“I worked really hard on this!”

That is but one of the weak lame cheesy excuses I know each of you has heard when a student chooses to argue his or her case for a better grade. Not good enough, says Clay Spinuzzi, an associate professor of rhetoric at UT-Austin.

If a student is going to argue for a better grade, he or she should at least use some logic. Hence, his blog post including a link to the Google Presentation he has created to teach students how to argue for a better grade. Personally, I like his last line in Step 3 (emphasis mine):

Think in terms of negotiation, not confrontation. The grade is secondary to the real issue: have you learned the material?

Use it at your own risk. Either you will be changing grades due to solid arguments, or you will have less grades challenged. Either way, it is a win-win for both parties.

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2 thoughts on ““I worked really hard on this!”

  1. Why is the idea of learning vs. hoarding numbers so difficult to get past? I have to agree with you o the worth of this. I do get the “I worked so hard on it” line a lot. One thing to note is that this doesn’t change on the grade level. We all know grad students who are like this. I suppose it’s the system’s emphasis on grades. Is there a way to get around it?

  2. I think he found the way around it. If you present this at the beginning of the year and require it to accompany all grade debates on subjective grades, then I am sure things will improve. Students will either be better defenders of their work, or they will pick up the pace on their next assignments. It is a win-win, regardless.

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