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Academic Policies

Grade Appeal

The basis for filing a grade appeal in an undergraduate course is limited to fundamental fairness in treatment of the student by the instructor, as specified by a syllabus conforming to theExternal Link Undergraduate Course Syllabus Policy that is supplied to students at the beginning of the semester, and in light of grading of the student by the instructor relative to other students in the same course and section.  Issues that do not meet these criteria are not appropriate for an undergraduate grade appeal.  Since graduate courses are not subject to a course syllabus policy, grades given in graduate courses may be appealed on the basis of fundamental fairness.

A graduate or undergraduate student may appeal a grade by using the following procedures. Where mentioned, the words college, dean, and department head are the department or college in which the course being appealed is offered. All timelines refer to the first regular (16-week) semester after the semester or summer term in which the grade was awarded. A week consists of five business days or seven calendar days.  Grade appeals are not processed during the summer sessions unless the dean determines a case warrants immediate review.

Written verification of each step below is critical. Steps three, five, and seven require the student to submit a written appeal. Therefore, either mail the appeal via return receipt or deliver it to the appropriate office and have a staff member verify the date and time of delivery. The dean's decision on whether or not the deadlines have been met is final. The dean has authority to extend the deadlines, but only in extraordinary circumstances shall the appeal extend beyond the first regular semester.

Step 1: Within the first five weeks of the regular semester after the semester in which the grade was awarded, or sooner if possible, the student should discuss the concerns with the course instructor, stating the reasons for questioning the grade. If the instructor is a teaching assistant/associate and this interview does not resolve the difficulty, the student shall discuss the problem with the person in charge of the course.

Step 2: Within the first five weeks of the regular semester after the semester in which the grade was awarded, or sooner if possible, the student shall go to the college dean's office to obtain any requisite forms and to review directions. The student must attest in writing that s/he has informed the instructor s/he intends to file a grade appeal.

Step 3: Within the first five weeks of the regular semester after the semester in which the grade was awarded, or sooner if possible, the student shall carefully formulate an appeal in writing, and submit it to the instructor with a copy to the department head.

Step 4: Within two weeks from the date of receipt of the student's written statement, the instructor shall respond to the student in writing. The instructor should explain the grading procedures and how the grade in question was determined as well as other issues raised in the student's statement.

Step 5: If the instructor is not available or does not resolve the matter within the two-week period, the student shall, within one week thereafter, readdress and submit the written appeal to the department head.

Step 6: The department head has two weeks to consider the student's written statement, the instructor's written statement, and confer with each. The department head may not change the grade, but shall inform the instructor and the student in writing of his/her recommendation. If a grade change is recommended, the instructor may refuse to accept the recommendation. The instructor shall notify the department head and the student in writing of his/her decision.

Step 7: If the department head does not act on or resolve this matter to the student's satisfaction within a two-week period, the student shall, within one week thereafter, readdress and submit the written appeal to the dean.

Step 8: The dean shall review the studentís appeal and take appropriate action.  If the basis of the appeal is the fundamental fairness of treatment of the student by the instructor, the dean should convene a committee to review the case.   Valid reasons for convening an appeal committee include, but are not limited to:  a violation of University policy, a failure to follow published course policies, a lack of consistency within the studentís course section, or a dispute over the factual accuracy of graded work.  The following are NOT reasons that should be brought to a committee: a disagreement with published course policies, differences in classroom policies or grading schemes in different courses or between different sections of the same course, or a gradeís impact on a studentís academic progress, athletic eligibility, or eligibility for veteranís benefits.

Step 9: When appropriate, the dean shall convene a committee to review the case. The committee consists of five members. Faculty representatives include one from the department of the instructor concerned, and two from closely related departments or colleges. The student council of the college provides two student representatives. Student representatives shall be full-time upper-division undergraduate students for appeals by undergraduate students or full-time graduate students for appeals by graduate students. If the college does not have an appropriate student council, the ASUA or GPSC shall appoint the student members. All student members must be in good academic standing in that college.

Within the structure provided by the dean, the committee shall design its own rules of operation and select a chair other than the faculty representative from the department concerned. The student and instructor shall represent themselves. The committee may, or may not

  • meet separately with the student, the instructor, and the department head
  • request each party to submit a brief written summary statement of the issues, and/or
  • interview other persons who have relevant information.

If feasible, the committee should meet with the student and the instructor together in an attempt to resolve the difference. The committee shall consider all aspects of the case before making its recommendation. The committee shall make a written report with recommendations and provide copies to the student, the instructor, the department head, and the dean.

Step 10: The dean shall make a final decision after full consideration of the committee's recommendation and within four weeks of receiving the student's appeal. The dean has the authority to change the grade to a different credit-bearing grade, which includes regular grades (A, B, C, D, E), alternative grades (S, P), or optional grades (P, F), depending on the course grading system and the system chosen by the student at registration. The registrar shall accept the dean's decision. The department head, the instructor, and the student shall be notified in writing of the dean's decision.

Grade Appeal Time Table

Prior to: Complete steps: Responsibility of:
Week 5 1, 2, and 3 Student
Week 7 4 Instructor
Week 8 5 Student
Week 10 6 Department Head/ Instructor
Week 11 7 Student
Week 15 8, 9, and 10 Dean



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Page last updated:  February 27, 2013
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