Should I argue my point or let it go?

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  1. melbel profile image94
    melbelposted 11 years ago

    I took a test in a class and missed one question. When I took the test, I could see the answer going either way and I knew I could present a good argument for or against my answer. It was multiple choice, so I selected the one that I could present a stronger argument for.

    I got the question wrong and I'm wondering if I should argue it w my prof. She doesn't seem to be too open to argument from questions other students ask. Should I try to present my side or just forget about it? It wouldn't greatly change my grade as it was the only one I got wrong. That said, that one point may help me further on in the semester if I slip below a perfect.


    1. A Troubled Man profile image58
      A Troubled Manposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I've had that happen before too and didn't hesitate to speak with the prof afterwards in private to hear his reasoning and to present mine. Go for it, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, whether you get the extra mark or learn something.

    2. Hollie Thomas profile image61
      Hollie Thomasposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      The sad reality. Academia is but a game. Play by the rules of the game (at this stage in your life. you look young and cute, I'm an old codger smile ) You progress to the next level, and perhaps it's there that you can afford to be a little more feisty. (sorry, sounds really cynical, I didn't mean it too.) Good luck, whatever you decide. smile

    3. Druid Dude profile image61
      Druid Dudeposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I take a more Carlinistic veiw...It's all about Ben

      1. Hollie Thomas profile image61
        Hollie Thomasposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Ben dover or drop out. smile

    4. the Teaching Doc profile image60
      the Teaching Docposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Never argue with your professor.  You are setting yourself up for problems.  An important skill that I see lacking in so many college students is the ability to deal with their instructors on an adult-to-adult basis.  This could be a great opportunity to advance your skills in this area.

      1. melbel profile image94
        melbelposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I have no intention of attacking her intelligence. I'm sure she's really smart, but I can explain why my selection could be right. If I'm wrong (which, obviously, I'm not 100% right because I DID get it wrong), it's fine if she can explain it to me. I just wish I'd written an explanation on the paper.

        What further complicates things is that it's a speech course so we're being graded on how we speak, how we use persuasion, etc. Not that I'm being graded on a question I have about a test, but I don't want her to have a negative or even positive bias against me for asking. I especially don't want to come off whiny or ill-informed or just saying something dumb (I get nervous and it gets in the way of articulation.) She doesn't seem really open to people's ideas. When other students ask questions or share an opinion, she appears to have a "this is the way it is, deal with it" approach.

        Maybe I should forget about it. It's just one point. I just feel like I'm letting myself down because I don't know if (or even how) I should approach this. I feel like it's a moot point, but at the same time, I think it's ultra important, even if I come out of it empty-handed (don't get that last point.)

        1. Hollie Thomas profile image61
          Hollie Thomasposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Maybe you should do whatever it is you need to do to get through this stage in your education.  However you're feeling and thinking, you can always express this at some later stage. Your professor sounds like a jobsworth, she should not be allowed the power to determine your future. If you do not obtain your qualifications, you will never be given the opportunity to pass on what you have learned. Get through this, if you ever become a lecturer, you will be so different.

    5. phillippeengel profile image79
      phillippeengelposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Your professor seems to be rigid and dour, however, you only have one wrong answer and it really does not matter much, just like the charge of an electron which is so insignificant. Ignore the usual epigram teachers will quip: One mark can determine your A one or A two. They are hogwash. Given your professor's attitude, I advise you not to bicker over the marks.

  2. paradigmsearch profile image62
    paradigmsearchposted 11 years ago

    Converse one-on-one after class as opposed to in class. Tell her why you did what you did. Accept her answer as opposed to debating it. Communication is a wonderful thing. Who knows? Maybe something serendipitous will come of it. smile

  3. livewithrichard profile image74
    livewithrichardposted 11 years ago

    I can say from experience that arguing a point with a professor is a bad idea and will only damage egos.  On the other hand, it wouldn't hurt to have a discussion with your professor to get some clarification on the question and demonstrate why you chose the answer you did.  LOL I know its the same thing as arguing your point but it all comes down to presentation.

    1. paradigmsearch profile image62
      paradigmsearchposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Perfectly said. smile

    2. rebekahELLE profile image88
      rebekahELLEposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I like this advice, especially after reading melbel's explanation of the question.
      It really wasn't a very good true/false question if you ask me. I would ask to speak with him after class.

  4. Shanna11 profile image76
    Shanna11posted 11 years ago

    I hate doing it, but whenever I feel the need to discuss/argue a question with a prof, I put on a bewildered dumb-blonde act. Sometimes you just gotta play the game, as degrading as it may be. I act innocent and confused and ask for an explanation first, and then say something like "Oh... what about this answer... is it possible for it to be like this...?"

