Rights of law students regarding biased gradings by lecturer

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JazKaz

Well-Known Member
11 April 2020
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Something has sparked my interest...

Question: What rights do law students have to access commutative justice when a retiring lecturer gives one a failing grade for an assessment and the comments on the piece are:
“I am giving you this grade because I do not like you”.

This question is based on one of my friends who last year, instead of a fail grade, received a passing grade and the actual wording used was “I am only passing you because I like you”.

Different scenario and still very interesting.
If anyone has any comments to fuel my interest please do.
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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Use your legal research skills.
  1. Start by looking for the Uni grievance procedure
  2. Look at the Act that establishes the Uni
  3. Determine which external body (eg Court/tribunal) can review decisions of the Uni
  4. Clearly and articulately the reason why a review is required (eg bias of marker unrelated to quality of the work submitted)
Keep in mind the process is stacked against you and Unis rarely concede they (or their staff) are wrong. Often the Uni gets someone else to look at the work but don't be surprised if the mark is not too different to the first mark.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
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28 April 2014
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Or, you could use a much smaller stick first.

It may be possible to ask for one of the other academics to take an informal second look at your work.
At the Uni where I teach, we call this "cross-marking", and we do it quite a bit.
Sometimes, it's to confirm a fail.
More often, it's to see if we can't find that one extra mark
that will take them up a mark range (that is, from, say, D to HD)

Further, should it be required, there will be a formal Review Of Grade process available as well.

Personally, I don't mind getting cross-marked or reviewed.
But I would say that, because my marking is almost always upheld
(sometimes, I am thought too hard...).

-> Reality check though - It's "that time" of term/ semester.
If this is question is merely theoretical, and/or doesn't affect you personally,
then maybe don't waste brain power on it until after exams.
 

Poidah

Well-Known Member
9 November 2017
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Qld
“I am giving you this grade because I do not like you”.
Blatant upfront dislike or bias like this would be unlikely. There are grievance process to manage this issue as well. Positive bias would be unlikely to be challenged though.
Assessments and gradings are never perfect, and it usually takes a student a long time to accept this reality. Those that are able to flex and have a broader focus on the overall aim, and are able to develop robust adaptable strategies tend to do better. Brute GPA can only get you so far. If you like a subject, put yourself out there, get experience and network, find out ways to contribute to what is "hot" in that area, rather than just focus on the GPA. There are usually many ways to show interest or develop competence in an area, rather than be solely focused on the whims and dislikes of a lecturer, and an oversimplified number.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
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28 April 2014
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Sadly, in this era of law firm recruiting being
infested by the witchcraft of the pseudo-profession of "Human Resources",
brute GPA is the thing that matters first.
 

JazKaz

Well-Known Member
11 April 2020
39
1
124
Good thoughts everyone, thanks for the responses. It was a hypothetical scenario but it’s interesting to see how grievance procedures would work. I’ll look into it further now that exams are through.