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Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceHigher Education (University +) · 2 months ago

When a university student doesn't get good grades, how does it affect the professor's career?

Do professors get judged by their management if a few students fail? Would it be seen as the professor isn't affective or that the students weren't great academically by whoever manages the professor? Would it possibly affect the professor's salary? 


@Lili, Calm down. I knew the difference, I just made a mistake. No need to be so judgy. 

9 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    My university has been very active in tracking success rates in classes. If an individual professor''s grades are consistently lower than other sections of the same course, that could affect his/her annual evaluation by the Chair. The only time that really matters, however, is if there are merit raises to be had. In most state universities, that's become rare because of a lack of funding from the state. But when there are merit raises, the Chair determines who gets what,  If the grades for a particular course tend to be low- freshman math, for example- some resources will be put in to redesigning the class. In this case, that involved adopting some fairly expensive software that seems to help tutor those students who are struggling. For our freshman composition course, the instructors submit folders with copies of graded papers, and they all meet and discuss. AT the beginning of the year, they have meetings where they grade sample papers and discuss the criteria they used to make sure they are all grading more or less the same way. 

  • L
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    Of course not.  A professor can not control what a student learns or how they do their homework or not.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    How does it affect the professor's career?  Not in the least.  Some students get low grades and some are going to flunk out.  I once taught a beginning foreign language class in which, out of thirty-three students, seven went on to the next level.   The reasons:  some shouldn't have been in that course in the first place, some cut classes, some didn't do homework or study for exams. I told my department head about the class from the beginning of the term and I was not faulted for the students' failures.

    Professors are not "managed", and their salaries are not dependent on students' grades.

    If a professor's whole classes repeatedly got low grades that would be another story. 

    Source(s): university prof
  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    "Effective," not "affective". Learn the difference.

    It really doesn't affect the professor's career.  Some students just don't do well. If the majority of them are doing fine, a few who fail aren't going to cause the professor any problems.  A large number of failures would attract attention, and there might well be cause for the Department Chair to take a look at the situation, but not a few.

    No, it would not affect the professor's salary.

    I'm a professor, and I have certainly had the occasional failed student over the years.  It was an issue only once, because the student was a minority member on financial aid.  However, she failed all her other courses, too.

    Professors are judged on a lot of things, not just teaching.  They also are not "managed".

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  • Squid
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    I have 3 or 4 withdrawals and a couple F's every semester.  Which is average for many intro STEM courses...those students generally change to a liberal arts major and do fine.


    Payscale has nothing to do with student grades.

  • MS
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Having "a few" students fail a class is typical, and might occur for many reasons.  Most students who fail my courses do so because they have not completed all of the assignments or exams in a class. 

    If a professor routinely fails a large number of students, while faculty teaching other sections of the same or similar courses do not, then that might eventually cause someone to look into it.  It might be that the professor has high standards, perhaps too high.  It could be the case that the professor isn't a particularly effective instructor.  It could be the case that the professor gets an unfair number of poor students.  There are a lot of reasons for this, and the professor might not be doing anything wrong.  I will say that I've noticed more scrutiny of colleagues who give too many good grades as opposed to those who give too many bad ones.

    The number of students that we fail has nothing to do with our salary.  It also cannot get us fired, particularly if we have tenure. 

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Generally, no.  Performance evaluations are norm-based meaning they are compared to how other professors grade students.  Unfortunately, as a professor myself, I have noticed a marked decline in the quality of students in the past ten years.  Never before did I have illiterate students grace my classrooms, but I do now.  Also, mathematics skills are virtually nonexistent.  Students are taking advantage of getting disability status to get away with shoddy academic performance.

    Tests in class are criterion-referenced, so if you don't understand the topic and don't get high enough a score, too bad, it's on you.  If the general distribution of the grades is within two or three standard deviations of the norm, it means the professor is likely doing as good a job as everyone else in conveying the information.  

  • 2 months ago

    No usually it does NOT affect a professor's career or salary, especially if they have tenure or the professor has a funded position where salary comes from the Interest on savings account. Salary is determined by several things,including whether they are an assistant associate or full professor and television in the?school or department. My fatyherxwas offered the chairmanship of the Department. He turned it down. Had he accepted it, he probably would have been promoted to full professor. 

    With adjunct professors, the salary was not livable 5 years ago and there was no job security. They could be fired at any time. Students grades were irrelevant.

    Professors?do not have managers. The department chair person or head of a school does have political clout in a university. 

  • Scott
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    If it is a class trend, it might be noted on that professors annual performance evaluation. For example, let’s say there’s a math professor where on average 40% of his students fail. But the other professors have a failure rate of half that in the same class. 

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