    Don't come across attacking or angry or frustrated. Just as a genuinely confused and humble student seeking the guidance of your superior teacher. If you stroke their ego, teachers can be surprisingly forgiving....

    1. artsofthetimes profile image95
      artsofthetimesposted 11 years agoin reply to this


  5. paradigmsearch profile image62
    paradigmsearchposted 11 years ago

    Is this thread unanimous or what!?!

    melbel is going to buy us all dinner afterwards.


  6. skinsman82000 profile image74
    skinsman82000posted 11 years ago

    I'm going to have to agree with everyone else I suppose, ha.  You'd be surprised what you can get into or out of with the power of persuasion and intelligent discussion.

  7. WriteAngled profile image74
    WriteAngledposted 11 years ago

    Multiple choice tests are the graveyard of the truly intelligent.

    Morons memorise yes/no answers as spoonfed to them in classes.

    Intelligent people, who have read widely and way outside the range of predigested lecture material as well as thought things through for themselves, find multiple choice difficult; they wish to answer many questions with a "yes, but", "no, but", "depending on circumstances, it could be either" type of answer. 

    Unless you know whether your teacher is producing MCQ tests purely for convenience or because he/she belongs to the moron group, there is little point in arguing.

    1. recommend1 profile image60
      recommend1posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Thank goodness for that !!   I find multiple choice questions impossible to answer and had accepted that I am just a moron, now I know it is because I am too bright for them !  You couldn't drop a short note to that effect to my wife, who lost patience with me proof-reading her English tests, could you  - please tick either    YES  NO  NOT GIVEN

  8. Nouveau Skeptic profile image63
    Nouveau Skepticposted 11 years ago

    Ask him/her about it, rather than pushing a case. Nothing to be lost doing that.

  9. IzzyM profile image86
    IzzyMposted 11 years ago

    I have no right to comment, not being privy to the American system, but I would argue. If there isn't a yes/no answer, then you can't be wrong. Every opinion, whether the professor hears it or not, has the right to be heard.

    1. Nouveau Skeptic profile image63
      Nouveau Skepticposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      The professor obviously intended it to be a right/wrong answer.

  10. Nouveau Skeptic profile image63
    Nouveau Skepticposted 11 years ago

    When I was lecturing I gave credit for ambiguous answers all the time.  But someone does have to tell you about it.

  11. IzzyM profile image86
    IzzyMposted 11 years ago

    I was thinking about what Nouveau Skeptic said about there being a right answer and a wrong answer.

    Usually, in that case, one answer is learned and the other is either guessed at, conjecture or downright lies.

    Or it could be a brand new solution to an age old problem.

    Without knowing what Melbel is studying, but guessing it might be to do with software development, I'd be interested in hearing the question itself, not the speculation of what one might do in an abstract situation.

    1. melbel profile image94
      melbelposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      It's a question of ethics. We weren't allowed to keep the test or record anything from it, but it was like,

      "When composing a speech, the writer must adhere to a written code of ethics."
      True or False

      (I picked false. The correct answer was true.)

      The word "written" is what bothered me. The book both refers to 'code of ethics' but doesn't say "The 10 Commandments" or "Big Joe's Big Book of Ethics." It makes zero reference to a specific written work of ethics.

      Furthermore, the Chapter states that, "Your ethical decisions will be guided by your values." This is what I believe. I don't need some written guidelines of ethics, values, and morals to tell me what I SHOULD believe. I AM influenced by the world around me, but the world around me does not have the final say on what I believe. I selected false because that's what felt right for me.

      I knew, taking the test that it was a 50/50, but I can't defend that it's a "written code of ethics", I CAN defend that it should be based on my own values.

      1. IzzyM profile image86
        IzzyMposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Well, I would not have had a clue if asked that question!

        I was never taught there were ethics when it came to speech-making. maybe a few politicians could learn something here!

        Speech-making to my mind is all about putting your point across as forcefully and coherently as you can, without shouting, obviously.

        If this exam is important to you, I would write down my objections as clearly and succinctly as I could, and present them to my teacher/examiner/whoever.

        I think there is no right and wrong answer here.

        Or maybe I am not educated enough.

        Score off that last comment!

