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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 1/7/2006 7:40:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/14/2006 10:27:25 AM EDT by Illinigunner21]
Howdy! So, as some of you know, I'm a student at the University of Illinois. As an engineer, I took a very high level math class last semester. On the midterms, I did very well, however the final was kinda hard, and I didn't do so hot. I also missed one of the midterms with a migraine, and I was excused from it (or so I thought).

Anyways, I got a low grade in the class. I emailed my instructor to confirm that he got my excuse from the emergency dean (the office in charge of handling such excuses). He emails me back saying, no and that he will check when he gets back in the US on January 12th. He also states that if he drops the midterm I missed, I'll end up with a much better grade. Grades and academic standing are finalized on the 6th (yesterday). I inform him of that fact and tell him that he should get in contact with the emergency dean (by email or phone) in order to confirm my excuse. He emails me back saying that he must keep my grade because my final (which I did terrible on) counts towards my missed midterm as well.

So here's his formula for calcualting my grade:
.15x(HW scores) + .30x(midterm scores - 15% each) + .55x(final exam score) then divide by 100 to obtain percentage

Normally grades are calculated as follows:
.15x(HW scores) + .45x(midterm scores - 15% each) +.40x(final exam score) then divide by 100 to obtain percentage

Personally, I feel that his way of calculating my grade was done in order to specifically highlight my poor final score. Also, the fact that he told me that if he drops the midterm I missed, my grade gets change prior to this makes me suspicous. I personally think that he fabricated this formula in order to make himself not have to go through the trouble of having to change my grade. Also, I am not being graded anywhere as nearly as other students. Thus, I am taking my case to the head of the math department. I have also contacted the professor to reconsider, as well as asking him for clarification as to why he told be that dropping the missing mideterm gives me a better grade. So I'm basically wondering what should I expect here? Who is right?

ETA: When I hear drop, two formulas, which are much more fair come to mind to me:

.15x(HW scores) +.45x(midterm scores - more percentage for each midterm) +.40x(final eam score) then divide by 100 to get precentage

OR

.15x(HW scores) +.30x midterm scores(still 15% each) +.40x(final eam score) then divide by 85 to get precentage

His formula specifically highlights my poor final and does not anywhere nearly alllow for me to be graded by the same standards as other students IMHO.


UPDATED!!! I talked with the chair of the math department who basically said its all up to my prof. My prof has decided to give me a second chance at the final (which will be different) in order to show that I deserve the grade I deserve.
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 7:42:53 PM EDT

I know you're in engineering school, but you're going to have to go into lawyer mode (yourself). You need the student handbook, student code, grading policy, faculty senate handbook, and any information on filing grade appeals.
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 7:43:12 PM EDT
You didn't have to make up your midterm AT ALL???? What school do YOU go to?
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 7:44:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
You didn't have to make up your midterm AT ALL???? What school do YOU go to?



I told him that I missed it (with an excuse) the day later and he said he will just drop the score.
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 7:45:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
I know you're in engineering school, but you're going to have to go into lawyer mode (yourself). You need the student handbook, student code, grading policy, faculty senate handbook, and any information on filing grade appeals.



I already went through the student code, and they said to go to the head of the department, if they don't solve it, I can appeal to a special board.
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 7:48:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2006 7:49:30 PM EDT by ScaryGuy]

Originally Posted By Illinigunner21:

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
I know you're in engineering school, but you're going to have to go into lawyer mode (yourself). You need the student handbook, student code, grading policy, faculty senate handbook, and any information on filing grade appeals.



I already went through the student code, and they said to go to the head of the department, if they don't solve it, I can appeal to a special board.



Then get ready to go to eh "special board" , because if it's anything like the college profs I've dealt with, you'll have to push it all the way over Hell's half acre to get it changed.

Ultimately, a Case of Bud Light got the prof to see it my way. Ain't Alabama grand???

Good Luck.

SG
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 7:50:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ScaryGuy:

Originally Posted By Illinigunner21:

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
I know you're in engineering school, but you're going to have to go into lawyer mode (yourself). You need the student handbook, student code, grading policy, faculty senate handbook, and any information on filing grade appeals.



I already went through the student code, and they said to go to the head of the department, if they don't solve it, I can appeal to a special board.



Then get ready to go to eh "special board" , because if it's anything like the college profs I've dealt with, you'll have to push it all the way over Hell's half acre to get it changed.

Ultimately, a Case of Bud Light got the prof to see it my way. Ain't Alabama grand???

Good Luck.

SG



Bud Lite, huh? Lemme guess, Professor of women's studies, right?
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 7:52:47 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 7:54:01 PM EDT
Well, then there's not much else you can do other than following that procedure.

Keep printouts of all email communications past present and future regarding the issue.

When I was an undergraduate, I had a professor who suffered from severe cranio-rectal inversion. I won't go in to why, but due to a ridiculous decision on his part I ended up with an 89% when I clearly earned over a 90%. I asked him to reconsider, he refused, I met with the division chair, I decided to appeal to the committee.

Now, understand I had graduated by this point and needed to get it taken care of. They scheduled a meeting time for the committee and let me know when it was going to be. Except they gave me the wrong date, telling ME it was on Friday, but telling everyone on the COMMITTEE it was on Wednesday.

So I get a letter from the committee chair, saying since I didn't appear, they closed the case, and I had no further recourse. I responded with extreme protest, but there was nothing else I could afford to do.

