Biology C2006 / F2402 - Spring 2016 - Regrade Requests -- Last update 01/08/2016
Deadline: One week after exam was returned to class!
Math Errors: If there was an arithmetic error in adding up points on your exam, let us know right away, and we will record the correct grade. This doesn't constitute a regrade request. Just write a brief note on the cover sheet and give the exam to Dr. M.
Rationale for Regrade Policy: The regrade procedure is intended to correct serious errors in grading. It is not intended as a opportunity to argue about each judgment call made by the graders. We agree that graders sometimes take off 1-2 points too many here and there, but we believe that they also give you 1-2 points too many just as often. When we regrade exams, we sometimes disagree with the exact points awarded on each question by the graders, but the total grade usually comes out the same. Our overall experience with regrade requests is that fewer than 10% of them lead to a change in an exam grade, and an even smaller percentage have any effect on the final grade for the course. We think it doesn't pay to regrade these exams, but even more importantly, it is a waste of your time to agonize over the possibility of gaining an additional point. You can almost certainly gain more points in the course by devoting this time to studying for the next exam. (It may help to read or reread the advice pages; also see last paragraph below.) However, significant mistakes in grading do occur, if rarely. If you sincerely feel that your exam was unfairly graded, we will look it over carefully. In that case, we reserve the right to regrade the entire exam, which may result in either an increase or a decrease in your grade. We are not trying to scare off students whose exams were graded incorrectly, but we are trying to avoid frivolous requests. (See next to last paragraph below.)
How to Request a Regrade: If you feel that a regrade request is justified, print out the Regrade Request Form, fill it in, and staple it to the front of your exam. If you like to use your old exams to study for the next one, make a copy for yourself before handing it in. (It usually takes us a long time to do regrades.) Give your exam & regrade form to Dr. M, or put it in her mailbox (Box 2453 on the 7th floor of Fairchild), or bring it to her office, 744D Mudd. (You can slip it under the door if no one is in.) Do not put regrades (or anything else for Dr. M) in any of the boxes in the Mudd hallway.
Why won't we discuss your regrade request with you in person? We prefer to look at all the regrades at once so that we can compare them with the key and with each other. We think it is fairer to do it this way.
Deadline for a regrade is one week after the return of the exams, unless a different date is announced in class. (If you need an extension you must ask Dr. M before the deadline.) Late requests will not be considered.
Some Cautions: When calculating the final letter grades for the course, we try to give extra consideration to each student who is near a cut-off, to see if there is some justification for bumping the letter grade up a notch. (Note: 'near a cut off' means 1 or 2 points away. Not more.) We will keep a record of all regrade requests, and students who have asked for this extra consideration during the course of the semester may not receive additional consideration at the time that final grades are assigned. This is not intended to discourage serious regrade requests -- it is only intended to discourage frivolous requests by students who ask because they figure 'how can it hurt to try?'
Unfortunately, there have been several instances in the past where students have modified an answer after the exam had been graded, and then submitted the exam for a regrade. Because of this, we will not consider regrades of exams that were written in pencil or corrected with white-out. Also, a random sample of exams are photocopied before they are returned. Any indication that a regrade has been requested for a modified exam will be considered cheating, and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken. We are sorry we have to even bring up this subject, as we know most students are honest. However, we feel the best way to be sure that honest students get a fair deal is to be strict with those who try to bend the rules.
What Merits a Regrade: The following are the usual circumstances that may lead to an increase in points:
Your answer is really the same as the one on the answer key, but the grader didn't realize it.
Your explanation should make it clear why you believe your answer is the same. For example, "The answer key says we were expected to write 'anterior pituitary gland', and I wrote 'adenohypophysis', which is another name for the same gland."
Your answer is different from the one provided on the answer key, but your answer is also correct.
Your explanation should make it clear that you have read the answer key, and why you think that your answer is equally good.
What Doesn't Merit a Regrade: The following are not valid reasons for regrades:
"Most of what I wrote is correct, so I think I deserve more partial credit."
Partial credit is given equally for all students who write a particular answer, so it would not be fair to give you more points for this without adding points to all students who wrote the same answer.
"I wrote so much, and the grader didn't notice that the correct answer is buried somewhere within this long paragraph."
You will lose points if the correct answer is accompanied by incorrect information or by so much irrelevant information that it gives the impression that you were just writing down everything you could think of on this topic.
To get full credit you must demonstrate the ability to pull out the relevant info and to exclude irrelevant info.
"I'm just 1 point away from an A, so I thought it was worth scrounging around to find an extra point somewhere."
The Bottom Line on Regrades: We apologize for being so hard nosed about regrades, but in our considerable experience, they consume an inordinate amount of effort, both yours and ours, for very little benefit. If you have a legitimate complaint, do not hesitate to send us a regrade request. However, if you are thinking that your grade is not as good as you would like, and it would be nice to have a few more points, please do NOT send us a request. Read the paragraph below instead.
Looking to improve your grade? If you are working hard in this course, but feel that your exam grades don't reflect your work, please come see Dr. M. (Please read, or reread, the advice pages first. But if that doesn't help, don't hesitate to contact Dr. M.) When you come to talk to Dr. M, be sure to bring an old exam with you. If you can't make office hours, or they seem too busy, email Dr. M (dbm2) to make an appointment for another time. You may be spending a lot of time on the wrong things, and redirecting your efforts may really pay off.