I Got a Bad Grade; My Civil Rights were Violated…ahhhh!

We all complain about grades, but listen to this…

Brian Marquis, a 51-year-old paralegal seeking bachelor’s degrees in legal studies and sociology, filed a 15-count lawsuit in US District Court in Springfield in January after a teaching assistant graded a political philosophy class on a curve and turned Marquis’s A-minus into a C. Marquis contends that the university violated his civil rights and contractual rights and intentionally inflicted “emotional distress.”

But, thankfully, the District Court threw out the case, but Mr. Marquis plans to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals. He was particularly concerned that a C grade might make it difficult for him to get into law school.

Mr. Marquis apparently totaled up 92.5 points, but on the curve his grade was reduced to 84, which produced a final grade of C. The UMASS grading scale indeed seems to be bit different. 

Well folks, here is the good news Clarkies. I do not grade on a curve! You get to keep what you get. Besides, I don’ tinker with a point here or a point there. My grading philosophy is that each student should be assessed on his or her overall performance throughout the semester.  So, see you all at the mid-terms.

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3 Responses to “I Got a Bad Grade; My Civil Rights were Violated…ahhhh!”

  1. Nick Callender Says:

    So he got a bad grade and the grading system does seem to be a bit strange.. I would be angry myself. But how does he argue that his civil rights are violated?

  2. Connor Joyce Says:

    This doesn’t seem like a violation of civil rights. I don’t understand how he could make an argument for that, especially since the grading system is on a curve. I am not a fan of grading curves, but that is the style the teacher grades and I’m willing to bet he was aware of it.

  3. srinisitaraman Says:

    If you attend large schools, such as UMASS or other such competitive programs, grading on a curve is a common practice. Moreover, professors also develop personalized systems of grading and curving; they also cap the number of A’s and B’s awarded. So, your performance will be assessed relative to another student. Smaller programs such as ours don’t rely on such a system. However, since the grading system is not uniform across the different universities in the United States, many grad programs weight your GPA’s differently and many employers don’t take the GPA very seriously because it is an unreliable indicator of employability. That is why it is important to develop marketable skill sets.


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