University tutor fails a student because 'Australia is not a country'

A student has been told she failed her university assignment after her tutor refused to recognise Australia as a country.

Ashley Arnold, a 27-year-old mother-of-one from Idaho, US, received her paper back from the member of staff at Southern New Hampshire University and couldn't believe the reasoning for the bad grade.

She had been asked to compare social norms between the US and another country, and she chose Australia.

Ashley Arnold couldn't believe her eyes when her university tutor told her Australia was not a country. Source: Facebook/ Ashley Arnold

Remarkably, her tutor, known only as Dr K, didn't believe this was an acceptable choice for the project.

"Australia is a continent; it is not a country," the tutor wrongly explained via email.

"That error made it nearly impossible for you to accurately complete your week 2 research outline correctly."

The remarkable email she received from her tutor, Dr K. Source: Facebook/ Ashley Arnold

In disbelief, Ms Arnold replied with references to Australia being an independent nation including a direct link to the Australian government's website.

"I mean no disrespect but my grade is affected by your assumption that Australia is not a country when it in fact is," she said.

The tutor said she would review the paper after she did some investigating into the issue.

Ms Arnold took to Facebook to reveal her distress over the misunderstanding.

Ms Arnold directed her tutor to the Australian government's website. Source: Facebook/ Ashley Arnold

"I am in SHOCK. This is the most ridiculous thing ever," she wrote online.

Eventually, several days after her first email, common sense prevailed and the tutor backtracked on her stance on Australia.

"I regraded your report and due to my misunderstanding about the difference of Australia as a country and a continent I did not deduct a late work penalty," the tutor wrote.

The tutor eventually realised her mistake and declared that Australia is in fact an independent nation. Source: Getty

And despite the glaring mistake which nearly cost her her grade, Ms Arnold was able to reflect positively on the incident.

"I learned I can advocate for myself successfully even in the face of opposition brought on by a stubborn professor with a PhD," she said.

The university said it was looking into the matter after Ms Arnold wanted to make sure no one else had to go through the same issue.

"At SNHU, we hold our professors to a high standard of excellence and strive to provide high-quality degree programs for all students," the university told Buzzfeed.

"On this question, the student is right. We take this concern seriously and our academic team is working to resolve the matter."