please advise about grade

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Cayetana, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. Cayetana

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    Hi all. I'm trying hard to get into a PhD program and I'm just about to finish my Masters.

    My practicum teacher last semester gave me a B in the class.

    I have a 4.0 otherwise and I am thinking of challenging her. Any ideas as to how to proceed would be welcome. Here are the facts:

    1. She wasn't there half the semester. She was on maternity leave and her Research Assistant taught half the class. (I'm not even sure it's legal for a graduate professor to miss half a semester but anyway...)

    2. We had two class presentations with attached papers listed as the only grading criteria in the syllabus. Still, the syllabus did not list how much these assignments were worth each.

    3. I did my first presentation the day my prof got back from maternity leave. Both her and her Research Assistant are African American. It just so happened that I had an African American kid I was presenting on. Because I'd only seen him twice, I had nothing under the "cultural implications" because culture never came up in my two sessions with him and therefore I didn't have anything to apply to him (and I didn't want to assume or introduce a factor that might not have been a factor in his case).

    4. After my presentation, her and her RA kept me in front of the class for about 10 minutes pretty much letting me know how inadequate my cultural awareness was. My paper reflected this criticism and I got a B+ on it.

    5. For my second presentation I could have gone the easy way and picked a white kid but I really wanted to improve and make up for it so I picked another African American kid, interviewed some African American staff at the facility, read articles, etc. For this presentation/paper I did get an A!

    6. End of the semester I got a B. Never in class did I get any other feedback that indicated there was anything wrong with my performance except that one feedback after my first presentation and I took her advice and improved.

    7. I emailed her and asked her why she gave me the B and she said it was based on where she placed my developmental level was compared to the others in class, plus on my Practicum Evaluation Form that was from the practicum site.

    8. The Practicum Evaluation form, I counted, had 19 total 5's and 4's (Outstanding and Exceeds Expectations) and only 11 3's (satisfactory). There were NO 1's or 2's. SHE however chose to phrase it that I had "mostly 3's and 4's" but that's just semantics because 4's ARE Exceeds Expectations!

    9. I went and spoke with her and she agreed to email my Practicum Supervisor from last semester and get more info from her. I also informed my teacher that my practicum supervisor had just had surgery and was home recovering when my evaluation was written and therefore she dictated her answers over the phone through another counselor. Well the 5's need explanation (written paragraph) so there is a chance there were not as many 5's as there could have been without the hurdle of her not being present.

    10. My teacher did email the site supervisor, and the site supervisor wrote very kind things back (she told me she would).

    11. My teacher wrote me back and stated that she did get a reply from my practicum supervisor and it was positive but based on her opinion she still feels like a B is appropriate because (and I'm paraphrasing here because she was a little more diplomatic in how she worded this) she said: my strengths are theoretical orientation knowledge, intelligence, and written skills, but my weaknesses are awareness of personal biases, knowledge of multicultural issues, cross-cultural factors, and openness to feedback.

    I'd like to know where to go from here. Here are the problems I have:

    1) She was only there 1/2 of the semester so she never got to know me very well

    2) I got a B+ and an A on THE ONLY two assignments listed in the syllabus. That should come out to an A. Not to mention, the evaluation had 19's 5's and 4's and only 11 3's.

    3) None of this feedback she is giving me now was given to me during the semester when I could have done something about it. She gave me ONE feedback which I rectified and went from a B+ on the first assignment to an A.

    4) She said she would contact my old practicum supervisor but apparently what my supervisor wrote back made no difference. Why did she even said she would email her?

    5) I feel like she judged me negatively because of that one error on my part to omit cultural considerations for a kid I only saw twice and after that she made up her mind. What is doesn't realize is that, without giving too much detail here, I was born and raised in one of the most oppressive Communist regimes and saw first hand the blatant effects of persecution.

    6) Finally, I feel like there was nothing in the class or in the syllabus that I could have done during the class time to know where I stood and to gauge my progress. I used my in-class grades as indication and it turns out they hold no particular weight. Well then if the grades we get in class don't matter then why even have grades? Why not everyone just go to class and do their thing and at the end of the semester the teacher can just hand out grades based on how she feels. I'm not saying her feedback isn't valid, it may very well be and I need to improve in that area. But this is the first I'm ever hearing it, way after the B.

