Do you think a teacher can give bad grades to students simply because they don’t like them? While most teachers would say “No”, some students may disagree counting their own experiences.
Our academic institutions expect that individual teachers remain fair with student grading. And although most teachers might not play favoritism irrespective of some having favorites in class, students have complained of teacher dislike and bad grades as a result.
While this may be true in a few instances, it’s rare for teachers to resort to petty actions like grading a student poorly simply because of their reservations about the student.
That said, this article will try and answer this question by looking at the reasons behind student complaints and why a teacher might jeopardize their careers for any of these reasons.
Why Students Believe Teachers Graded Them Badly
There’re various reasons why a student might believe a teacher graded them badly. We’ll take a look at a few of these reasons.
Copied Content From Sibling Or Other Sources
A student might believe they deserved a better grade if they copied answers to an assignment from a sibling or someone else who got a good grade on their initial submission.
In this case, the student who expects a good grade believes they’ve been cheated by their teacher when they’re graded lower than expected.
With platforms like Chegg and Course Hero readily available to provide students with answers to problems, it’s easy for a student to believe they deserved a better grade than they were given.
And while some students may simply copy-paste content for submission, others would paraphrase the content before submission.
Although content paraphrased with tools like QuillBot may not be detected by plagiarism checkers, poorly paraphrased content can be detected by some of these tools.
Paraphrasing another’s content for submission without proper citation is referred to as Mosaic plagiarism and is considered a breach of academic code of conduct policies.
Keep in mind that punishments for mosaic plagiarism could range from reduction of grade to suspension from the institution. If the teacher remembers some unique points or writing style of a previous submission, they can easily identify plagiarized content.
Copied From Another Student With A Higher Grade
If a student copied content from another student in the same or different class who received a good grade, they might be tempted to think the teacher does not like them.
Depending on a student’s academic record, a teacher may give one student a higher grade than the other when they’re suspected of submitting the same assignment.
However, most teachers would confront both students and penalize them when necessary or give them the opportunity to make up for any offense by administering a make-up test.
Aware Of Teacher’s Dislike
Sometimes the student is aware the teacher already dislikes them for one reason or the other. While most teachers are professionals who would treat each student fairly irrespective of their own reservations, there might be few teachers who would act on their dislike.
A petty teacher may leverage the opportunity to grade a student poorly to satisfy their own hatred or dislike for the student.
Keep in mind that teachers are also humans with emotions and experiences. While it’s wrong, a teacher may transfer their hatred of your parents or someone else onto an innocent student.
Teacher’s Favorites Graded Well
Imagine all the teacher’s favorite students receiving good grades while you receive a bad grade. It’s easy for the student to think the teacher gave them a bad grade because the teacher is not fond of them.
Yes, racism rears its head here as well. It’s easy for a racist teacher to grade a student poorly irrespective of the quality of their delivery. Any signs of racism from your teacher should be reported to the appropriate authority as failure to do so could affect your performance in their courses.
Complained About Teacher
Another petty reason is a teacher trying to pay a student back with a bad grade for previously lodging a complaint against them. While most teachers are professionally trained to treat all students the same irrespective of previous experiences, you may encounter a few vindictive ones.
Did Their Best Work
Imagine a student putting in the necessary effort to produce the best work they could only to receive poor grades. This can be painful as the student expected to be met with an equal level of satisfaction from their teachers.
While a student may believe they might have done their best work, this may not be reflected in their delivery from the teacher’s perspective.
Why Do Teachers Give Bad Grades
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Graded According To Rubric
Most examinations come with rubrics that teachers can leverage to grade their students. Teachers give points for each question according to what is allocated in the grading rubric. Grades can either be good or bad depending on the performance of the student.
Most tertiary institutions now leverage some form of plagiarism checkers to maintain academic integrity. In the field of online learning, most of the platforms have integrations for one or more premium plagiarism checkers.
Teachers who identify any plagiarized content can either report the student for academic dishonesty or simply grade them down while including a warning in their comments.
