Have you got a grade to dispute? Think and plan accordingly before you jump the gun. Plenty of college students have aggressively approached their professors after receiving a less-than-stellar grade on a test or assignment, only to suffer repercussions as a result of their sloppy advances. Consequences such as total embarrassment to disciplinary action have been reported stemming from interactions between students and profs where the subject at hand was a seemingly unfair grade.
Save yourself some headaches and consider the following approach to disputing a grade without getting the lynch mob after you:
1 - Research Your College's Procedure For Legally Disputing a Grade
All schools have their own official handbook stating its policy regarding disputing grades. You can access these from the student registrar or even your college's official website. Getting to know the ins and outs of such a policy is essential before you start flailing your arms about in dismay. The party that ultimately determines the fate of your grade, be it the dean or the vice president, will follow such a policy to the T. You could find yourself actually getting a lower grade than you were initially given after thorough examination of your paper has been done. Or worse, you could face discipline if your approach is considered unlawful according to your college's standards and rules.
2 - Don't Go Over Anyone's Head
Climb the ladder properly when disputing a grade. Students who are seeing red after a poor grade is issued can sometime act without thinking, going straight to the top instead of starting at the bottom. Don't head straight to the Board of Trustees or the college president before having a rational chat with your professor or teacher's aid first. Those at the top of the ladder respect such a chain of command, and will often go back down the ladder should they find out that the lower parties weren't consulted first. Start with your prof, and if that goes nowhere, then you may have grounds for climbing the ladder of hierarchy. Find out what that particular ladder is at your college and go from there.
3 - Save the Evidence
You may have a valid dispute, but without tangible evidence, you might not have a case. Keep pertinent documents, such as copies of exams or professor's notes, and build your case from there. Without such important paper trails, your claim doesn't have a leg to stand on. You better believe that your professor will have all their documents lined up to dispute the claim, so be prepared with your own army of paperwork.
4 - Only Argue What You Can Prove
Certain types of grades can be tough to argue. A math exam is easy to identify as having errors or not, but implying that the professor had malicious intentions on an English essay in an effort to sabotage the student's grades would be almost impossible to prove. Unless you're a lawyer, proving such a case would be a tough one. Keep your end goal in mind: resolving the matter. Let the committee in charge of grade disputes review the matter and decide your case - just make sure to come armed with evidence.
Don't ruin your educational career and your reputation over a grade dispute that doesn't hold water. You obviously have rights when it comes to questioning a poor grade that was handed to you, but the approach you take will make all the difference. Communicate with the appropriate parties rationally, and you will increase your chances of a positive outcome.