Do you guys think this professor is trying to screw me over?

In summary, the student has been working hard and believes they should have a higher grade in their numerical analysis class. However, they have received lower grades due to not following specific instructions and not explicitly stating their answers. They have also noticed that other students in the class have received higher grades despite not following all instructions or even copying the student's work. The student believes this is unfair and has considered reporting the professor to the university administration.
  • #1
sinister99
I've been taking this numerical analysis class for 6 weeks. I should be getting an A+ in the class based on my understanding of the material and how hard I work. However right now I only have a B.(I've working my ass off to boost my medicore gpa)

On the midterm there was a proof where we had to calculate the spectral radius of the Gauss-Seidel iteration matrix to determine whether it converges. So I wrote down "The Gauss-Seidel process converges for the matrix A if and only if the spectral radius of the iteration matrix is less than 1." then i proceeded to calculate the spectral radius and got 5 as an answer. He marked off 3/10 points and the reason was I didn't specifically state whether it converges.

I also got 4 more points marked for for similar reasons on the midterm. I tried arguing about them with him but he wouldn't give me a single point back.

Now about the homework. On the first assignment he did the first problem for us. (It was just a 1 line code for calculating the Frobenius norm.) The second part of the problem required us to write a code to calculate the number of steps it takes the Frobenius norm of a certain iteration matrix to covert to a certain value. He gave me a 0 on that problem because I didn't send him the Frobenius norm code as a separate file.(in matlab) because I figured that it would just be a part of the code of the second problem.

On the second assignment. I was given zeros on my solutions because I sent him the answers by e-mail instead of writing them down on a piece of paper. I sent him my code and solutions 2 days in advance and asked him in the e-mail whether we could submit our solutions electronically. (His reply was that he didn't check his email until the deadline. And he marked me off because I didn't write them down on a piece of paper like he asked.)

Now here comes the comical part.He allows us to work together on the homework assignments. I've been working has hard and know my stuff at least as well if not better than everyone else in the class. I've spent hours helping 4-5 of my classmates with their codes. In fact I basically let 2 people copy my codes and when they still couldn't get their codes working I just told them to copy the numbers I got. And they both got full points on their assignment.

He also asked us to find the orthogonal projection of sin(x) onto p3[0,1] and cos(x) onto p4[0,1]. Almost everyone in the class just wrote down the formulas without calculating the integral and they all got full credit anyway. While I actually wrote both a mathematical code and MATLAB code to calculate the orthogonal projections.

In simple words people got full credit by just copying my answers while I got 0's on the exact same problems because I didn't turn in a hard copy. And he actually saw me helping people out and basically giving them my asnwers.( I sat in the front row.)
 
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  • #2
I can sympathize a little bit, but stuff like this happens.

So, the lessons you should have picked up are

(i) Don't give out your homework answers
(ii) Make sure you explicitly state what the question wants
(iii) Ask well before the deadline about the format of submission
 
  • #3
Assuming you are right, go straight to the university administration and lodge a complaint against him. This is too shocking.
 
  • #4
The ability to follow directions precisely is pretty important. Although I understand your frustration, don't expect things to get better in the real world. And if you can't follow directions, then he's not obligated to make special exceptions just for you.
 
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  • #5
My main complaint is that most people in the class didn't do everything he asked either and they still got full credit. I know for a fact that a lot of people didn't write codes for everything he asked us or didn't get their code to work. Still he gave them all full credit including the people who basically copied my answers. While I got 0's on the exact same problems.

If he wasn't so lenient with the way he grades everyone else I wouldn't suspect him of having double standards.

And so far out the the gazillion points he marked off, only 1 point was for an actual math mistake.(when I forgot to copy down a negative sign) This class is straight scaled meaning 92% is an A. So every point matters.
 
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  • #6
One additional thought: I would sure hate to have a doctor who can't follow directions.
 
  • #7
How about you tell him everything you mentioned in your OP face to face with him?
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking said:
One additional thought: I would sure hate to have a doctor who can't follow directions.

So you think it's fair for him to give people who didn't even finish all the work and even people who basically didn't do much on their own and just copied my answers full credit but mark me off left and right for gimmicky reasons? (I know for a fact that most people in the class didn't write codes for several questions he asked on the homework. and they basically made up some bs answers and still got full credit.)

If he was grading everyone else as harshily as he's grading me I would have no complains but that clearly isn't the case.
 
  • #9
Ivan:
Assuming he's telling the truth here, the professor does not seem to set the same standard of grading to all of his students.


And that is exceedingly grave, Ivan.
 
  • #10
arildno said:
Ivan:
Assuming he's telling the truth here, the professor does not seem to set the same standard of grading to all of his students.


And that is exceedingly grave, Ivan.

