Grade Appeal

  • End-of-Term Grades

    End-of-Term Grades Students are responsible for meeting the standards established for each course they take. Faculty are responsible for establishing the criteria for grades and evaluating students’ academic performance. Within one week following the end of the term, final course grades are posted to WebAdvisor by the faculty based on a timeline established by the Registrar. Students can access their grades online with WebAdvisor using log-in ID and password. Contact Student Services for more information. Once submitted, course grades are considered final and become part of the student’s permanent record.

    It is the student’s responsibility to review his/her grades for accuracy. If there is a question or disagreement with the grade, a student must follow the steps outlined in the Grade Appeal process within ten (10) days from when grades are posted or the date the student could have reasonably gained knowledge of the grade.

    Grade Appeal Procedure

    The responsibility for evaluating student work and assigning grades lies with the instructor of the course. The grade appeal procedure is to allow only the review of alleged inappropriate final grade as a result of prejudice, capricious grading or other improper conditions such as mechanical error, or assignment of a grade inconsistent with those assigned other students. Disagreement or dissatisfaction with a faculty member's professional evaluation of coursework is not the basis for a grade appeal.

    Capricious Grading is defined as any of the following:

    1. The student's grade was assigned on the basis of other factors rather than the performance on the assignment or in the course;
    2. The student's work was graded with more demanding standards than were applied to equivalent students in the course;
    3. The instructor assigned a grade using standards that were substantially different from those previously announced or stated in the syllabus.

    In all cases of a disputed grade, the student has burden of proof that the grade assigned was not appropriate. Successful grade appeals should be based on evidence that the student performed at a level sufficient to warrant a different grade.

    When to Appeal a Grade

    You may only appeal the final grade for a course and are able to provide evidence that an inappropriate grade was assigned as a result of prejudice, caprice, or other improper conditions such as mechanical error, or assignment of a grade inconsistent with those assigned other students.

    When you should NOT appeal:

    • If you feel the course was poorly designed or you received poor instruction — these may be legitimate concerns, but are more appropriately addressed by the Instructional Dean.
    • If you feel that students were graded too severely, provided that all the students in the class were graded in the same fashion — these too may be legitimate concerns, but are more appropriately addressed by the Instructional Dean.

    Filing a Grade Appeal

    To file a Grade Appeal, the following steps must be completed in the order described.

    • Step 1:Within five (5) instructional days after the final grade is posted, the student must first consult with the instructor in an effort to provide a satisfactory resolution of the contested grade. If the instructor reviews the grade and finds a mechanical error or agrees the grade is inaccurate, he or she is free to change the grade as resolved.
    • Step 2:If, however, the matter is not resolved in Step 1, the student may present the complaint in writing (e.g. email, written documentation, etc.) within five (5) instructional days after the instructor’s decision to the Chair of the Program in which the course was offered. Included in the petition the student should attach the appropriate materials described above, and if available, the instructor's written explanation for the assigned grade. The program chair will attempt to resolve the complaint in consultation with the instructor and the student. The program chair will provide a written response to the student (e.g. email) within five (5) instructional days from the time the written complaint has been received. If the program chair was the instructor of the course, the student may proceed directly to Step 3.
    • Step 3:If the complaint has not been resolved at the program level, the student may appeal further by presenting a written petition to the Division Dean in which the course was offered, along with a copy of the materials presented at the previous step and any written responses received from the program. This petition should be presented within five (5) instructional days after the program response. Within five (5) instructional days of the time the complaint was received, the dean may use any resources available to resolve the conflict and will provide the results of their finding in writing to the student.
    • Step 4:If the student still contests the grade after the previous steps, the student may present a Formal Grade Appeal form to the Campus Dean of Students or designee who serves as steward of the Grade Appeal Procedure. Copies of written materials and petitions presented at the previous steps, along with any written responses received from the program or division, must be included with the petition at the time of submission. This step must be completed within five (5) instructional days of the decision made in Step 3.

    The Campus Dean of Students or designee, who is Chair of the standing campus Grade Appeal Panel, will forward the formal grade appeal along with the attached materials to the Grade Appeals Panel for review. The Panel members shall review the petition and the attached materials and then respond with their recommendation to the Grade Appeal Panel Chair about whether a hearing is warranted in the case. Copies of the Panel’s decision regarding the hearing shall be sent to the program chair and division dean. If a majority of the Panel does not vote that the case merits a hearing, the grade stands as issued. If a majority of the Panel votes in favor of a hearing, the Dean of Students or designee will convene and chair a Grade Appeal Hearing Committee. The Committee typically consists of faculty, a member of the student senate and college staff.

    Grade Appeal Hearing

    If a hearing is convened, first the student and then the instructor will each have the opportunity to present their cases orally and to present any other written materials they deem appropriate. The Grade Appeal Committee members shall have the opportunity to ask questions to both the student and instructor. At the end of the meeting, the student and then the instructor shall be given the opportunity for brief closing statements.

    The chair of the Committee should inform the student, the instructor, the program chair, and the Division Dean of the Committee's decision in writing within ten (10) days of the hearing. If a majority of the Committee agrees that the grade should be changed, the Chair will notify the Vice President for Instruction of the Committee’s decision. Otherwise, the grade shall remain as recorded. The decision of the Grade Appeals Committee shall be final. When the appeal process concludes, all documentation is forwarded to the campus Dean of Students, who will maintain such documentation in accordance with appropriate retention schedules.

    The only option to appeal the final decision of the Grade Appeals Committee comes with any new or additional information that was not available or known at the time of the hearing. This information, and all proceeding information, shall be presented to the Vice President for Instruction for review and determination.