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Incorrect Syllabus

music1990music1990 862 replies35 threads Member
Alright, so I have a tricky question guys. I'm waiting to get my grades, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to get all As and one A-. This is pretty good, and it doesn't really matter too much at this point since I'm already accepted to the school I want to go to. But at the same time, this probable A- is kind of disappointing me. I'm getting the A- in a class in which the syllabus says absolutely nothing about minus grades. It only says, "X amount of points for an A." So if I earn that amount of points, I should get an A, not an A- right?

Now I don't want to give the impression that I'm upset about this. I like the professor, and am not bitter at all. I just think the syllabus is misleading, and I'm trying to decide if it's worth making my case to the teacher. What do you think? Do I have a case here? I just want to know I did everything I could, and am fine with whatever happens. But if you guys think that I don't have an argument, I don't want to look stupid trying to convince the teacher for a better grade.
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Replies to: Incorrect Syllabus

  • CSB111CSB111 578 replies28 threads Member
    edited June 2014
    It won't hold up. Trust me. I went through a whole syllabus change/grade fight over a year ago and everything is up to the teacher's discretion for the most part (unless grading is unfair and you can prove this, the teacher was intoxicated etc).

    Any time you put into this won't even matter, your grades are going to start over anyways.
    edited June 2014
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  • music1990music1990 862 replies35 threads Member
    @CSB111‌

    Thanks for the response. I know it shouldn't really matter, but I can't help but care about it. It's really only the idea that I could have done something about it but didn't that would bother me though. If there's really nothing I can do, I can live with that.
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  • 2016Candles2016Candles 1591 replies9 threads Senior Member
    I think you should just start with an email to the prof, asking why you got the A-. Nothing accusatory, just an honest question. Refer back to their syllabus, ask about the discrepancy between your final grade and what your grade should be according to the syllabus.

    If they can't explain it to your satisfaction, then you can choose to go further. Find specific rules (in writing) at your school that deal with grade disputes. It will usually be in the current course catalogue online or something. Read over the rules carefully, and determine if you have grounds for a grade appeal.

    If you do have grounds, then follow the stated procedures. If you don't, then an A- is nothing to be upset about.
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  • fullloadfullload 758 replies28 threads Member
    I once had an A- and spoke to a professor who changed it to an A. I asked him if there was something I could do for extra credit, so I wrote a couple page essay on a topic of his choice. But, the reason he let me do this was law school. I plan to go to law school after my UG. Law school's DO factor in minus grades and an A- is not a 4.0, it's like a 3.7 (see the LSAC calculations page). So when I explained this to the professor he was very amicable about it. Most professors do not realize the minus affects law school admissions. So, if you really want to sway him in your favor, let him know you are considering law school after you graduate. Nothing unethical here, I mean, everyone "considers" all options after graduation. ;)
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  • CaytonCayton 3039 replies32 threads Senior Member
    @fullload‌

    That would seem morally dubious, unless @music1990 is *actually* considering going to law school.
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  • fullloadfullload 758 replies28 threads Member
    Like I said, it's something he can mention as being "considered". Nothing dubious about that. At this point, he can think carefully about law school, before contacting his professor...

    con·sid·er
    verb
    1. think carefully about (something), typically before making a decision.
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  • 2016Candles2016Candles 1591 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Law school is not unique in that it's the only reason gpa matters. While yes, your gpa resets in a way after transfer, it's not like it goes away. When applying for honor societies, scholarships, Latin grad honors, grad school, med school, etc, all of your grades are still counted.
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  • music1990music1990 862 replies35 threads Member
    Thank you everyone for the responses. It's a very hard decision for me.

    @Cayton‌

    What do u think Cayton? Do you think the professor is really obligated to be specific in the syllabus, or is it just supposed to be a general guideline? I'm kind of leaning towards just forgetting it and enjoying my summer, but I still think about it a little bit.
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  • calbrocalbro 276 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Just ask your professor about it. This is honestly something that bothers you and you have nothing to lose by asking. Be honest and sincere, and yeah...

    Generally community college professors aren't out to **** you over and want you to succeed. They're there for a reason, rather than a Cal State or something.
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  • CaytonCayton 3039 replies32 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    @music1990‌

    Well, my understanding of syllabuses(syllabi?) is that they are *contracts*, which must be upheld to the letter. Vagueness and loose adherence to the rules stated in such contracts shouldn't be tolerated by the student or by the department which your professor is a part of. In taking the class and completing it, you tacitly consent to abide by the rules stated therein. And even though the professor designs the syllabus, he/she binds him/herself to the rules of the syllabus. So, unless your professor amended the rules to justify giving you the A-, which it appears he/she didn't and seems doubtful, I think you have a case with your school's ombudsman or department that your professor is a member of. Take it up with the ombudsman or department chair.

    They may scoff at the idea of fighting an A- to get an A, but grades are always serious business, and if you can provide the necessary documentation that shows you deserve an A, *as outlined in the syllabus*, then the ombudsman/department chair is legally obligated to change your grade, if your professor won't.


    Good luck if you decide to appeal your grade. You probably have a case.

    edited June 2014
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  • music1990music1990 862 replies35 threads Member
    @Cayton‌
    Thanks Cayton. That's all I needed to hear. I think I'm going to give it a shot and write her a polite email.
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  • CaytonCayton 3039 replies32 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    @music1990


    Good luck. As @calbro said earlier, it couldn't hurt to try.
    edited June 2014
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  • Bear87Bear87 143 replies20 threads Junior Member
    At the very least, even if the prof will not change your grade, you should politely bring the discrepancy to their attention so they can alter their syllabus for next quarter/semester to prevent ambiguity for future students.
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