    Anyway, sorry I'm venting and I'm hurt over this. Not to mention I would like to re-apply for the doc program here and I know that if I go challenge her officially for this grade I will sink any chance I have to get in here next year. The thing is, if I do get my grade changed I will have a 4.0 on my transcript to every other place I apply.

    Any advice would be very welcome. Yes I know a B is not the end of the world but I think that here of all places people know how important it is for an application especially when so many people look so good on paper. If my GPA was to be 3.something it probably wouldn't matter so much between a 3.6 and a 3.8 but it was a 4.0 :(. Also, in the end, I truly feel I don't deserve it.
     
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  3. psychanon

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    Relax. Who cares? It's just a B. It won't kill you. You'll still have a 3.9 or something. I know it's hard to get used to this idea, but grades really don't matter in grad school. Not at all. It's not worth sabotaging your relationship with this professor, who may play a role in determining your future. You're not going to improve her opinion of you by grade grubbing.
     
  4. paramour

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    If you truly want to pursue it, you first need to check your program's/university's policy. They typically have step-by-step procedures on what to do regarding grade complaints, disagreements, appeals, etc.

    I had a grade changed a few years back, but it ended up being due to the professor keying in someone else's grade for mine . . . and even that took a few months to get corrected and updated on my transcripts. Which sucked since I was in the process of sending out transcripts to potential graduate programs at the time. :(

    In the meantime, I'm going to pick on this:

    ". . . I emailed her and asked her why she gave me the B and she said it was based on where she placed my developmental level was compared to the others in class, . . . "

    Regardless of everything else you mentioned, if she is one who grades you based upon a comparison with your classmates' performance, then you'd likely be screwed anyway, since this particular statement seems to indicate that compared with your peers, you just weren't quite at the same level. This may sound screwy, but I've had profs do it and it didn't matter how much (or to who) you complained, the grade you received was the grade you were stuck with. The few I know who did complain are seen as "problems" by some of the profs, but this may just be my program.

    G'luck! :luck:
     
  5. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    I only got through the first paragraph or so, but it seems like you are a little too caught up in a grade, I wouldn't sweat it. That one B won't keep you out of grad school.

    -t
     
  6. Cayetana

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    Grades don't matter once you're IN a program, but they do when you are trying to get into one.

    Plus I don't see how I deserved the grade. There was no reasonable way in the class setup for me to know how I was doing and to know how to improve.
     
  7. paramour

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    Well, it seems as if you have already made up your mind regardless of what anyone says. As mentioned previously, if you're intent on being irked with your 'B', then check your university's policies on the grades appeal process. We can't help you with that.
     
  8. spyspy

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    Agreed.

     
  9. RayneeDeigh

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    You sound like me in high school. I once dropped Spanish because I was getting a 94% and I didn't want it to hurt my average.

    If I had straight A's and got a random B, I wouldn't even care. I'd just be happy with all the A's. One B is really not going to matter AT ALL. If you don't get into grad school it won't be because of a B, I promise. You'll be fine!
     
  10. paramour

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    :laugh: I know a guy who's retaking statistics this semester. Not because he failed it, but because he made a B in it last semester and was unhappy with the grade.
     
  11. Therapist4Chnge

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    There is more to life than getting A's. I'd rather get a B and live life a bit, than get an A and have it pass me by.

    -t
     
  12. 54321

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    I also think that you should let it go..a B is not bad. I had several B's and got into a great phd program. Maintaining a positive relationship with that professor is going to benefit you much more than an extra A will.
     
  13. spyspy

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    That's true. Maybe they can become a rec writer later on. I did something like that.

     
  14. greenfieldPSY

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    Not to beat a dead horse, but if that was her original evaluation, I think you may just be driving her above points home by challenging it. Still, good luck! I can't imagine that work it takes to have and maintain 4.0.
     

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