding was that it was not. Agree with her comments but ask her to kindly reconsider the grade in lieu of your strict following of the directions. If she doesn’t le it go.

Don’t overthink this, especially not in terms of points. What you need is clarification of the instructions and expectations. Not to win some minor argument.

If you’ve questioned her before, sure, she may be annoyed by your approach.

Agree with the above. You need to make sure that you understand directions for future assignments - you can ask her to clarify and say something like:

“I really misunderstood the directions and I’d like to clarify so I don’t make this mistake again. I thought when you said X you meant X but it looks like I was graded down for doing X. Maybe I misunderstood the instructions or why you took points off?” Can you speak to her? Even via zoom?

This assignment is done and the grade isn’t going to change.

Have you spoke with the professor in person? When you say she “wont budge”, could it be because the tone isn’t coming off nicely in emails? I would take it up in person with the professor - go to her office hours and speak face to face.

  1. Talk to someone you know…maybe a parent or trusted friend. Show them the assignment, show them what you did and the comments and see if they agree with you. If so, then
    2)Talk to the Professor in person (or in Zoom person) about this during office hours. Have the instructions for the assignment with you. State that you want to understand how what you did related to the instructions so you can do better next time… Really listen and find out where you differed in interpretation. Don’t talk about the grades. Don’t be defensive or accusatory.
    Say that you want to do well in this class and want to make sure you understand what she is looking for in assignments but you clearly missed something here.

  2. After you do that, you will either find out you were wrong or you will find out that you adhered to the instructions but she still took half off for you not doing more than the assignment, and if you feel strongly about this then talk to the Department head. Say that you adhered to the instructions, but you still had points taken off for a reason not related to the assignment. You tried talking to the professor but she still arbitrarily took off points not related to the assignment and what do they recommend in addressing this?

You may not want to talk to the Professor, but this will be a good exercise for the future…you may have a boss that gives you partial instructions for tasks. You will learn to make sure you understand what they want.

Changing the way the information is conveyed (for ex. as in 13 days instead of 1.9 weeks) may be what she wanted. That is not changing the information, it is stating it in a way that is more clear. Maybe she did not want you to significantly alter the meaning of the email.

This is what you need to respectfully clarify going forward.

Faculty are not supposed to have different grading rubrics for different students. If this teacher does, that’s an issue that should politely be brought to someone’s attention. But first you have to verify that this professor is actually doing that. Follow Bopper’s suggestions in post #8. If a polite conversation with the professor doesn’t help and you come away still believing that you followed her directions then have a discussion with the department chair. If she is the chair then your advisor can probably tell you who can help.

Hmm. I think @scmom12’s post has merit. As this is a COMP class, maybe she’s looking for who can clarify, simplify, make usable, etc, the info provided. An important skill in CS work. And so, I could see taking points off for noticing but not doing. ?

ps. Going forward, any conversation should be simple and straightforward.