Professor not responding email about his grading, do I have to email again?

1,017

Solution 1

Visit him in his office hours, if you can make it to the other campus.

There is a good chance, that your e-mail landed on a huge pile of things to do, as it is much more important to you than to the professor. E-Mailing again is an option (you get at least a few seconds of attention and a chance that he reads and reacts), but visiting him in the consultation hours will get you the full attention. And personally I would not e-mail more than twice with (almost) the same content, but try something else instead.

For such formal problem you may consider mailing his secretary as well.

Solution 2

First, consult your student handbook. The policies at your university, college, or even department should direct you on who you are to contact for disputes about grades. You may find that a policy is in place that says you should contact someone other than the instructor for your situation.

In case you are allowed to contact the instructor, are not limited to contact the instructor first, and certainly may even be recommended to contact the instructor first about grade disputes, I might propose that this email might get respectful attention ...


I would appreciate a chance to meet with you to discuss my final grade in Course ABC taken over the (Fall/Spring/Summer) semester of (whatever year). I recognize that my (first/third/last/tenth ...) project report was not graded. As best I can determine, my submission was late. !I acknowledge that your syllabus states that no late reports will be accepted (thereby giving a grade of zero)! I am (however) concerned because I heard from other students in the class that their reports were graded even when they were submitted later, possibly even later than mine was.

I am available (at this location at the university) on (whatever days at whatever times). I hope that you will be able to arrange a meeting so that we can discuss and resolve my concerns in person.

[ I have copied Dr. XYZ, the Department Chair, on this correspondence in case he/she needs to be consulted for further advice. ]

OR

[ I have contacted you in the past with email without success. I am therefore also preparing my records to take my case forward to Dr. XYZ, the Department Chair. I prefer that we can resolve my concerns without such an action. ]

I appreciate your prompt attention to my request.


The part in !...! is essential to include if it is true.

You should also approach how you phrase the email and what you document in it as though at some point, its entire contents will be published on Facebook without your permission. So, by specific example, do NOT put the words "failing grade in Course ABC" in the email.

In summary, I might comment on the overall issue raised here. A student always has a right to appeal a grade. The appeal must be based on objective facts not on personal desires. When all recourse at the first level is exhausted, the appeal goes to a higher authority. The professional approach throughout the process on both sides is to avoid stating the need for further appeal as a threat or holding the decision to take a further appeal as punishment. Finally, instructors are human beings. They make mistakes in judgement that may lead to unfair practices for any number of reasons. Sometimes it is as simple as "I forgot, my apologies". Sometimes it is as hard as "This is MY class". Learning to be mindful of such outcomes and to navigate them professionally and respectfully is perhaps the biggest lesson here.

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Updated on July 23, 2022

Comments

  • High GPA
    High GPA over 1 year

    I received a failing for a course; however, one of my project (which worth around 10%) was not graded. It is possibly due to my late submission (one minute late). Previously many of his students submit their works late (I mean super late), and he accepted them all. So I politely asked him by email whether the assignment is graded or not. No answer.

    My other works are curved at a B grade. It was not a fancy grade so I politely asked for extra work as part of one of my previous email, well before the semester was ended. He did not answer that question, but he answered the other questions that I asked in the same email.

    I have emailed him a few times before about grading or something else, he usually responds after a few days. This time, he is not responding for like 2 weeks. He does not have regular office hour. The prof is very nice (so I definitely don't want to appeal to a higher authority) and also super busy. Since our school has a loose policy on updating grade, he gives out my grade a couple of months after the course was over. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    He could have private office hour for his current students so I could try to sneak in with my acquaintances who are his students.


    He is still teaching this semester at another campus so I could technically catch him after class. But I doubt that we are going to have a private environment for discussing grades.

  • Jeffrey J Weimer
    Jeffrey J Weimer about 5 years
    As noted, discussions on important matters such as final course grades start with arranging a face-to-face meeting. They do not rely on email. Indeed, as an instructor, I have a policy to never ever discuss any aspect of grades via email. I also believe that using email for this type of discussion may be a violation of or skirt the bounds of FERPA regulations.
  • High GPA
    High GPA about 5 years
    Many thanks to both of you. The problem is he does not have open office hour this semester; so I probably still have to email him first for a meeting/Chat. What is the "reason" that I suppose to include in the email?
  • High GPA
    High GPA about 5 years
    Do I actually cc the department chair? I am afraid that the professor will be even stricter when the issue is going into a higher authority. For example, he might have to give a zero grade for the late assignment.
  • Jeffrey J Weimer
    Jeffrey J Weimer about 5 years
    I have modified my reply to address parts of your question. Your appeal seems to be based on what you have heard from other students. They were given grace even when their reports were late. You were not. You may need to obtain proof that, with all else equal, other students were given grace and that you should therefore be due the same grace. Your appeal will be validated not based on what you think, feel, or believe. Your appeal will be validated when something is different, and it will be granted when that difference led to an unfair outcome relative to everyone else.
  • markvs
    markvs over 1 year
    "I wish to meet with you to discuss my final grade in Course ABC" sounds like a threat. It will generate attention of the Professor and the police.
  • Jeffrey J Weimer
    Jeffrey J Weimer over 1 year
    @markvs I have a hard time recognizing how an expression "... wish to ..." becomes a threat escalating immediately to a notice to call the police. In any case, I have changed to "... would appreciate a chance ...". This should carry a less negative undertone.
  • markvs
    markvs over 1 year
    If the instructor does not answer, (s)he has a reason. A student who wants to dispute a grade has several official ways to do that. The student can, for example, talk to the undergraduate Chair, to an appropriate person in the dean office, etc.
  • Jeffrey J Weimer
    Jeffrey J Weimer over 1 year
    @markvs Nothing you say indicates that a student makes a threat when making a request. Our official statement to students about how to discuss issues about a course says to start with the student considering whether to make a request to meet with the instructor. When the instructor does not answer, the student can certainly then proceed to the next level. I appreciate the indication that some universities may have policies telling students to bypass the instructor to raise issues about grades. Duly noted and I will amend as such.
  • markvs
    markvs over 1 year
    As I said the Professor may have a valid reason not to answer. For example the student might have shown during the semester that he is not completely.stable.
  • Jeffrey J Weimer
    Jeffrey J Weimer over 1 year
    @markvs We might at times wish that we did not have to maintain a professional obligation to respond to a student. We might at times believe that our judgements about our right to claim that we have a "valid reason" not to answer an inquiry by a student are gospel just because we say they are. In my view of the profession however, faculty have both the obligation to respond and the duty not to claim otherwise. As appropriate, the response we can give to a student who confronts us with a difficult situation can simply be to direct the student to a higher authority.