      2. WriteAngled profile image74
        WriteAngledposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Ah, I see now! I have come across organisations, which recommend or require their members to produce a personal code of ethics written in their own words concerning activities relevant to that organisation. It is possible that in some subjects of study, teachers might also mention having such a document as being desirable. I think the idea is that if you write it yourself, you are forced to think through the issues, whereas if you simply put your signature to an existing document, you might do so even without bothering to read it.

      3. A Troubled Man profile image58
        A Troubled Manposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Sorry, but I would have to agree with the prof on that one.

        Most likely the prof is referring to common speech codes that prevent libel, slander, harassment, etc.

        1. melbel profile image94
          melbelposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          What the book refers to is a wide range of ethical issues. Some are more concrete and obvious like "don't stab your friends", "don't spew racial slurs", etc... but some are more fluid and are the things that change over time. And even in that realm, the book refers to personal ethics being a guiding hand versus a list of hard-written rules.

          I mean, isn't it the purpose of education to learn HOW to think and not WHAT to think? If our ethics were right out of some book or list of some person's guidelines, wouldn't our society NEVER change?

          For example, look at the 1920s, then it was acceptable to call African-Americans whatever and refer to them as animals, people who were stupid and couldn't think. Now, we know that not only is that HORRIBLY wrong, but that we can't just go around treating people like that.

          Just some thoughts.

          Furthermore, if I DO write my own ethical guidelines, what if they change? I could edit them, but wouldn't that prove that our ethics are more fluid than concrete?

          1. recommend1 profile image60
            recommend1posted 11 years agoin reply to this

            Disagreeing with your Prof will only do you harm, especially if you are right.

  12. melbel profile image94
    melbelposted 11 years ago

    I mean, yeah, being ethical is important, but the question was really poorly worded.

    It reminds me of losing the Geography Bowl in 8th grade to:

    "Birds migrate from Canada to the US and what neighboring country?"

    I answered Greenland. The answer was Mexico. I didn't think Greenland really made sense. I KNEW birds went South, but I thought the judge meant "a country neighboring Canada" and Greenland is what came to mind.

    1. RealHousewife profile image68
      RealHousewifeposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      When I have a conundrum such as this, I usually ask myself - what is my goal - what do I hope to gain...what happens if it is recieved wrong? Risk vs. Reward is usually my decider:)  Good luck!

      1. IzzyM profile image86
        IzzyMposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        What conundrum? Bird fly south. Is anything further north than Greenland?

        1. RealHousewife profile image68
          RealHousewifeposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Conundrum - meaning she has a confused situation she is pondering...I totally must have misunderstood the question! EXCUSE ME!!!!

          1. IzzyM profile image86
            IzzyMposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            Oh I see:)

            Sorry when you quoted her 'birds fly south' post, I thought you were replying to that. smile

            1. RealHousewife profile image68
              RealHousewifeposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              Oh no - I don't venture out on the forums much - I only did because Mel linked I probably am responding in the wrong place.  Thanks for the heads up:)

              1. IzzyM profile image86
                IzzyMposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                No worries. Welcome to the forums:)

    2. IzzyM profile image86
      IzzyMposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Well, I didn't know until I was 42 that Greenland was even near Canada, so you did well smile

      (just joking, trying to make you feel better)

  13. Gordon Hamilton profile image94
    Gordon Hamiltonposted 11 years ago


    There is no question about the fact that you were right to answer false. What is your teacher, a fascist or a communist? One of the two, certainly, on the face of things!

    If I were you, I would stand by my principals and argue my point (even though you made it by mistake). It may well be that your teacher is testing your resolve to challenge her "authority" and that your respectful challenge will score you points.

    When composing a speech, no writer must adhere to any code of ethics. They should adhere to a code of decency in terms of their language, so as not to cause pointless or unnecessary offence; but the entire point of making any speech is to advance an opinion and promote it to the relevant audience. A speech is an attempt at education of the masses, a gallant gushing from the heart and soul that will hopefully prove to be to the benefit of society as a whole.

    Good luck with your ongoing education...

  14. incomeguru profile image94
    incomeguruposted 11 years ago

    If her doors are open for constructive engagement, i would have love to say yes. But if you see her in good mood, you can start a discussion with her on different issue entirely, study her and see that she's responding positively. Then present your case in a kindly manner.

  15. profile image58
    SanXuaryposted 11 years ago

    You can always tell her why you picked the answer verses an argument of what is correct. Perhaps she will explain the reason for the correct answer. Some answers are text book and not in context to what the subject or the modern day belief of the subject is. How many principles fly in the face of many early facts because they were only theories to begin with. How many unmovable beliefs have come into arguments of different possible interpretations and even results can be skewed.


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