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Should I even bother disputing my grade? How I hate stupid team members!@#

  1. Aug 27, 2005 #1
    Well here is what happened. Long rant so be prepared.

    All throughout my time at community college I worked my *** off to keep a good GPA. This last semester was my final semester in my Computer Programming and Analysis diploma program.

    All I needed was to receive four 4.0 across the board and I would end up with a cumulative 3.95 and "high honours". Normally I don't vie for titles, but after my first few semester I figured what the heck, keep up the marks and just do it.

    This past semester, 3 of my 4 classes were great (A, A+, A+) The other class, though, was not the same.

    It was a group project oriented class. And as you know, all groups tend to have their "not so good" members. Of the five people in this group, only myself and one other member made any significant contribution (I wrote around 6200 lines of code myself. He did probably the same).

    I was completely frustrated that my "teammates" did no work and would routinely pretend that they did. Making the work of two seem like the work of five (which makes my contributions appear that much "less"). When only the core functionality of a system is completed and the little side things that make it "complete"--I'm talking transactions, statements, paying bills online with our system-- when those things are non-existant, it makes our system appear like a piece of crap.

    So, I documented my work. I wrote individual status reports to document precisely what I did (or rather, what the other members did not do). Each status report would have, in bolded text, words like "THE WORK DESCRIBED HEREIN WAS DESIGNED AND IMPLEMENTED BY MYSELF. NO OTHER MEMBERS MADE CONTRIBUTION TO THIS WORK"
    And I would list all the work I did since we last met with the prof. We typically met once a week.
    I figured, why not use it to cover my behind? It was much too late to switch teams and the other teams (you could tell) had the same problems of lazy members. There wasn't really any other options.

    During our final presentation he asked us exactly what we did. I told him what I did (and made it apparent that it was my work).

    So I receive a B+ in the course. Am I mad? Somewhat. But only because I know that my three other teammates who did no work would receive a failing mark, or perhaps a D. Or so I thought.
    I just talked with them and they all received B+.

    I feel so effing mad. The prof KNOWS what work I did. I went to see him after class once and TOLD him that I was even doing about 50% of the work (the other guy doing the other 50%). I really had no other option but to bite my tongue. I wanted to graduate this summer and couldn't take it again in the fall (nor should I have to?).

    Oh and before you ask, this wasn't a case of me taking on too much. We each had a module of the system to do and I did mine (and it was darn good if I might say). They NEVER delivered their module. Not on time, not at all!
    One was to do payments (setup an online merchant account) and the other was to setup the accounting portion (he would have to work with the other member). The third member was supposed to do the documentation (I was forced to write my own documentation for my module because he couldn't understand how it worked).

    And I'm furious for another reason. I went out of my way to hold out my hand. I spent hours staying up and writing code for THEM. They had some trouble understanding the database so I sat down with them and explained the design, I wrote all their SQL code and wrote out the logic of how their modules would work (so any monkey and a keyboard could do it at this point). I was worried they wouldn't finish so I did this to nudge them along.

    I'm 22 and my teammates are as old or older. I am NOT a babysitter. When you tell me to my face that something will get done and the weeks are counting down...I EXPECT it to be done. Tell me. Just say, "HEY I need some help, can you help me?" I WILL HELP YOU. But don't go that whole time and then, in the final days when we combine the work--don't just say "oops nothing got done". Thats not good enough.

    I just don't really know what I should do? I'll attempt to dispute it but the prof has already made it known that no one wins a dispute against him (he announced this a couple weeks before the class ended).

    Perhaps my case is different? It isn't just a matter of "I think I deserve an A and your mark was too subjective". This is a clear cut case of the work of 2 people appearing as the work of 5. He has valued our project at the B+ range for 5 people. If he knew only 2 persons did the work, it should be adjusted to the A range I'd expect.

    Am I asking for too much?

