Taking Notes: Eye on Education – Charging For Extra Marks On Assignments

Taking Notes: Eye on Education – Charging For Extra Marks On Assignments

This column focuses on a wide range of issues affecting post-secondary students. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about. If suggest a topic or a course alert for taking notes, contact djabbour@ausu.org


Increasing numbers of universities are resorting to charging a fee to students who are seeking re-marking of coursework. For years it has been common practice to charge a fee when a student appeals a final grade or re-writes a final exam. Now many universities are extending this practice to routine essays, quizzes and lab reports, charging up to $50 for a grade review. If the mark is raised, the fees are generally refunded, but if the mark is unchanged or lowered, the student forfeits their cash.

Professors have been complaining that more students are “grubbing” for extra marks on class assignments. Student advocates claim this is because students are becoming more aware of their rights and have a clearer understanding of the criteria that should be used to assess their marks. As well, as tuition costs and extra fees continue to rise, students are becoming more vocal regarding the quality of service they expect to receive, including marks.

Critics of this trend note that students who rightly feel they were not marked fairly on an assignment should be entitled to have their work looked at again. They suggest that adding a fee for this service will mean that less-affluent students who are unable to afford to have their work re-assessed will be unfairly penalized.

Grade-grubbers will be asked to pony up by some Canadian universities. Sarah Schmidt, CanWest News Service, Edmonton Journal, November 5, 2004.