Question

My chem professor gave me a B+ for a 89.85, is my arguement to get him to change it to an A- good enough?

Here is his message to me:

You are correct that you got 832/926. But that's 89.85, not 90.00.

As quoted from the syllabus

"39. GRADE CALCULATIONS: You can calculate your current grade yourself as follows (or ask me):

Letter grades are based on Numerical Course Grades of 94.00 to 100.00 being an A, 90.00 to 93.99 being an A-, 87.00 to 89.99 being a B+, 83.00 to 86.99 being a B, 80.00 to 82.99 being a B-, 77.00 to 79.99 being a C+, 70.00 to 76.99 being a C, 60.00 to 69.99 being a D, and anything below a 60.00 being an F.

Extra credit points up to 50 points are only added to the points you've earned."

I do not round up. Your course grade remains a B+.

Here is my arguement:

Thank you for your prompt response, I appreciate it. Yes, I finally noticed this part of the syllabus a day ago. I was under the impression that the college used a grading system that was based on whole numbers not fractions (only two sig figs instead of 4) as indicated in the college handbook and course catalog under academic policy and proceedure in the section where they discuss letter grades and how to calculate g.p.a (grading and notation system) Where it states:

A Equivalent to a numerical grade of 94-100

A- Equivalent to a numerical grade of 90-93

B+ Equivalent to a numerical grade of 87-89

B Equivalent to a numerical grade of 83-86

B- Equivalent to a numerical grade of 80-82

C+ Equivalent to a numerical grade of 77-79

C Equivalent to a numerical grade of 70-76

D Equivalent to a numerical grade of 60-69

F Equivalent to a numerical grade of 0-59

This would lead one to believe that if a numerical grade resulted in a fraction, that the professor would indeed need to round up or down while dropping figures to achieve a whole number numerical grade that fits into the college's standards for alphabetical grade. Because, according to the college, there is no established alphabetical grade for the fractional number 89.85, only an alphabetic grade for the whole numbers 89 or 90. Its clear how important it is to use one established system of grading across the entire college when looking at a numerical grade such as the fraction 59.85. If two systems are used than one student achieving a 59.85 may fail a course if the professor does not round to a whole number, yet another student with a different professor who does round to a whole number may pass the same course with a 60 which equals a D according to the college. Although, this is not an instance of whether or not I have failed the course, it is just as important to use the same grading system across the college.

Answer

No. There is no argument that will warrant an increase in your grade. The grading system was explained to you, in writing, at the outset of the class, and you could have dropped the course if you weren't happy with it. The fact that you only belatedly bothered to pay attention to a policy that you claim matters a lot to you does not help your position. And you do understand that 2 different professors will have different sets of readings, lectures, assignments, and exams, so that it's possible that a student who earned an 85 in another professor's class might still have learned more than you did, right? You are no longer in the world of standardized testing. I assume you're not arguing that your grade should be reduced to a B for that reason?

Jan 7 at 2:58

It's highly unlikely your professor came up with this syllabus without someone higher up in the department or the administration reviewing it at some point. If he's been teaching for more than one year, it's even more unlikely you're the only student who's tried this gambit. Although frankly, he's probably not going to read any of your argument after you admit that you didn't review his policies until now. Take the B+ and make sure you don't end up in a situation where you have to wrangle over tenths of a percentage point next semester.

Jan 7 at 6:44

good argument, but its to the wrong person. its like asking a cop to tear up a ticket after they wrote it. you do have a good point, but i would partition the dean of that particular college....

Jan 7 at 10:53

Sorry, I think the professor has the final say and his reasoning is sound. Some professors just don't round up or down and there are usually no real rules that say they have to. I've had this happen to me before. He already said "I do not round up" and it was already explained in the syllabus so you should just take it. I know it sucks, but if you try to argue against him, he might lower your grade even more.

Jan 7 at 15:25

Your argument is incorrect. Professors are not expected to round up, and many will not. The professor is not submitting a numerical grade; they are submitting a letter grade only. If you want to argue that point, you would take it up with the committee in charge of writing the handbook, not your professor. I do not suggest pursuing this any further. He has made it quite clear that your grade stands.

Jan 7 at 20:21