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Urgent advice needed- challenging a mark on an exam


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I was surprised my score was so low on my last microbiology midterm. I got it back, and this is what I found (ahhh! all the red!):

 

micr200badquestion.jpg

 

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So, instead of matching the Capital letters on the right to the definitions on the left, I matched the defninitions (lower case letters) on the left next to the terms on the right. It seems intuitive to me that you would put the lower case letter next to the corresponding upper case letter. The way the stem is worded however, you are supposed to put the upper case letter at the end of the line from the definition preceded by the lower case letter, and there is a big white space in between. I'm sorry if I'm not making sense with this- I'm upset.

I understand that I did not read the question stem properly. However, this cost me 7 points on a 70-point midterm, which costs me 2% of my overall course grade. It is likely to drop me from an A+ to an A.

I have the knowledge, that is obvious from the answers I gave. A penalty of 2% in the course from a error like this seems like a very high price to pay, and not in the spirit of learning and knowledge.

 

I am feeling sick to my stomach that this reading error could cost me a letter grade. I have never debated a grade before- please advise me if I am justified. I am very nervous about this.

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The thing is this is mistake on your part not the ta marking this. I suggest talking to the prof anyways just so he knows but I doubt they are allowed to do anything about this sort of error.. Maybe you will end up with an 88 but the prof will bell curve, because class will fail?

 

I suggest talk to the prof and see what happens.. If you are lucky, he might help u out.. I was In a similar situation last year, spent 2 months crying about my grade.. And then just forgot about it. Even now If I think about the mistake I made, I feel depressed.. But it's A good motivation.

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Oooh, that's a tough one. You didn't follow the instructions, but it does seem like a lot of marks to lose. If you go in, not expecting anything, and explain yourself, something along the lines of "I know I didn't follow the instructions, and I don't expect anything, but could you perhaps look at this question for me?", then maybe if the prof is feeling generous or truly appreciates that you do know the material, you might only lose a mark or two for not following instructions.

 

Good luck!

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Like you bolded, the question does say 'Capital letter.' All you can do is go to the prof and see if they will be willing to do anything. In my experience when a mistake like this is made, they are willing to give you some marks, but not all. If the prof won't do anything, go complain to the head of the department.

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The way the question is set-up is certainly unclear. I could easily see myself making the same mistake. Usually questions like that have letters for one list and numbers for the other, and the spaces to fill in are either on the far right or far left, not between the two columns so that it's really obvious what you need to do. Definitely go ask about it. It should be obvious that you just matched the terms backwards and that you're not just grubbing for more marks. Good luck, Kyla!!

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I just took a course specifically on assessment, so while I don't consider myself an expert I do see myself as being more knowledgeable now than I was a couple months about about fair assessment practices.

 

This question, according to our course, does not entirely fit the "checklist" for constructing a proper matching item. They did some things right, such as underlining and bolding important information in the directions. However, the actual construction of the question has some problems. The lines for a response should ideally be to the left of the premises (the left side column). The clarity of the directions becomes muddled by how they set up the question. Again, the use of numbers and letters for the respective columns would have avoided that problem entirely.

 

They did make some other mistakes in construction (should alphabetize the contents of each column, use more homogenous items to test because the way it is set up right now each premise is not an equally attractive answer for each word in the second column).

 

IMHO, you have some leverage because of how the question was set up being confusing, but if you read the directions and read them carefully...you would be OK. I think you should approach the professor and see if they take mercy on you. They may just chalk it up to not reading the directions (very common occurrence for us all on exams!) and you may have to accept it as a learning experience.

 

Good luck!

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in my opinion you should definitely get the marks and I would 100% argue it if i were you

 

firstly, the setup was brutal, with the lines being so far to the right... to me, putting the lowercase letters as opposed to capital ones and losing all of the marks is the equivalent to answering a question in point form if it asks for paragraphs... yea, you didn't do what the question asked specifically, and should maybe be docked a mark or two for not following instructions, but your knowledge is on the paper regardless, you are still answering the question, and a reasonable professor would see this... if the lowercases are beside the correct capitals, this would be so far beyond chance that there would be no arguing that you weren't correctly answering the questions... as you said, to not give you the marks for correct answers just because you didn't exactly follow a badly worded/organized question is not in the spirit of learning

