Grade Appeal Policy

Preamble

The purpose of the Grade Appeal Policy is to assure that grades represent a fair and consistent evaluation of student performance. At each level of the process it is the responsibility of the adjudicating body to determine whether the grade assigned was determined in a fair and appropriate manner; it is not in its province to grade or re-grade individual assignments. Faculty should determine appropriate evaluation criteria in each course, should inform students of those criteria in writing at the beginning of the course, and should determine the extent to which each student has met those criteria.

Arbitrarily assigning a grade or determining a priori that a percentage of a class will receive a specific grade are two examples of grading procedures which are inimical to academic responsibility and to the rights of the individual. Because students may seek redress against arbitrary or capricious evaluations through the procedures indicated in the following paragraphs, faculty must keep adequate records. For example, examinations, homework assignments, etc. will be kept by the faculty member until the end of the grade appeal procedure period.

In cases where the grade appeal is based on a complaint involving sexual harassment or harassment based on race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, or veteran status, the Grade Appeal Committee will refer the student to the Affirmative Action Officer. Once this officer has acted on the validity of the complaint, the matter will be referred back to the Departmental Ad Hoc Grade Appeal Committee for adjudication.

Undergraduate Appeal Procedure, Step One: Informal Resolution

It is the responsibility of any student wishing to pursue an academic grade appeal involving a faculty member to discuss the matter privately with the professor involved by the end of the second week of the regular semester (Fall or Spring) following the term in which the student received the grade in question. Grade appeal hearings are normally heard during the Fall/Spring semester unless all parties agree to an earlier hearing. In the event the student is unable to contact the professor by the beginning of the third week of the regular semester (Fall or Spring), the student should contact the Department Chairperson in order to set up a meeting with the faculty member (or to meet with the Department Chairperson if the faculty member is no longer on campus).

If concerns remain after meeting with the faculty member, students must within five working days:

1. Write a letter to the faculty member (or to the appropriate Department Chairperson if the faculty member is no longer on campus) requesting an appeal of their grade in the course; and
2. Provide the following information in the letter: name, mailing and email address, and student identification number; course number, title and section; semester and year taken; instructor's name, and a clear statement of the grade change requested and reason that justifies the request.The faculty member, upon receipt of a student's written request for a grade change, will review his/her records.

If it is determined that a student's request is justified, the faculty member will prepare a Grade Change Authorization and notify the student in writing of the change of grade within five working days. If the faculty member (or Department Chairperson) denies the student's request, the letter from the faculty member indicating the denial must include a statement that the student has the right to contact the Department Chairperson for a formal Grade Appeal Form. Faculty members must notify students within five working days of their decision to deny the request, with a copy to the Department Chairperson.

The written request for a formal hearing under section II (below), must be submitted to the Department Chairperson no later than the end of the fourth week of the regular semester (Fall or Spring) following the term in which the student received the grade in question. The Department Chairperson will then constitute a committee of faculty to hear the appeal.

Undergraduate Step Two: Formal Hearings

Faculty members and students should be aware of potential conflicts of interest and excuse themselves from service. If the impartiality of a committee member is questioned, the committee itself must reach a decision as to the continuance of the individual so questioned. If a member is disqualified, another individual from the same constituency will be appointed to serve in his or her place.

Procedures for Committee

Within five working days following the receipt of a student's written request to appeal a grade, the appropriate Grade Appeal Committee will arrange a hearing. Students may not attend the hearings and are represented solely by their written statements.

At least five working days in advance of any hearing, the Chairperson of the Committee will notify the student and the faculty member involved of the time and place of the hearing, the specification(s) of the complaint (including any written documentation provided by the student or faculty member). All committee hearings will be confidential.

Approval or disapproval of an appeal and recommendations for specific action shall be determined by majority vote of those present. A written report of the proceedings will be prepared by the Chairperson of the Committee and submitted to the members for their approval. This report should include the basis for appeal, conclusions reached by the committee, and a report of the voting which reflects the majority and minority points of view.

Conclusion

If the student's appeal is upheld, within five working days after the Departmental hearing, the faculty member must inform the Chairperson of the Committee in writing as to whether or not he or she will change the grade. The Chairperson of the Committee must then inform the student and the chairperson of the department in writing of the faculty member's decision within five working days. If the faculty member fails to reply within the specified time limit, it will be assumed that he or she has decided not to change the grade. In cases where the faculty member does not become a party in the proceedings and the Departmental Grade Appeal Committee makes a decision in favor of the student, the grade will be changed. The Chairperson of the Committee will submit a change of grade form and indicate that the change is due to a successful grade appeal.