I got a big fat zero on one of my lab reports. When I saw it posted online, I thought it was a mistake. I looked at the report itself to see if there were any comments. The grader wrote "This lab report won't be graded. It is in the wrong format."

Mind you, this was the FOURTEENTH lab report for this class. Each report is worth 50 points and my grades have ranged from 42 to 50 points, usually 45 or more. They changed the grading criteria after the first seven lab reports so they would be easier for the TAs to grade. They wanted them in bullet points and for each bullet point to discuss one difference between products and give the explanation for that difference (It is a food science course, so for lab, each of the members in the group makes a different variation for the recipe and then we compare them). If their is no difference, you do not need to include a bullet point.

This lab report was for biscuits and was formatted the exact same way as reports I got 50 out of 50 points on. I was confused, so I emailed the professor. I mean, does it make sense for a student consistently getting high marks to all of a sudden not follow the directions so much to get a ZERO? I thought for sure that she would reply saying the TA made a mistake, but she finally emailed me back today saying she agreed with the grader's assessment.

My mistakes:

  • My bullet points were organized under headings. ALL OF MY LAB REPORTS HAVE BEEN LIKE THIS AND I HAVE NEVER GOTTEN A COMMENT ABOUT IT.
  • I had one bullet point with no explanation. I did not know why the two products were different, but they were different (and it was a potential difference listed on the lab instructions), so I thought it best to at least mention that I noticed the difference. Apparently I was wrong and should've just omitted it.
  • One bullet point said "X biscuit's interior was white with small air cells and Y biscuit's interior was white with large air cells." They were both white and that is not a difference (but the air cell size is a difference, it wasn't on its own).

AND THAT WAS ENOUGH TO GIVE ME A ZERO? REALLY?

My professor did at least change my grade from a zero to a 20/50, which is still a F.

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This is a notoriously tough class (mostly because of how strict the professor is on grading, if you couldn't tell) and I am SO CLOSE to getting an A. If this is what breaks me....this will be me:

And now, back to studying...IN 24 HOURS THIS STUPID SEMESTER WILL BE OVER.