 

i don't know how much you care about 2%, but i think you would be justified going above the prof if you wanted to... i personally wouldn't, because the difference between an A+ and an A in one course is pretty negligible, but if you were to i think it would be justified

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I was surprised my score was so low on my last microbiology midterm. I got it back, and this is what I found (ahhh! all the red!):

 

micr200badquestion.jpg

 

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

 

So, instead of matching the Capital letters on the right to the definitions on the left, I matched the defninitions (lower case letters) on the left next to the terms on the right. It seems intuitive to me that you would put the lower case letter next to the corresponding upper case letter. The way the stem is worded however, you are supposed to put the upper case letter at the end of the line from the definition preceded by the lower case letter, and there is a big white space in between. I'm sorry if I'm not making sense with this- I'm upset.

I understand that I did not read the question stem properly. However, this cost me 7 points on a 70-point midterm, which costs me 2% of my overall course grade. It is likely to drop me from an A+ to an A.

I have the knowledge, that is obvious from the answers I gave. A penalty of 2% in the course from a error like this seems like a very high price to pay, and not in the spirit of learning and knowledge.

 

I am feeling sick to my stomach that this reading error could cost me a letter grade. I have never debated a grade before- please advise me if I am justified. I am very nervous about this.

 

Yeah I would just go see the prof about it - the question, like most exams, is just marked on auto pilot, and if you explain things you probably will get it regraded :)

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I would definitely talk to my prof about it if I were you. If the professor is not very approachable it would be best to send an email with an explanation of your predicament ( include the scanned version for the prof. to see), and ask to talk about it. If you know your prof. well, and have talked with him/her a few times, you can probably get away with going in at office hours. Try not to expect anything out of it after all he/she would be doing you a favor.

 

Also, dropping in unannounced may not be a good idea just because some profs. might find it rude in that you would be taking time away from students that actually need their help, (maybe not so much for your case but in some instances it can be a precarious position).

 

Good luck!

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Update-

 

The class has two professors. I know the one who did NOT design the question much better. I went to see him about it. He took one look, said "Oh, I'll fix that for you".

 

I have a feeling someone else had seen him about the same thing already because he seemed to know exactly what was going on.

 

Phew! Very easy, after all that.

 

Thanks to everyone for your support.

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Update-

 

The class has two professors. I know the one who did NOT design the question much better. I went to see him about it. He took one look, said "Oh, I'll fix that for you".

 

I have a feeling someone else had seen him about the same thing already because he seemed to know exactly what was going on.

 

Phew! Very easy, after all that.

 

Thanks to everyone for your support.

 

awesome - I actually really thought that would happen. Profs are generally fair and don't want to screw you over :)

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Congrats kyla. Good to hear that it went well. :)

 

awesome - I actually really thought that would happen. Profs are generally fair and don't want to screw you over :)

 

reaaaaaaaly depends on the campus, haha. At my campus some profs are very unreasonable when it comes to marking schemes. ;)

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Congrats kyla. Good to hear that it went well. :)

 

 

 

reaaaaaaaly depends on the campus, haha. At my campus some profs are very unreasonable when it comes to marking schemes. ;)

 

I must have been lucky then :) Actually been to 4 campuses now and never ran into anyone who was actually a real jerk about things.

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I must have been lucky then :) Actually been to 4 campuses now and never ran into anyone who was actually a real jerk about things.

 

 

You've never met the physic's department at my university... one of the professors belittles students if they do poorly on an exam, and is extremely beyond unaccommodating. My friend broke his wrist 2 weeks before the midterm. He had to get the academic secretariat involved cause the prof would not let him write the midterm using a scribe. When confronting the prof about his dilemma, he said that it was my friend's fault that he broke his arm (he slipped on spilled water by the way) and that it is my friends problem not his...

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You've never met the physic's department at my university... one of the professors belittles students if they do poorly on an exam' date=' and is extremely beyond unaccommodating. My friend broke his wrist 2 weeks before the midterm. He had to get the academic secretariat involved cause the prof would not let him write the midterm using a scribe. When confronting the prof about his dilemma, he said that it was my friend's fault that he broke his arm (he slipped on spilled water by the way) and that it is my friends problem not his...[/quote']

 

I could have used a little belittling in UG. It would have made me try harder. Plus, your friend obviously didn't understand that spilled water has a very low value for its coefficient of static friction.

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