We can't all be straight 'A' students, but sometimes a teacher may make a mistake or assign an unfair grade. If you feel that your professor has made an error or there is a realistic possibility that you can debate your grade, email may be the easiest way to ask for a higher letter. A well thought out and crafted email can display your genuine concern for your academic success and possibly lead to a better grade under the right circumstances.
Things You'll Need
- Computer with Internet connection
Emailing a Teacher
Assess the reasoning for the better grade. This may include understanding the teacher's rationale, lack of comments or feedback, disconnect or misinterpretation of a grading rubric or even incorrect math percentage calculation.
Gather supporting documents. These will help to justify your request for a higher grade. Supporting documents may include a test, a paper, a series of assignments and exams (if you are asking for a change in a semester grade) or the teacher's specified grading scheme or rubric.
Review the teacher's comments (if applicable), missed exam questions and calculated grading percentages for accuracy. Compare graded sections against a rubric when necessary. For example, if the teacher's rubric says that you can earn a five out of five points for including three or more references, check to make sure that you have met the requirement. Highlight or make a note of the specific questions or parts of the graded paper that you disagree with.
Use the teacher's preferred e-mail address that is given on a syllabus or class document. Add your name and class title to the subject line to identify you as a student.
Address the text of the email to the teacher's preferred name. If you had a relatively informal class where you were to call the teacher by his or her first name use this. If your teacher prefers the use of Dr., Ms., Mrs. or Mr., stay in line with his or her request.
Type your text. Identify yourself as a student, the name of the class and time/days of the class if there is more than one section. State the assignment(s) in question and your grade. Add in supporting information that may conflict with the actual grade. This may include miscalculations on points or percentages, comments that don't match what you have written or omitted information. Provide an explanation for a rationale in terms of getting a better grade.
In the case of a number grade/percentage error, ask your teacher to correct the mistake. If you are questioning a subjective grade on a written paper or assignment, ask your teacher to provide you with further helpful comments or more feedback on how you did or did not meet his or her expectations.
Thank your teacher for taking the time to help you succeed in the class. Send the email.
Tips & Warnings
- Always be polite. Write with a pleasant tone avoiding accusations.
- Offer to meet face to face. This will show your teacher that you have true interest in your grade and the class.
- Never use harsh or profane language in your email.
- Avoid using your teacher's home or private email address. The teacher may view this as an intrusion.
- Check the email for spelling and grammar. A misspelled email will not help your cause.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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