# Harsh grading or not? Argue with prof?

1. Oct 14, 2015

### Lagraaaange

I lost 10% or half of the points for a Fourier series problem because I forgot to include an "x" into argument of sin (pi). Is it just me or is this an excessive deduction of points?

2. Oct 14, 2015

### axmls

It seems a little harsh. Did you include it in future calculations correctly? Was it the final answer?

That said, many of my professors assign points for each part of the problem, so that em getting everything correct but entering it into the calculator wrong would be only 1 point off or so. Different professors have different rules, though, and unless it was exorbitantly unfair or you really got it right, it's hard to argue for more points.

3. Oct 14, 2015

### Choppy

Without the full question it's hard for anyone to make a call on whether something was harsh grading or not. Omitting a variable in a function like that is obviously going to make something into a zero, and so it's possible that the consequence of that, even if carried through correctly put you into a situation where you didn't have to deal with about half of the problem - at least from a mark allotment point of view.

The way to deal with something like this is to go in during office hours and simply ask the professor to explain what you missed. This helps you to learn from the mistake and allows you to open a dialogue about the problem without challenging or arguing with the prof. (Often, students who come in with a confrontational attitude are met with a stonewall.)

4. Oct 14, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

How do you figure that 10% is half the points?

Without x, $\sin(\pi) = 0$. Without seeing your work, it's hard to tell if the points deducted were excessive. Also, many instructors will give partial credit if they think you're on the right track, but a few give credit only when the answer is correct. Hard to say without more information.

5. Oct 14, 2015

Staff Emeritus
Did you then simplify it to zero? I would have taken more points off for that.

6. Oct 15, 2015

### Lagraaaange

Its was an expression for a sawtooth wave. I did all the work right but then forgot to add the x in the definition of a Fourier Series: I had the Bn coefficient but forgot the x in sin(npix)

7. Oct 15, 2015

### Dishsoap

But was it just a writing error - that is, did you include it on the next line? Or did you simplify the whole thing to zero? Because if the latter is the case, then you absolutely made a huge mistake and losing 50% isn't unreasonable.

8. Oct 15, 2015

### micromass

Staff Emeritus
Seems fair to me.

9. Oct 15, 2015