Even in cases where plagiarism checkers may not be used, some teachers are able to detect copied work from previous submissions or even from other students.
Issues With Student
The job of a teacher is a stressful one and teachers have to work with students with various personalities. Unfortunately, some students can be very disrespectful towards their teachers.
Some students go as far as to insult teachers to their faces without fear of consequences, especially in cases where their parents have some level of authority over affairs of the institution.
Teachers in such cases may be uncompromising with the grades of disrespectful students. Even obvious errors that would have been ignored in the case of other students may be heavily scrutinized and the student’s grade could be affected as a result.
Illegible Handwriting Or Poorly Structured Submission
In the case of handwritten tests, teachers may find it challenging trying to read the delivery of students with poor handwriting. This can lead to a reduction in the overall grade of the student.
In the case of typed assignments or tests, poorly formatted work can be difficult to read. It’s not rare to receive a student’s assignment without paragraphing, bullet points, or any formatting at all. Everything is jumbled together and the teacher needs to sieve through the available information to determine the most relevant points.
Such submissions may be poorly graded by the teacher even when the student makes salient points. That said, most teachers would warn offending students in the first few instances before any consequences for subsequent offenses.
Couldn’t Read Everything
The job of a teacher is a demanding one and most teachers even carry assignments home for grading. Sometimes it can be difficult to read through every student’s submission entirely when grading.
Some teachers simply skim through student submissions to identify salient points and then grade without the need to read the entirety of the student’s submission. Others also grade based on the student’s performance in class.
In rare cases, some teachers don’t even read student submissions at all but simply grade students based on the student’s activeness in class.
While this may not be recommended, it’s still practiced by some teachers in our academic institutions. But I would try to make my name known to my teacher to avoid getting a bad grade in this case.
A busy teacher or professor may simply give student assignments to their teaching assistants to grade. While the teacher may remain professional during grading, a teacher’s assistant without the necessary training may grade inappropriately either intentionally or unintentionally.
Do Teachers Give Bad Grades To Students They Don’t Like
Now that we have an understanding of why students believe they receive bad grades and why teachers may give these grades, let’s answer the question.
Yes, as is possible with people in authoritative positions, some petty teachers abuse their authority by grading select students poorly. That said, most teachers are professionals who treat students equally irrespective of their own reservations.
How To Prove Your Teacher Is Name-Grading
Wondering whether your teaching is really reading your assignments and other academic deliverables when grading? Well, they probably are reading but may not be very thorough as they have loads of papers to grade.
If that’s the case, how do you prove that your teacher or professor is simply looking at students’ names and grading without even reading their assignments? What happens to students whose names the teacher doesn’t know?
A quick look a Quora and you’ll find some experiences of students and how they tried to prove their teachers were simply name-grading. Let’s take a look at a few of these methods leveraged by students.
The most obvious option is to put something that would be clearly out of context in the paper you’re submitting for grading, to see if they notice and comment on it. Just in case they might read the first few paragraphs, it’s advisable that whatever you put inside your paper should be placed somewhere near the center of your writing.
If the teacher doesn’t notice and comment on this (verbally or in writing), it becomes evident that they didn’t read your paper. You can tweak your approaches by
Insert A Paragraph Or Sentences
You can simply insert a paragraph or a few sentences in the middle of your paper. Make sure that whatever you write is obviously out of place for the subject matter. Talk about your big toe, aliens, the dream you had, or something completely out of place and even ludicrous.
Insert A Random Word
Pick a random word and insert it multiple times in places where the word obviously doesn’t belong. Make sure that this isn’t done at the beginning of the paper but somewhere in the middle of the paper.
If the teacher catches on, simply tell them a sibling might have inserted that word multiple times as a prank. You had no idea they did that.
Insert A Funny Sentence
You can choose a clever route by inserting something funny like “Sir, if you see this, I’ll wear a suit and tie to school for a whole week”. You may end up wearing a suit and tie to school, but that ought to put a smile on the teacher’s face. And they’ll never forget your name.