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Final Grade Question

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#1 jpinAL


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Posted 08 December 2017 - 03:16 PM



My college daughter wanted me to ask about an issue she has this semester. Final grades started coming in and she received a B in a class. This class has its grades posted on Canvas (like a digital grade book). All requirements are on there and graded. She has final grade on Canvas of 93.8 which is an A according to the syllabus. Have any of your children had final grades that were wrong and then corrected? Can an instructor assign grades arbitrarily? She has tried contacting the instructor with no luck.


Thank you


#2 ClemsonDana


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Posted 08 December 2017 - 04:24 PM

I once had a grade that was entered incorrectly. I called or emailed the professor, I don't remember which, and he fixed it. Depending on the grade system that the school uses, instructors may be manually typing in 'A' or 'B' for long lists of students, and it's easy to make a mistake. I don't think that I ever made a mistake when I taught at a CC, but I would have been happy to correct it. I usually only had 40ish students, but for instructors who teach multiple large sections, they could be entering hundreds of grades.

There could also be a misunderstanding about how letter grades are determined. Some instructors have a set scale for each letter, some look for natural breaks (gaps between clusters of similar averages), some scale up until there are a certain number of As, I had professors who determined letters by which standard deviation you were in compared to the average (this was for a class where tests weren't designed for students to earn above 70%) and some use a true curve so that they get a certain distribution of grades (you don't see this much any more, but it can lead to grades being lower than expected).

Anyway, I'd leave a voice mail and an email message. She may have to wait until after the break to hear back, though. Depending on whether a TA, adjunct, or professor taught the course, they may not be on campus over the break. They also might not be able to change it from home - at one place that I taught, you had to go on campus to deal with grade changes because we couldn't use personal internet connections due to FERPA rules, so if the administrators weren't around, you couldn't do it. Also, make sure that she uses a campus email account. Sometimes there are FERPA-related privacy rules about discussing grades over email, or without verifying that it is actually the student. How these rules are interpreted can vary between schools.
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#3 Momto2Ns


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Posted 08 December 2017 - 04:27 PM

Ds had a midterm grade of F in a class his first semester. He went to the professor and it was actually a B. Mistakes can happen. The teacher could have entered the wrong grading scale into Canvas or could have manually entered grades at the end of the course. 


ETA: I'd have her take a screen shot of the grade page on Canvas and email it to her professor with the question. If she gets no response, forward the email to the head of the department.



Edited by Momto2Ns, 08 December 2017 - 04:28 PM.

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#4 jpinAL


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Posted 08 December 2017 - 04:51 PM

Thanks all. The grade is based on a clear point system. 1100 total possible and she has 1033. Syllabus goes on to give letter value to points earned. She's really stressing over this. She did take a screen shots just in case. This is an Intro to Theater class and has been a pain in the rear for her since the beginning. Gen Ed credit

#5 jdahlquist


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Posted 08 December 2017 - 04:54 PM

Yes, mistakes do happen when entering grades, and they can be corrected.  If the professor is still giving final exams and grading papers, it may be a couple of days before the professor can respond to a request.


Another thing worth checking is to make sure that the weights used in the Canvas gradebook are the same as the weights on the syllabus for final grades.  I have seen instances where a student will have 10 grades of "100" on quizzes, a grade of "80" on exam 1, "83" on exam 2, and "81" on exam 3 and the professor did not specify weighting in Canvas or another online system.  The system weighted each grade as 1/13 of the class grade, resulting in an average in the "A" range.  But, the homework grade was really only 10% of the weight, resulting in weighted grade in the "B" range.  Weighting grades in the online gradebook (and making sure students don't see some arbitrary weighting the system uses) is extremely cumbersome in some online systems; I always use a separate gradebook in Excel to calculate final grades because I can program this much more easily.  I try to make sure that students don't see something in the online system that doesn't apply to the class, but sometimes things slip through and students see (incorrect) things I don't know they are seeing.  

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#6 SMMom1


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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:07 AM

Mistakes happen. I've typed in the wrong grade before. It is a pretty easy fix. The prof will just need to file grade change paperwork. It takes about 5 minutes. Send an email with the screenshot to the prof.

#7 regentrude


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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:16 AM

Mistakes can happen when entering grades. She needs to contact the professor and bring the mistake to the prof's attention. If there is a mistake, the prof can submit a grade change form and have it changed.

#8 skimomma


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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:33 AM

Definitely contact the instructor.


I use Canvas for my classes and there are some defaults in the grade book that can mess up the score that appears there.  It could also be weighting as another poster mentioned.  I always download my grade book and hand-calculate a few test students before I trust the math.  I have found errors in the past and it is usually because I missed a default.  I have also miskeyed a grade going into our university's system.  It is easy to do when I have 100+ students.