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Professor Insights: 5 Tips on How to Ask Your Teacher to Revise Your Grade

5 Tips on How To Ask Teachers to Revise Your Grades

After teaching everything from early childhood to college for the last fifteen plus years, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips on asking your teacher to revise your grade. 

1. Read the Syllabus

If the assignment was writing to write a ten page essay and you submitted a 200 word blurb worthy of Facebook, then realize that your best bet is to read the syllabus carefully next time and submitting the right assignment. If the wording was ambiguous, then ask politely if you could resubmit your assignment with the correct requirements, maybe for partial credit.

2. Don't Plagiarize

Believe it or not, your professor will not believe that you "accidentally" copied the entire Wikipedia entry on Napoleon Bonaparte. If it is a formatting issue, then be sure to read the class requirements on proper citation. Some professors are real sticklers for correct citation, checking every comma, and some just want to make sure that you don't cheat. 

3. Treat Your Professor like a Human Being

Emotional entreaties, rude e-mail messages, cursing, belittling your professor, threatening to talk to the head of the department, threatening their job, complaining about how much money you wasted on their class, or threatening to quit school because your teacher is "CRAP" are not ways to talk to any human being, and that includes your instructor. 

4. Be Short and Professional

This might be a good way to approach a possible grade revision:

Dear Professor Smith,

I noticed that you gave me a 80% on my last Powerpoint presentation and cited that I did not use good research. You will find that in the Speaker Notes I cited a study by the scientist X, as well as reports by Harvard and Oxford. I would appreciate it if you took a moment and reconsidered my grade for this assignment or allowed me to resubmit a revision.

Sincerely,
Joe Student

You will notice that the note is short, addresses the Professor in a professional manner, cites a specific problem with the paper and how the student did address that in the powerpoint. It also gave the professor two options - revising the grade or allowing a revision. 



5. Be Prompt.

If your teacher allows you to revise your assignment, be sure to hand it in within the same week, if possible. Waiting until the end of the course demonstrates poor time management, and gives the perception that you are not serious about the course. The exception of course is if there is an emergency situation and your teacher has given you extra time because of this. 



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