You worked hard; and you thought you had nailed the assignment! When your paper is returned you have a grade that is lower than you expected. What can you do?
I teach hundreds of FCS students a year. Unfortunately, students are not always happy with the grade I believe that they earned. I am always happy to discuss grades; however, the conversation can go more smoothly if a few tips are followed.
- Give yourself a day to calm down. Initial disappointment may give in to an understanding of what you did wrong if you sleep on it and look at everything from a less emotional perspective.
- Look over all of the directions again. Could you have missed something important in the directions? Check any handouts, web resources and the syllabus before approaching your professor.
- Ask to make an appointment with your professor so that he or she can focus attention on you and your questions. Avoid trying to catch your professor before or after class, they are generally busy and unable to concentrate one single student issues during those times.
- Make sure you have questions specific to your work. Avoid just venting to your professor. That activity does not accomplish anything and makes you appear childish. “I never could write” or “you grade too hard” are not comments that have a response in your favor. Instead try asking for clarification if something is unclear to you. Ask for additional resources to help you better prepare for the next assignment (after you have used all the material already available). Stay respectful and as professional as possible.
- Understand that spending time on an assignment does not always equate an A. The hard truth is that professors are looking for a final product; they are almost never grading your effort. The days of praise for effort are over. The final product must be of high quality or you may be disappointed by your grade.
Additional resources for addressing a bad grade: