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How can instructors handle a request for a regrade?

Whether we see it as a bold move or just a student asking for a better understanding of their grade, requests for regrades happen.

Over their careers, educators will see a wide variety of behaviours in response to constructive feedback. Some students will double down and work harder on their next assignment, but others will immediately return to the instructor to request a regrade.

As the instructor, it’s your job to hear your students out and process the request in a way that feels fair. Some schools and institutions have set policies that educators must follow, while others give broad discretion to the individual instructor to set their grades and deal with their students’ requests on their terms.

While educators must have the freedom to determine their grades, maintaining mutually respectful relationships with students often means hearing out their concerns and at least discussing the possibility of a regrade.

In this article, we’ll discuss how educators can handle a request for a regrade and explore the tools they can use to ensure the process is both transparent and simple enough to do without disrupting their workflow.

Examine regrade policies for your school or institution

The first thing that educators must do when confronted with a request to regrade is examining their institution’s policy on regrading. Every school has its process for dealing with regrade requests. Some leave it entirely to the discretion of the individual instructor, while others insist that it must escalate to the department head or even the director of undergraduate studies.

It may help to make these policies clear to your students from the very first day of classes. That way, if they ever want to submit a request for regrade, they’ll have an idea of the potential consequences of their actions. Some schools even provide educators with an email template to respond to students with online grading issues.

Evaluating your feedback objectively when online grading

Suppose your school policies allow educators to deal with requests for regrades themselves. The next step in the process is determining whether your feedback was accurate or whether you’ve made an error.

Even when you use a grading tool, humans are not infallible and can still make mistakes. Before you respond to the student, it may make sense to dig into their grades online and see whether there was a simple error that led to them receiving an inaccurate grade.

Once you’ve determined that you’ve made no error, take a look at your feedback and the student’s response. Is their frustration a result of them not understanding where they went wrong? Perhaps your feedback could have been more formative or specific. If it’s clear that the student lacks understanding, a follow-up email with more detailed feedback may be helpful.

Is a regrade possible?

If the student appears to have understood the assignment and still does not accept their percentage or grade, you’ll have to decide whether a regrade is possible. If you’re using an online grading tool, you’ll need to figure out how to re-open the assignment for feedback.

With Crowdmark, this is easy: assignments can be locked and unlocked at any time by the instructor, using the assessment Dashboard. Locking or unlocking the assignment will not affect the student—only the educator can see that anything has changed. This way, it’s easy to change the grade and send the individual student a message once you’ve taken a second look at their assignment.

Setting boundaries with grades online

Although online grading tools make it easier, going back and regrading assignments can be time-consuming. That’s why many institutions insist that students appeal grades to the department head or an educator at the Dean or Director level, freeing individual educators from continually justifying their grading to their students.

Setting boundaries will always be an essential component of dealing with regrade requests. An instructor who is consistently regrading assessments may get overwhelmed with regrade requests from students who simply didn’t understand the assignment or didn’t work hard enough to complete it to the best of their abilities.

Part of any functional student-teacher relationship is mutual respect. If students do not respect their instructor’s judgment, it can sabotage the whole relationship.

Instead of automatically reassessing any regrade request, take the time to educate the student on where they went wrong. If you’re continually getting regrade requests, it could be a sign that your feedback needs work since it’s not specific enough to be helpful to your students.

Improving feedback with grading tools like Crowdmark

One of the best ways educators can improve the quality and depth without increasing the amount of time they spend grading is to use a smart grading tool like Crowdmark.

Crowdmark allows educators to grade assignments on any device, write or type out personalized feedback, and include added diagrams, images, or even embedded videos. If a student has clearly missed the assignment’s goal or doesn’t understand a concept, simply drop a relevant diagram or video link onto the page, allowing them to absorb the information differently. Save time grading, and put the emphasis back on student performance.

Want to explore the possibilities of Crowdmark for your classroom? Get in touch today to start a free trial.

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