As a general rule, your grade in a college classroom is not negotiable. So, what if you find your end-of-semester average sitting on the fence? You could ask your instructor to give your grade the extra push to help you achieve the higher grade you so desire. Ways for an instructor to do this would be by giving you an extra assignment or taking your class participation into consideration. What are your chances of getting the bump that your grade needs, though? There may really be no way of knowing this, but handling the request ethically never hurts and could actually improve your chances. So, if you decide to try and negotiate a higher grade, here are some points to consider:
Demand nothing. An aggressive attitude will get you nowhere. Aggression can quickly turn to belligerence and cause a communication break down between the two parties. So, remember that you are trying to get help with your grade, and it will serve both parties best for the meeting to remain on a friendly level.
Try not to catch the instructor off guard. Asking an instructor for a grade boost or an extra-credit assignment during class time places the spotlight on the instructor. Instructors must treat all students fairly, so this opens up a whole new can of worms when asking for such an extension. It is best to speak with the instructor in private so that the instructor can consider your situation, individually.
Avoid putting your instructor on the spot. To tell the instructor that you will lose your school funding if you do not make a particular grade serves as a guilt trip, and placing such a guilt trip on your instructor is unethical. A student’s grade responsibility rests solely on the student. An instructor may want to help, but giving the if this fails to happen reasoning is equivalent to emotional blackmail.
Refrain from challenging. Teachers are human and do make mistakes. If you feel that you were graded unfairly, approach your instructor in the kindest of manner. Email or call to set up a meeting. Postpone discussing the grading until you physically meet with your instructor. Be careful with your language once your meeting does begin, though. You do not want to alienate your instructor by making accusations. It serves best to just ask for help with understanding why you received the grade that you did.
Thank your instructor. Whether or not you achieve what you set out to achieve when meeting with your instructor, always be sure to say thank you for the opportunity to meet. Failure to be kind always reflects poorly on you.
So, now that you know how to conduct a meeting with an instructor, you need to know what the instructor will likely consider when deciding to grant your request for a grade boost. The instructor will likely address the following points before making a decision: Did you attend class regularly? Did you actively participate in class? Did you try to help other students? Were you prepared for quizzes and/or tests? Did you complete all assignments? Did you have a proactive attitude? Did you work hard at trying to understand the course content? If you answer yes to all of the above questions, then you likely do not need extra points. However, if you can answer yes to all of these questions and still do need points, you now know how to ask for them, ethically.