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Should I Consult my Professor

  1. Apr 28, 2012 #1
    Hi all,

    I need some opinions on my situation:

    - In my school, in general, 90% and above is considered an A+ and gets you a 4.3 GPA (highest) for that course. Professors have the right to alter the grading scheme. I currently obtained an A for a course which I suspected I would get an A+. When I asked my professor what my grade was he replied 92% and said it was the highest grade in the class. Naturally, I assumed I have over 90% so I should have gotten an A+ so I asked why I didn't have an A+ and he said the cutoff is 93% and thus no one got an A+ in the course (why would he do that?). Also, in the past, he gave me poor grades in both my quiz and my midterm exam and when I went to see him, it turns out I actually got 100% on my quiz and 96% on my midterm.

    - I just want to hear the opinions of other people to know whether I should pursue the grade or not.

    - I'm a straight A+ student, though I don't care much of my marks (I just love to learn and hence get good grades). By this fact, I know I should just let it go. My issue isn't the fact that I didn't get an A+, but rather it's the principle of honoring students' efforts (I'm sure there may be other students that got between and including 90% and 92% and worked hard).

    - Also, this situation has happened to me twice in my university years and I was unsuccessful in both my attempts (once because I had no proofs for my grades and another because my professor refused to give A+ to anyone in the course).
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    Let it go.
  4. Apr 28, 2012 #3
    Let it go.

    If your professor feels you don't deserve and A+, then you don't.
  5. Apr 29, 2012 #4
    Don't let it go, but don't be rude either. It just takes a walk into his office and a 10 minute discussion. You may as well give it a try. Grading is an iffy thing with small sample sizes and different measurements each iteration of students. Iffy things can be changed with a little bit of persuasion.
  6. Apr 29, 2012 #5
    What your grade is has nothing to do with the distribution of grades throughout the class unless the grades were curved. So, because you were close to an A+ but had the highest grade doesn't mean you should get the A+.

    My reaction at first was that the teacher was just being picky, but on the other hand that + symbol basically means you know the material perfectly and 92% is not perfect even if outstanding.

    Let it go because it was obviously not personal if the posted cutoff was 93%. If that were not the case then I would look into it more. Your prof knows that you were close and for one reason or another did not bump you up to the A+. It couldn't hurt talking to them if your focus is on what you can do better next time and where you can improve. Don't focus on trying to convince your teacher that they were wrong and you are entitled to a better grade.

    By the way, great job with your scores. If you apply the same effort to networking and your current projects you'll go far.
  7. Apr 29, 2012 #6


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    He's already talked to the professor about it, according to his original post. The next step would probably be to take it up with the head of the department. Whether that is likely to succeed depends on the culture at that particular university.
  8. Apr 29, 2012 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    Micromass hit it on the head: if the professor feels you haven't earned an A+, you haven't earned an A+.

    By the way, how can you be a straight A+ student and still have failed twice to get an A changed to an A+?
  9. Apr 29, 2012 #8
    It was just shorter to say I have straight A+'s and mention I have 2 A's later on. I have straight A+'s and 3 A's now. But as I said, my grades are immaterial, it's what I know that characterizes me, not what's on paper.

    I wanna thank you all for the advice. I've also been speaking with his PhD students, whom I've gotten quite familiar with over the semester, and they all say he is very stubborn so I figured I'll just let it go. Again, it's not the fact that I didn't get an A+ that bothers me, it's that:
    1) He has made a lot of mistakes throughout the semester with my grades and those of my colleagues;
    2) He is known for not giving students A+ (does that mean he made the cutoff 93% on purpose because I got 92%);
    3) He doesn't care much for the opinions of students (he really is quite stubborn).

    All in all, I'm done communicating with him and everyone's advice was helpful. Thank you all.
  10. Apr 30, 2012 #9
    uhoh bro. I can see a future "will I get into grad school with these A mark blemishes on my record??" I'd advise you to do as much research as possible and attempt to publish as many first author articles as you can to make up for your deficiency in the classroom.

    Seriously though, I'm pretty sure all 4.3's get rounded down to the 4.0 anyway as most colleges only award 4.0 for the 90-100 range (or 4.0 for 93-100 and A- for 90-92 like mine). I'd worry much less about your grades in classes and more about understanding the physical concepts.
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