The system is set up in their favor, and the only way you can win is with good technical skills and a rock-solid case. Good luck.
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 7:55:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Paul:
Extra credit!

When I have a student that has life interfere with the mid-term I'll offer an assignment - normally a research paper on a topic we agree upon to act as make-up for the missing 20% that my mid-terms count. I make it so that by the time the student walks in they've got 60% of their grade - most walk in with 55%-60% and only have to fail the final to pass with a "B".



I get paid the same if the students pass or fail the exams. I keep them motivated and entertained enough that they always learn the course required objectives and much more.



Once again, this is something I feel is FAIR. I was never offered a make up assignment nor was I told that the missing percentage of my grade would be filled in by the final. I was simply told that the grade would be dropped.
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 7:57:38 PM EDT

Is there a specific policy in your student handbook (or for your school) that deals with how missed (excused) scores are handled? Definitely look into that, just be be sure you are aware of all of the rules that may apply. Instructors are not necessarily going to be aware of arcane rulings in student handbooks, or even school policies. Unless it specifically has come up before, he may not have a good way of handling it. If there isn't one, then it probably is at the discretion of the instructor - and a missed (excused) score can be handled in a variety of ways.

My guess is that IF a policy is written down somewhere, it probably says that you cannot be PENALIZED for an excused missed absence.

If you can make the argument that you are being penalized - and point out that the rules specifically prohibit it, then you might have a good shot at arguing your case, and perhaps getting some different algorithm applied.

My advice to you is to be extremely reasonable and logical in your communications, both to your department head or the professor. From personal experience (shared by colleagues) I can tell you that faculty react very differently to queries from students that are phrased as questions and requests for clarifications, or expressions of concern - and the ones that have a demanding tone, or sound indignant or have an air of entitlement.

Let me be clear - it's not about kissing ass or sucking up, it's about presenting your argument in a way that makes the other person want to listen to it.

If you express your concern in a calm, rational and friendly manner (especially if there is some rule somewhere that says you cannot be panalized for a missed absence) and you perhaps present an analysis, showing several different reasonable logarithms that might have been used - including his - you might be able to make a convincing argument that his might be slightly (and probably unintenionally) biased. For example, in my class, I would calculate (interpolate) a midterm score for you, based on your performance on the other two midterms - which is a quite different algorithm.


Good luck.

Link Posted: 1/7/2006 8:00:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:

Originally Posted By ScaryGuy:

Originally Posted By Illinigunner21:

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
I know you're in engineering school, but you're going to have to go into lawyer mode (yourself). You need the student handbook, student code, grading policy, faculty senate handbook, and any information on filing grade appeals.



I already went through the student code, and they said to go to the head of the department, if they don't solve it, I can appeal to a special board.



Then get ready to go to eh "special board" , because if it's anything like the college profs I've dealt with, you'll have to push it all the way over Hell's half acre to get it changed.

Ultimately, a Case of Bud Light got the prof to see it my way. Ain't Alabama grand???

Good Luck.

SG



Bud Lite, huh? Lemme guess, Professor of women's studies, right?



Nope. Organic Chemistry.

SG
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 8:03:35 PM EDT
So......

What does your syllabus say?

Also, having the final count for a missed exam seems like SOP to me. That's the way my Calc prof does it.
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 8:03:54 PM EDT
All of my profs state what happens to your grade is you fail to take a midterm in their syllabus. Your prof seems to have given you conflicting information, go to the dean. I would let him know that you are first though. It is rude to go over people's head without letting them know. In my experience, the final replaces the 0 on the midterm or all other grade weights are inflated proportionally such that the value of the midterm is distributed to other grades.
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 8:08:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
You didn't have to make up your midterm AT ALL???? What school do YOU go to?



I have never taken a course in which the prof allowed a make up for any other reason than an exam in another course at the same exact time. All other reasons, medical or otherwise, don't provide for a make up. BTW- I'm an undergrad finance major/ accounting and sociology minor; my school is ranked 4th in the country for finance and 1st for accounting. I'm not trying to sound pretentious, but it has nothing to do with the quality of school. Lots of schools do things differently.
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 8:20:34 PM EDT
Thanks for the advice, but here's what the sylabus states:


Grades are weighted as follows:
Homeworks: 15%
Midterm Exams: 45% (i.e. 15% each)
Final Exam: 40%



Furthermore it states nothing about how a missed exam is to be made up. When I told him about my absence, he stated that the grade would be dropped. HE NEVER STATED TO ME THAT THE FINAL WOULD WILL IN THE GAP OF MISSED EXAM. HE SAID THE MISSED EXAM WOULD BE DROPPED. HE ALSO STATED PRIOR TO GIVING ME THE FINAL FORMULA THAT SHOULD HE DROP THE EXAM, I HAVE A BETTER GRADE.

I wanted to highlight the stuff in caps... sorry.
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 8:46:10 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ardenner:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
You didn't have to make up your midterm AT ALL???? What school do YOU go to?



I have never taken a course in which the prof allowed a make up for any other reason than an exam in another course at the same exact time. All other reasons, medical or otherwise, don't provide for a make up. BTW- I'm an undergrad finance major/ accounting and sociology minor; my school is ranked 4th in the country for finance and 1st for accounting. I'm not trying to sound pretentious, but it has nothing to do with the quality of school. Lots of schools do things differently.



I agree. The only exception to that is if they offer to let you take a test in another location - I did that several times one semester when I had a broken right arm.

As far as your current situation... My experience is that Prof's can pretty much give any grade they want, and grade any way they want.
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