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Can you fail a course because of an appeal?

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  • Jan 18th, 2021 10:49 am
[OP]
Newbie
Nov 17, 2020
2 posts
1 upvote

Can you fail a course because of an appeal?

If you think a major assignment has been graded unfairly for example due to prejudice or disagreement between you and instructor and/or TA regarding how the assignment instructions should be interpreted (for example if the instructions are vague but the grader insists on a specific interpretation) and you make an appeal either to the instructor or at the department, faculty, or senate level to have the work reassessed, then if the new grade you receive is lower can you fail the course because of the appeal, even when your original grade was passing? I am referring to courses in which you need at least a grade of 50% on the lab component to pass.
8 replies
Member
Jul 15, 2012
266 posts
70 upvotes
Calgary
The only way I could see this happening is if you were marked generously with free points in some parts of the assignment, and the other parts you were unfairly deducted too many marks. Then when it is regraded everything actually adds up lower than before and you get a fail.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2010
5639 posts
2463 upvotes
Toronto
Theoretically (and not knowing the specific policies of your school) yes, but in practice I can only imagine that happening if your appeal is frivolous or they think you're a huge PITA. Basically if they feel the need to teach you a lesson. Don't forget, people are people. If you're accusing your instructor of being prejudiced and deliberately unfair, is it possible that they would be personally offended, and if they're well-regarded could they lobby more senior people to "throw the book" at you? Sure, it's possible, but I feel like it's an extreme case.
Sr. Member
Jul 31, 2017
688 posts
293 upvotes
Aly4567 wrote: If you think a major assignment has been graded unfairly for example due to prejudice or disagreement between you and instructor and/or TA regarding how the assignment instructions should be interpreted (for example if the instructions are vague but the grader insists on a specific interpretation) and you make an appeal either to the instructor or at the department, faculty, or senate level to have the work reassessed, then if the new grade you receive is lower can you fail the course because of the appeal, even when your original grade was passing? I am referring to courses in which you need at least a grade of 50% on the lab component to pass.
Yes. If they lower the grade you can fail. If you ask them to reassess you cannot stipulate that they only do so if your grade improves as a result of that reassessment.
Sr. Member
Jul 31, 2017
688 posts
293 upvotes
Manatus wrote: Theoretically (and not knowing the specific policies of your school) yes, but in practice I can only imagine that happening if your appeal is frivolous or they think you're a huge PITA. Basically if they feel the need to teach you a lesson. Don't forget, people are people. If you're accusing your instructor of being prejudiced and deliberately unfair, is it possible that they would be personally offended, and if they're well-regarded could they lobby more senior people to "throw the book" at you? Sure, it's possible, but I feel like it's an extreme case.

Not extreme at all. They could reassess the paper and realize that they were too generous the first time through.

I had profs (ie. my PhD supervisor) who reserved the right to lower grades, specifically because it cut down on frivolous appeals. I am a prof now and I tell my students that I will not lower a grade on an appealed paper, but it is fair game for profs to do so.
Deal Expert
Feb 24, 2007
15064 posts
2646 upvotes
I have never heard of it but I guess anything is possible in this crazy world.
Deal Addict
Jan 8, 2007
2913 posts
1350 upvotes
Kingston
I’m a prof. I always tell students that marks can go down as well as up on a regrade. If I see something that was over generous or marks given when an answer was plainly wrong I’ll remove them. TAs can often mark more generously at times. If you’re asking for a regrade but worrying about failing then that’s a pretty significant number of marks though right? If it’s just one or two marks near a grade boundary and you’re hoping to get into the next boundary (letter grades) then you shouldn’t be anywhere near a normal 50% pass mark. If you are near 50 and it’s only a few marks then it’s not going to put you into the next grade boundary anyway.
Deal Addict
Aug 14, 2015
1027 posts
609 upvotes
Burnaby, BC
This is not as related but it reminded me of a time during my 2nd year final exam season, a prof was trying to be funny and spoke a lot in the middle of the examination. Taunting us that we have 10 minutes left... 9:50 9:40 5:00 4:59 4:58 etc... being weird basically. I wasn't bothered by it, but one student was completely stressed out probably because he was ill prepared and scolded at the professor for speaking so much during the examination. Prof got mad and scold back at him saying he'll be very strict when grading his paper. After the exam was over, the student went and apologized because he was being held hostage by the professor grading him.
At that moment I thought, wow, I didn't know these things like this can happen.

There were also a time when I called out the prof's hypocrisy online. It was many years ago, I only remembered it was about me accusing her of making excuses and conveniently prioritize herself ahead of the student's time. Something related to switching lecture rooms under a circumstance. In the end, I got a mark 10% lower than I expected at the end of the term.

They both tarnished my image of profs being objective graders.
Deal Addict
Dec 20, 2018
4950 posts
4000 upvotes
spiritsBB wrote: This is not as related but it reminded me of a time during my 2nd year final exam season, a prof was trying to be funny and spoke a lot in the middle of the examination. Taunting us that we have 10 minutes left... 9:50 9:40 5:00 4:59 4:58 etc... being weird basically. I wasn't bothered by it, but one student was completely stressed out probably because he was ill prepared and scolded at the professor for speaking so much during the examination. Prof got mad and scold back at him saying he'll be very strict when grading his paper. After the exam was over, the student went and apologized because he was being held hostage by the professor grading him.
At that moment I thought, wow, I didn't know these things like this can happen.

There were also a time when I called out the prof's hypocrisy online. It was many years ago, I only remembered it was about me accusing her of making excuses and conveniently prioritize herself ahead of the student's time. Something related to switching lecture rooms under a circumstance. In the end, I got a mark 10% lower than I expected at the end of the term.

They both tarnished my image of profs being objective graders.
but they prepared you for the real world

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