Whether it is for an assignment, an exam, or a final grade, it can be so frustrating when your grade is right on the cusp of being better than it currently is. Many students have wondered if their professor might be willing to bump up their grade to help them pass the class or to maintain a better GPA.
But does this ever actually happen?
Do Professors Ever Bump Up Grades?
It may seem surprising, but there are times when professors do bump up grades. It’s certainly not something to count on or expect, but it does occasionally happen due to a curve or other decision on the part of the professor.
Professors Bumping Up Grades Due to a Curve
Sometimes, you may be far from the only one who was disappointed in your grade on either an exam, assignment, or a final grade for a class. If too many people did not get a passing score on any of these (exam, assignment, or final grade for the class) then the professor is likely to realize that it might have been too difficult overall.
If this is the case, then the professor will probably institute a curve, which is a way to adjust grades so that a certain percentage of students will get an A, B, C, D, or F. It also ensures that the desired percentage of students will get a passing grade.
Curves do not always result in a grade going up, however, but it does usually provide a good chance for some students to increase their grade.
Occasionally, this has been known to happen as a happy surprise after the semester or quarter has ended, if the professor realizes that not enough people passed his or her class. If this happens, they may institute a curve after the fact, but before submitting final grades so that they have a sufficient number of people passing the class.
Professors Bumping Up a Grade from Extra Credit
Some professors will let you know either at the beginning of their course or at some point during the course that there are specific opportunities for extra credit. This is an excellent and fair way for a professor to bump up a student’s grade.
The extra credit could take the form of challenge questions on courses, participating in research or specific volunteer work, or completing an extra credit assignment.
If these opportunities for extra credit are ever available, it’s always a great idea to participate. You never know if you will need the help for your grade later in the session.
If extra credit is offered and you fail to participate in it, be aware that the professor is probably very unlikely to bump up your grade for any other reason because they already made a generous offer that you decided to decline.
Other Reasons Professors Might Bump Up a Grade
There are a few other reasons professors might use their discretion to bump up a student’s grade.
Sometimes, a professor might realize that a student was working especially hard, participating enthusiastically, or was very helpful to his or her fellow students. Or if the student had certain hardships or other extenuating circumstances, the professor might be empathetic and understanding of these situations.
These are some of the reasons a professor might choose to bump up a grade even if a curve or extra credit did not apply.
Very occasionally, a professor will also be understanding that a student needs to maintain a certain GPA or needs a certain grade to pass. If the grade is right on the cusp of this, once in a while, they might use their discretion to find a reason to bump up the grade.
When Professors Won’t Bump Up Grades
Professors are extremely unlikely to bump up a grade just because you wish you had gotten a higher grade or because you feel entitled to a higher grade.
If there is no reason for a curve, if you did not participate in offered extra credit, you did not have any extenuating circumstances, and you didn’t try your absolute best all throughout the course most professors will not even consider bumping up a grade.
Even if you did your absolute best, took every opportunity for extra credit, and/or did have extremely extenuating circumstances, be aware that most professors will not bump up a grade even in these situations.
The professor will often reason that most students are trying very hard, and many other students have hardships and extenuating circumstances, as well. The professor cannot be expected to equalize the grades for everyone and give everyone the grade they wish they had earned.
The requirements for each grade are set, and they believe the most fair thing is to have everyone follow the same rules.
Do Professors Ever Bump Up Grades?
Although it might surprise some, there are occasionally times when professors actually do bump up grades. It should not be expected or counted on, but professors sometimes bump up a grade because of a curve or for some other reason.