Actually this professor used to be my favorite TA.(He just graduated recently) And I used to think he was a really nice guy and he's excellent at teaching. I don't think he's intentionally trying to be a douchebag at least I hope not. But the way he's doing things certainly makes it seem like he's being a total ******* to me.
 
  • #11
If you were asked to hand in a hard copy of your solutions, and you didn't, then you deserve to have marks knocked off, sorry! Also, if you emailed your work to him, and he didn't reply before the deadline, then you should have asked him if he received it, or phoned him. You can't just assume that emails get sent.

Following instructions is a very important lesson to learn, and if you don't follow them, then you shouldn't score full marks!
 
  • #12
Just be completely anal and take it to the enth degree.
 
  • #13
cristo said:
If you were asked to hand in a hard copy of your solutions, and you didn't, then you deserve to have marks knocked off, sorry! Also, if you emailed your work to him, and he didn't reply before the deadline, then you should have asked him if he received it, or phoned him. You can't just assume that emails get sent.

Following instructions is a very important lesson to learn, and if you don't follow them, then you shouldn't score full marks!

U clearly only read the bolded part of my post if you think that's the only reason I'm complaining.
 
  • #14
Maybe he's giving you the 0s because he knows you're helping others to cheat and wants you to stop doing it. Not really a good idea to hand other people answers right in front of the professor.
 
  • #15
The prof appears to be acting extremely anal, at the very least, and possibly biased too. I think this ought to be followed up on.
 
  • #16
Moonbear said:
Maybe he's giving you the 0s because he knows you're helping others to cheat and wants you to stop doing it. Not really a good idea to hand other people answers right in front of the professor.

He said he expects us to work together and he did so when he took numerical analysis. So that theory completely fails and the people I helped all got full marks.

A lot of people in the class have had no programming experience before so they are really struggling.
 
  • #17
Okay then. With the one that you turned in by email, I wouldn't fight it too much, because he can argue that you failed to follow instructions and turn it in on paper (when you didn't get any response by email that it was acceptable, the default assumption should be that either he didn't get it or it wasn't, and you should have turned in a paper copy). Pick your battles on this.

When it comes to the other assignments, if he's giving you 0 points for minor mistakes while giving others full credit for more serious errors (or for the exact same answers you're turning in), then you do have a reasonable complaint if you're truly allowed to work together in that way. If so, will other people you know in the class provide you with copies of their graded assignments? You can just Xerox a bunch of them if they'll let you borrow them for that. Then, take the whole bunch of them and your assignments to the professor (I'd keep copies of yours too) and point out the discrepancies in grading.

If his response to that isn't to remedy the problem, and you're not satisfied with his reasoning, then I think you may be justified in contacting someone higher up in the department and requesting an appointment to discuss the matter. Again, bring copies of your graded assignments and the other assignments to demonstrate the discrepancy in grading.
 
  • #18
Careful, though, he might just dock your friends points and then they'll be pissed at you too.
 
  • #19
siddharth said:
I can sympathize a little bit, but stuff like this happens.

So, the lessons you should have picked up are

(iii) Ask well before the deadline about the format of submission

I lost lots of marks on a project because of this. It wasn't fair I thought. The professor let us re-write it after and he re-graded it. That was nice of him. It was our first time using LaTeX, which we didn't need to use, but just wanted to make it look better. Our presentation was the best too. We did good on our finals too. Now, our grades better reflect what we can do (group project) otherwise it probably wouldn't have.
 

Related to Do you guys think this professor is trying to screw me over?

1. What are some red flags that a professor is trying to screw me over?

Some red flags to look out for include consistently low grades, unclear or unfair grading criteria, lack of responsiveness or availability for help, and inconsistent or changing expectations for assignments.

2. Should I confront my professor if I suspect they are trying to sabotage my success?

Before confronting your professor, it is important to gather evidence and seek advice from other trusted faculty members or academic advisors. If you do decide to confront your professor, remain professional and bring up specific concerns with concrete examples.

3. How can I protect myself from a professor who may be intentionally trying to harm my academic performance?

Document all interactions with your professor, including emails and in-person conversations. Keep copies of assignments and graded work. Seek support from other faculty members and academic resources on campus. If necessary, consider reporting the situation to the department chair or academic dean.

4. Is it common for professors to try to sabotage their students?

While it is not common, there have been reported cases of professors intentionally trying to harm their students' academic success. It is important to address any concerns or red flags with your professor and seek support from other faculty members if necessary.

5. What steps can I take to prevent a professor from trying to sabotage my academic success in the future?

Choose your classes carefully and do thorough research on professors before enrolling. Seek recommendations from other students and utilize online resources, such as Rate My Professors. Keep open communication with your professor and address any concerns or issues as soon as they arise. Seek support and advice from other faculty members or academic advisors if needed.

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