    The sad part is that I'll have to deal with all the people like this who manage to make it to the work world and get jobs :devil:
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2005 #2


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    that sucks...this is why group projects never work out...
  4. Aug 27, 2005 #3
    Could it hurt to try?
  5. Aug 27, 2005 #4


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    It seems worth trying. It's always a challenge when assigning and grading group projects to sort out the individual efforts and grade fairly, but it sounds like your professor made no attempt at this even though you provided documentation along the way that the others were not doing their part. And, yes, you'll run into team members like that in the working world too. When you are in that situation, it will be much more important to keep your supervisor informed that there are team members slowing the project down so tasks can be reassigned, because in the working world, it's the final product that defines the success of the project, not the individual efforts...if everyone does their share but one member and the product isn't ready on schedule, it doesn't matter how much effort you put in, the company and client just see that you're not ready to deliver when you should be.
  6. Aug 27, 2005 #5
    It's not a huge jump from a B+ to an A. You should be able to convince him that you deserve that little bit more than the few others who did very little.
  7. Aug 27, 2005 #6
    That is what I'm gunning for at this point. B+ is 75-79. I just want 80 and I feel that my contributions were worth that. He obviously thought that the work we did present was enough to keep 5 people busy and worthy of B+, what if it was the work of two members?

    I almost have a feeling that he didn't read my status reports. He is the business type who would often "hurry" things in class. In fact, judging by his character I highly doubt he did anything more than glance over my reports.

    Perhaps I just need to make it even more clear what I did. Keep it down to 3 or 4 sentences and make it real easy.

    I probably sound like a whiner. I am. But I also spent countless nights awake just making my portion of the system THAT much better to secure a good grade. For the last two weeks of that class my diet consisted of oatmeal, pizza, coffee and extra strength liqui-gel Advil migraine relief because my sleep deprivation was screwing my body so much. During one week of it, the most sleep I had any night was 3 hours. It was typically around 2 hours.

    I gave everything and put a lot of hours into it. And for what? I wrote hundreds of lines of code just for one guy and he never even used it--never even attempted to do his part. It just makes me furious.

    thanks for your thoughts
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2005
  8. Aug 27, 2005 #7


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    This clearly has to be conversed with your teacher. You must pressurise him/her, don’t wait for miracles, if he/she fails to understand, I would strongly suggest you to converse this matter with a higher authority in your education facility. Bear in mind that part of this is comprised of courage, the person who might deal with this matter may call the individuals who participated in your group. If the calling of those members occurs, you must be prepared to assert and convey what you feel. It would help if you were supported by your other friend.

    All teachers have the obligation to identify honesty in group projects. If the other individuals failed to contribute to the project, their knowledge would’ve given up on them. The teacher could always test them by asking direct questions and in the same way procuring direct answers. The teacher failed in its task.
  9. Aug 28, 2005 #8


    When you get to your junior year in highschool, take tons of AP classes. They are so completely filled with overachievers that everyone works a lot at it. I remember back in the day, like last year :uhh: I did most of the work in all group projects, but now, in AP history and AP biology, everyone works tons :bugeye:

    EDIT: And to add something to this thread, watch out, your teacher might say that in real life you will have to learn how to work in groups, etc. The teacher may even say that the point of the task was to work well in groups.
  10. Aug 28, 2005 #9
    Hmm the AP classes I took were filled with a bunch of lazy mofos like myself.
  11. Aug 28, 2005 #10


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    Worse, my friend ! They'll be your boss ! And rightly so: they got you to do the work of half of a 5-member team. Great managers :-)
  12. Sep 6, 2005 #11
    Prof finally responded to my email today (I sent it over a week ago!).

    He basically says:
    1. Work in teams is divded "equitably not equally" (and rightly so in his opinion...as our skillset varies)
    2. Grading for the project was "more than reasonable"
    3. There was no formal request earlier in the semester for an individual marking scheme. "No one spoke up".
    4. It is a mistake to assume the professor sees the obvious (YEAH RIGHT!) and he was all oblivious to this. If there was a problem I should have "made sure my opinion on the group was communicated early in advance."

    My reaction ?
    1. "equitable" work breakdown is all fair .... WHEN you're a greaseball business major/prof like he is. They "succeed" by stepping on anyone they can while, in general, being totally inept with the technology they are in charge of. My teammates would make lovely business majors. They could write books like "how to screw your friends over and get ahead without doing an iota of work". It could be a bestseller, no doubt.

