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Professor in Print #2: How To Handle Claims Of Unfairness In Grading

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

What do you do with online students who feel they have not been graded fairly?  

As a college instructor, I would make certain that my students have a clear evaluation sheet and grading scale. However, that would not always satisfy the students. After all, Joe's (let me call him "Joe") friends "think I am a good writer." And my response would be: "Do your friends teach for this college?" Joe's response would be: "No." And my reply would be: "Um, that is probably why. Now, let me help you understand the errors made, why I marked them, and how you can learn to avoid these errors. I have been hired to help you and others. I serve as your "Academic Council Representative," here to serve you!"

The Results

Before the technology of Zoom or FaceTime, I could only talk with Joe on the telephone. I realized that I could not end with the first part of my reply. That would have only left him irritated. That is why I continued letting him know that I was committed to serving him as if he were a constituent of mine. As a councilperson who should be concerned about serving her constituents, I, as his instructor, carried that same commitment in my heart.

And, yes, as our conversation continued, I established a rapport with Joe. And he started to pay more attention to my marks rather than the "expertise" of his friends.


May it be an in-person class or online, the instructor must make it very clear who is the "expert"--who is the student and who is the teacher. However, snobbery only shows insecurity. Thus, the professor's response indicating a sense of subservience to the student lessens any sense of continued confrontation by the student.

Sunrises and Sunsets,

Dr. Fairy

Have a question for Dr. Hayes-Scott about your students? Or Would you like a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Hayes-Scott? If so, contact her via email at Otherwise, feel free to comment on the post below.

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