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Would you/ how would you respond to this email?

(143 Posts)
GameOldBirdz Sun 11-Jun-17 09:02:23

Students received their marks on Friday.

They had to do two pieces of work.

Student emailed to say he was "baffled" (his words) by the marks as he'd received a lower mark for the piece of work which was "by far the higher quality piece of work" (his words again)

There's no question in the email so nothing to directly respond to IYSWIM.

Would you respond to this email? If so, what the fuck would you say without using the words "jumped up little tosser"?

I'm leaning towards just not bothering to respond as ultimately I don't give a fuck if he's "baffled"

grin

BiggerBoatNeeded Sun 11-Jun-17 09:06:43

I'd suggest that he look carefully at his feedback together will the marking scheme and that this should clear up his confusion. Make him do a bit of work to see why he got this mark. 'Baffled'indeed confused

purplepandas Sun 11-Jun-17 09:08:39

I agree with biggerboatneeded. If he comes back again I would offer a shorteeting to explain in person what was lacking but that no marks will be changed. We are clearly spelling this out in advance as definitely still meeting requests with this aim!

purplepandas Sun 11-Jun-17 09:09:00

A short meeting. Sorry!

GameOldBirdz Sun 11-Jun-17 09:11:35

That's the thing, I don't think he's necessarily wanting the marks changed and I'm not sure h'e unhappy with them per se.

I think he's just surprised the piece of work he thought was better actually got a lower mark. I think lots of students must have similar thoughts but none actually have the fucking bare faced cheek to email and tell me that confused

FloralTribute Sun 11-Jun-17 09:13:20

What Bigger said. Add that if he then has specific aspects of the feedback which aren't clear to him, he should explain clearly what is confusing him in an email. Make him work, rather then sit there shaking his head about how you haven't recognised the superiority of the one piece.

catkind Sun 11-Jun-17 09:16:31

Bit of a rude way to email, but as a student it's probably quite important that he understands how what he thought was high quality was not actually and vice versa. I'd suggest advising him to look at the feedback/markschemes if they're shared, and speak to his tutor if that doesn't clear it up.

youarenotkiddingme Sun 11-Jun-17 09:22:56

I noticed when I did my degree I got higher marks for the pieces of work cobbled together in a shorter timeframe!

I realised that I work better under pressure when I have no time to waffle and just enough to stuff evidence into a report and concisely explain my reasons for it and what it means for my argument!

Admittedly I was a mature student but I'd never have ask my lecturers why some pieces got higher marks than others.
I just read the feedback and worked it out for myself. Therefore I became less baffled grin

GameOldBirdz Sun 11-Jun-17 09:27:27

youarenotkiddingme He is a mature student!

youarenotkiddingme Sun 11-Jun-17 09:29:02

Oh dear grin

OhTheRoses Sun 11-Jun-17 09:34:26

I'm sorry but I just don't see your problem. A student is baffled by his marks and is indirectly seeking some clarity/further feedback in relation to them.

I don't understand why you don't see the importance of responding nicely to your fee paying chstomer who has every opportunity to impact your NSS results.

DelphiniumBlue Sun 11-Jun-17 09:34:48

Think I'm missing something, but is there a reason why you can't talk to him to discuss this? If you are his teacher, surely its you he should be approaching if he has queries.
I think you said that he didn't seem to be asking you to change the marks, so can't see why you wouldn't give feedback.

NomenOmen Sun 11-Jun-17 09:35:53

I would offer a meeting to go through the assignment with him.

When I do this there are always only 2 outcomes:

a) the most likely: despite frequent complaints that they are not offered enough 1-to-1 time, the student will not turn up to a suggested meeting (and probably simply ignore my invitation, just as they did the many other invitations for 1-1 meetings & tutorials hmm);

b) the student, when actually called upon to go through their work with you (mark scheme, feedback, etc, in hand) concedes almost immediately and acknowledges that the mark was fair (and indeed maybe even generous! grin)

I find it's easier to offer them your time, as busy as you might be. These things are usually cleared up very quickly.

GameOldBirdz Sun 11-Jun-17 09:41:14

My problem is, firstly, that his tone is rude and doesn't ask me to explain the marks but just puts out this blanket statement that he's "baffled". So I have to guess how to respond and what he wants as there's no actual question.