    IF YOU SIGN UP FOR THE COURSE YOU ARE EXPECTED TO PUT IN EFFORT, AND YOU SHOULD KNOW THE DAMN PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE BEFORE YOU START. If you can't hold your own, then you DON'T deserve the credit. Its a total disservice to students who have done the work and graduated--it would deny the effort and sincerity they put forth at college. He thinks its A-OKAY to give idiots passing grades when they have no right to EVER get out and work in that sector.

    2. Grading for the project was reasonable. If he values 5 students @ B+, 2 students (who actually did the work) should, in reality, get A+, and 3 inactive student should get F.

    3. I am not the babysitter for my teammates. Since this was a nightschool course and we meet once a week after his lecture is held, it is very hard to ensure that they do all their work. We are ADULTS. If you give me your word that something will get done, I shouldn't have to act paranoid and harass you to "prove" it to me. That creates a completely hostile work environment. AND, not to forget, in our weekly meetings with the prof, they lied to HIM by saying that they were doing their work.

    4. I GAVE HIM INDIVIDUAL REPORTS for the last half semester of the course! They varied 8-15 pages. If that isn't a hint on the work distribution, I don't know what is.
    You're a professor. Don't just come meet with us and take off. You are required to do a little bit of work on your own. If the work I specifically declare as mine is also, coincidentally, the only work the team has done--that means I did the entirety of it!
    How obvious does it have to be?

    He literally would cancel classes left, right and center. He cancelled an entire MONTH of nightschool in a row. I think, in the whole semester, only ONCE did he have us there more than an hour (3 hours allocated to the class). You get paid. DO YOUR WORK and read my damn individual status report.

    I'm not going to complain about his teaching abilities or lack thereof to the school. It would be pointless and it isn't my crusade.

    I'm just totally bummed. I work my arse off and it all goes to SH**.

    I can optionally do the night school course over. Normally I wouldn't do this as I think it is unfair to play the "GPA game" but in this case I feel correct and that it is warranted. I believe that I rightfully deserve to graduate with high honours after killing myself all through college to keep the GPA up. I put more effort into that one class than all other credits in my time at college. And for what? Bull****!

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2005
  13. Sep 6, 2005 #12

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    I feel for you. I hate team projects. Every one I have ever been on has had at least one free-loader.

    The only time I had one that was fair was when the professor gave the teams permission to "fire" anyone who wasn't pulling their weight. And believe you me, I almost did fire someone on that project. He wasn't even showing up for our meetings. His grade was already in the toilet from the midterms, and getting fired would mean a zero on the project for him and an F for the course.

    Needless, to say, he shaped up after being theatened with dismissal, and started doing some work. And we gave him all the work he was capable of - which wasn't much.
  14. Sep 6, 2005 #13


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    Group projects are a mixed bag for me. I like worken with other people but I surely do hate when someone doesn't know what they are doing or insists on doing something stupid.

    Plus it seems like every single time, im either leading the grop and maken everyone hurry up, or im way behind everyone.... never inbetween
  15. Sep 6, 2005 #14
    To clarify my situation a little:

    As it stands I will graduate with cumulative GPA of 3.9 (and "honours")
    With an 80+ for that credit, I would have graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.95 (and "high honours")

    Does it seem stupid to do it over? Yeah. My parents and friends have told me to bite my tongue and move on.

    Why won't I? One part pride and one part vanity.
    I'm a high school dropout who wanted to go to a "real" school next year and study sciences (my school is a community college). I think that everything on my side will help in the area of admissions.
  16. Sep 6, 2005 #15


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    Good advice, I want to add that you need to do this carefully. In my work environment, it is really bad to say anything "negative" about anything. So for a member that's not cutting it, you need to use positive statements to let a superior know that a peer isn't cutting it. For example "Joe did very well considering the lack of understanding he has". or "I want to compliment Joe on not quitting although his lack of knowledge in this area prevented him from keeping pace with the rest of the team. I realize what a challenge this has been for him and give him credit for trying". :biggrin:

    Ok, perhaps a bit more tactful, but you get the idea.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2005
  17. Sep 7, 2005 #16
    Take it to the dean. Complain complain complain. Complaining works... at least in Canada. If you're really upset about this and it will hurt you and you deserve an A, then complain. Take it to whoever is higher than him. It know people who've done it before, in management courses none the less. I don't see why you can't. Make a fuss out of it, if you're right let them know.
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