3,510: Grade Appeal Policy & Procedures
Revised: April 2015
This policy describes the procedure by which a student may appeal a final course grade. A grade assigned by an instructor is only subject to the appeals procedure if:
- There was a clerical/administrative error in the calculation and/or assignment of the grade;
- The grade assignment was based on factors other than the student's performance in the course and/or completion of course requirements; or
- The grade assignment meant that the student was held to more demanding standards than other students in the same section of the course.
The burden of proof of these conditions rests on the student.
Undergraduate students shall only follow this procedure in situations of academic dishonesty when they challenge the final grade received as a sanction, resulting from the Academic Dishonesty Procedure for Undergraduates.
Graduate students should not follow this procedure in situations of academic dishonesty. If a student wishes to appeal a grade received as a sanction for an instance of academic dishonesty, the student must follow the Academic Dishonesty Procedure for Graduate Students.
There are four possible processes in this grade appeal procedure:
- Student consults with instructor before filing a grade appeal;
- Student files a grade appeal using the online Concierge Service;
- Student meets with the department chair or with both the department chair and instructor; and
- Department chair appoints a grade appeal review committee.
1. Student Consults with Instructor
In the event that a student disagrees with the final grade received in a course, the student must discuss the basis for the grade with the instructor. This requirement allows clerical/administrative grade errors that are discovered to be corrected by the instructor by means of the Change of Grade Form without the necessity of filing an appeal. If the grade is still in dispute after consultation, then the student may initiate a grade appeal using the online Concierge Service. The consultation step can be skipped only if the instructor is unavailable or fails to respond within 10 working days. (For the purpose of this policy, working days refers to faculty academic contract days.)
2. Student Files a Grade Appeal Using the Online Concierge Service
If after consulting the instructor the student still feels the grade assignment meets one of the three bulleted criteria above, and/or the student was unable to consult with the instructor, the student may submit a grade appeal using the Academic Complaint System located on the Concierge Service webpage.
The grade appeal must be filed no later than 10 working days after the start of the next spring or fall semester (whichever comes first) after the grade is assigned. The Concierge Service shall communicate the grade appeal to the relevant department chair within 2 working days.
3. Student Meets with the Department Chair or with both the Department Chair and Instructor
The chair has a total of 30 working days after receipt of the grade appeal to contact the student, request a written response from the instructor, meet with the student or the student and the instructor to attempt to facilitate a resolution between the student and the instructor, and provide a written summary of the results of the process. A recommended schedule is as follows:
- Within 5 working days of the receipt of the grade appeal, the department chair shall contact the instructor and the student to begin investigation of the situation.
- The department chair requests a written response from the instructor.
- The instructor has 5 working days to provide a written response to the chair concerning the appeal.
- The chair shall arrange a meeting with the student within 5 working days of receiving the written response from the instructor.
- The chair shall complete the written summary of the results of that meeting within 5 working days of meeting with the student and student and instructor.
If the chair is able to facilitate an agreement between the student and the instructor on the final grade within 30 working days after the receipt of the grade appeal, the agreed-upon grade is considered final. If this grade is different from the original grade assigned by the instructor, a Change of Grade form must be filed by the instructor.
4. Department Chair Appoints a Grade Appeal Review Committee
If the chair is unable to reach a resolution between the student and the instructor within 30 working days of receiving the grade appeal, the chair will appoint a Grade Appeal Review Committee and forward the grade appeal, along with the instructor's response, to the Committee. The committee will consist of the following four members: one student currently enrolled at the institution, one faculty member from within the department, one faculty member from outside the department, and a committee chair (from within or outside the department). The student on the Grade Appeal Review Committee shall have the same status as the student requesting a grade appeal. For example, an undergraduate student filing a grade appeal shall have an undergraduate student on the Grade Appeal Review Committee, while a graduate student shall have a graduate student on the Grade Appeal Review Committee. The department chair shall not serve on or chair the Grade Appeal Review Committee. The Grade Appeal Review Committee chair will chair the Committee and act as a non-voting member. While the instructor and the student may comment on the composition of the committee within 2 working days of its appointment, the final decision on the committee's composition rests with the department chair.
The Grade Appeal Review Committee does not have subpoena power. The principals (i.e., the student and the instructor) may not be represented by counsel. The hearing of the grade appeal by the committee is a closed meeting to be attended only by the Grade Appeal Committee, the student, and the instructor. The student or the instructor may waive his or her right to attend.
The Grade Appeal Review Committee may request additional materials from the student or instructor within 10 working days of the appointment of the committee, and those materials shall be provided to the Committee within 5 additional working days.
The Grade Appeal Review Committee will convene no later than 20 working days after it is appointed and receives the grade appeal materials, and will make a recommendation of grade assignment within 5 more working days.
The decision of the Grade Appeal Review Committee is determined by vote and a majority decision rules. The decision does not have to be unanimous. This decision is not subject to appeal. The dean, department chair, instructor, and student will be notified of the decision, and in case the decision involves a change from the original grade, the Registrar's Office will be notified. A Change of Grade form will be filed by the department chair if the committee recommends a change of grade.
In all grade appeals, the final decision will be reported to the administrator of the Academic Complaint System for official documentation of complaint and decision.