Secondly, he's very clear in his email that he believes unequivocally that one piece of work is better than the other. It's not and as the marker with years of experience, my perspective is right. I feel he's questioning my judgement and expertise.

unapaloma Sun 11-Jun-17 09:42:11

You should be professional, and offer to discuss the work, and the marking scheme with him. It sounds as if you feel personally attacked, and unless you're missing out other content in the email which is more of an attack, this isn't personal.
So long as you did mark the work appropriately, and know why they got the marks they did, there is no issue.

NImbleJumper Sun 11-Jun-17 09:45:27

I'd offer a meeting - probably at 9am on a Monday - to explain his feedback to him. With an additional note that marks cannot be changed. But I'd leave my reply until the maximum time we say we'll respond which at my place is within 3 working days.

Passive-aggressive, moi?

HamletsSister Sun 11-Jun-17 09:46:55

The thing is, academics are going to have to move away from seeing themselves as experts and experienced, even when they are just that. Pupils in schools are being taught to ask for feedback (in Scotland - learning conversations) and teachers are expected to be able to provide it, and evidence their marks. I work for an exam board, at a reasonably senior level, and we all have our marks checked and have to be able to defend them.

Yes, his tone is a bit off but, quite frankly, so is your tone on here.

What us wrong with someone wanting clarity part way through a course in which, presumably, they want to do well?

Fortheloveofscience Sun 11-Jun-17 09:46:56

He lacks tact, but your attitude is awful too.

If you're confident that the mark you gave follows the marking criteria then why would you resent explaining this? Offer him a meeting to explain.

You seem awfully defensive at having your marking questioned - 'bare-faced cheek'?!

Having a lot of students that don't understand how their work reflects the mark given but don't feel able to question it is something you should try and rectify, not laugh at the one that does.

Noeuf Sun 11-Jun-17 09:47:10

Cannot see the issue. He thinks he did better in one piece and is telling you he doesn't understand. He isn't asking you to remark.

I think you sound ridiculous. 'Jumped up tosser' ? Really?

GameOldBirdz Sun 11-Jun-17 09:47:20

The only other content in the email is him saying thanks for the feedback.

It's not that I feel personally attacked. Every year students email with issues with their marks and all are, essentially, implying that I've got it wrong. However, most manage to do it politely and actually ask a specific question about it which I can address specifically.

His email is saying "I am confused because I don't think you've got this right. Make me less confused" which is arrogant.

unapaloma Sun 11-Jun-17 09:47:28

So I have to guess how to respond
You're the adult and professional, he should never be telling you how to respond anyway (and if he did it would be inappropriate). YOU should decide on an appropriate way to behave, in all your interactions with students, always..
You seem quite unsure of how to behave in your role, perhaps some mentoring by a more senior teacher/lecturer would help you?
The tone of the email does not sound all that rude, he's just saying how he feels, I think you need to be less sensitive and treat this more as a transaction where you provide a service, not a personal conversation.

NImbleJumper Sun 11-Jun-17 09:48:39

And I know what you mean about rude tone - not surprised it's a male student in fact. Offer him a short tutorial and don't let him start - be assertive, take control, and help him through his "bafflement ".. just explain, rather than asking him what he's. addled about.

GameOldBirdz Sun 11-Jun-17 09:49:32

Nimble grin I like that.

GameOldBirdz Sun 11-Jun-17 09:53:48

unapaloma As I said above, he's a mature student. He's about 20 years older than me.

I completely know how to behave in my role and reply to most student queries. But of course when I get a broad email like "I''m confused. Make me less confused" it's hard to know how to respond because there are s many facets to that and I don't know what specifically the problem is.

Thanks for your concern and suggestion on mentoring hmm

Nimble Yes, agree, very unsurprising it's a male student grin

MrTumblesbitch Sun 11-Jun-17 10:00:29

I am not in academia but am a manager - I often get similar emails and "I'm confused" is often peddled out by the more arrogant staff, it's sort of a patronising way of trying to pull rank I find. Being pulled up on having a lower standard has dented their ego, so they passively aggressively attack to try and pull back the power. I am very direct so it leaves no more room for questioning, but I always explain, as that's how they improve. I like to do it in writing generally as I think that when they have had time to calm down they absorb it better. A conversation can be too confrontational when they feel attacked.

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