- Student Grade Appeals
- Exceptions to the Grade Appeal Policy and Procedure
- Grade Appeal Procedure
- Grade Review Committee Membership and Policies
- Tuition and Fee Appeal Process
The university supports open communication as the best means to resolve concerns about grades. If a student believes that the grade he/she received for a course does not reflect the quality of his/her work, the first step is to meet with the instructor for the course on an informal basis. The following will be the only acceptable grounds for formal grade appeals:
- The course grade was assigned on a basis other than performance in the course.
- The instructor used standards that were different from those allowed for other students in the same class, or different from those allowed in departmental or school policies if specific departmental or school grading policies exist.
- A substantial and unannounced departure from the instructor’s previously articulated standards was used in assigning the grade.
- A Permanent F has been assigned and the student wishes to appeal.
Outside the regular grade change procedure, only the chair of the Grade Review Committee, with proper written authorization from that committee, may change a grade.
The Grade Appeal Procedure shall constitute the sole internal administrative remedy for a change in grade, except when a grade dispute involves an Office of Equal Opportunity discrimination complaint. If a grade dispute arises from an issue that is covered under the university’s Equal Opportunity policies, which address discrimination on the basis of race, color, disability, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or status, such as Vietnam-era disabled veteran, the student should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity. The Office of Equal Opportunity process for resolution takes precedence over the university’s grade appeal process.
The Grade Appeal Procedure shall have both an informal and a formal resolution process. The student must attempt informal resolution prior to filing a formal grade appeal.
Informal Resolution Process
The informal resolution process shall take place before the last day of the fifth week of the semester following the assignment of the grade. The student must meet with the instructor prior to meeting with the chair or proceeding to the formal appeal process.
If the instructor is not available to meet with the student or does not respond to the student’s request to meet and/or the student is not satisfied with the result of the informal meeting with the instructor, the student must meet with the chair of the department to attempt to resolve the grade concern prior to filing a formal grade appeal.
During the informal resolution process, the student may meet with the dean or the dean’s designee to clarify the grade appeal policy and process. The student may also access Student Conflict Resolution Services for assistance in the process. Students are encouraged to use the informal resolution process to clear up any miscommunications with the instructor or confusion about course expectations.
Formal Resolution Process
Step 1: File Petition with the Dean
After meeting with the instructor and the chair and failing to resolve the grade concerns, the student may initiate a formal resolution process. The student must file a Petition for Grade Appeal with the dean of the instructor’s school by the last day of the fifth week of the semester following the course for which the grade was assigned. Deans may designate an associate or assistant dean to act in their places for the purposes of the Grade Appeal Procedure.
A Petition for Grade Appeal for a grade assigned in fall term shall be filed in the spring term. A Petition for Grade Appeal for a grade assigned in spring or summer term shall be filed in the following fall term. If the dean determines that it is academically necessary for the grade appeal to be processed during a summer term, he/she will facilitate the process by developing an appropriate timeline and submitting a copy of the timeline to the chair and the associate vice president of academic and student affairs.
It is the student’s responsibility to obtain and file the Petition for Grade Appeal form and to follow the procedural rules for the appeal process. The student is advised to keep a copy of all documents submitted. The Petition for Grade Appeal form is available through each academic dean’s office and the Office of the Registrar. A separate Petition for Grade Appeal must be filed for each course in which a grade is disputed. Access to all documents submitted is restricted to those involved in the grade appeal process or otherwise having a need to know. With the exception of the deadline set for filing the Petition for Grade Appeal, the timelines for the process may be extended by written agreement of the student and the dean or by the Office of Academic and Student Affairs if good cause is shown.
The student must provide the dean with a completed Petition for Grade Appeal and all material that relates to the disputed grade at the time that the formal Petition for Grade Appeal is submitted. The petition must include:
- A statement addressing how the appeal meets one or more of the four criteria necessary for a formal grade appeal.
- A description of what occurred during the informal resolution process.
- Copies of all graded materials from the course that are in the student’s possession.
- Any relevant documents the student would like to be reviewed as part of the appeal process.
- A copy of the course syllabus (if the student has a copy).
The dean will forward a copy of the Petition for Grade Appeal to the chair of the department to notify the chair that a formal procedure has been initiated. The chair will be responsible for passing materials regarding the grade appeal on to the instructor. Within 15 working days of receiving the formal appeal, the dean will assess whether one or more of the criteria have been met in the Petition for Grade Appeal. The dean may contact the student, instructor or chair to ask questions and/or request further information or documents in the process of assessing whether the appeal meets the criteria. The dean may request that the instructor provide a written response to the student’s Petition for Grade Appeal and may request any additional documentation necessary to assess the Petition for Grade Appeal at this point in the process. Additional documentation may include graded materials in the instructor’s possession. If any of the material provided by the instructor is confidential, e.g., examinations that may be used in subsequent terms, such materials shall be made available for review but shall not be made part of the Petition for Grade Appeal. The instructor has five working days to provide the response and materials requested by the dean to the dean and chair. A copy of the written response will be provided for the student.
If the dean decides that no criterion has been met, the dean will send a letter or email to inform the student, the instructor and the chair of the instructor’s department that no criterion has been met and that there are no grounds for an appeal.
If the dean decides that one or more of the criteria may have been met, the dean will continue the formal appeal process. If the dean has not already requested a written response to the Petition for Grade Appeal from the instructor, the dean will make that request. The instructor has five working days to provide the written response and any additional materials requested. The written response will be provided to the student and chair. The dean will contact the student, instructor and chair within 15 working days of receiving the Petition for Grade Appeal to convene a meeting of all parties. The purpose of the meeting is to seek resolution of the appeal. Minutes shall be taken at the meeting.
If the appeal is resolved through the process of the meeting, the formal appeal process will end. The dean will write a report summarizing the resolution.
If the appeal is not resolved at the meeting, the dean shall send a copy of the minutes from the meeting, with a written recommendation, to the student, the instructor and the chair within five working days after the conclusion of the meeting.
The dean will send a copy of all materials relating to the Petition for Grade Appeal to the vice president for Academic and Student Affairs or his/her designee for record-keeping purposes within five working days after the conclusion of the meeting or after sending a letter stating the appeal does not meet the criteria.
Step 2: File the Petition with the Grade Review Committee
If the appeal is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction at the dean’s level and the student wants the formal process to continue, the student must send a written request to the vice president for Academic and Student Affairs or his/her designee within five working days of receiving either a letter stating that the appeal does not meet the criteria or the recommendation based on the meeting from the dean. The VP of Academic and Student Affairs or designee will inform the dean, chair and instructor that the Grade Review Committee will review the appeal.
The members of the GRC shall review all documents submitted by the dean and meet to discuss whether to hear the appeal or not within 20 working days. The GRC will not conduct a re-evaluation of the student’s work and will not change the grade of an individual assignment. The GRC will hold a hearing for the Petition for Grade Appeal only if the appeal meets one of the four criteria necessary for a formal appeal.
The GRC may decide that they will not hear the appeal because no criterion has been met, or the petition is substantially incomplete. The GRC will send written notification within five working days to the student, instructor, chair and dean, and the formal appeal process is over.
If the appeal is heard, the GRC shall notify the student, instructor, chair and dean, and will request their presence at the hearing meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to have all parties to the grade dispute provide answers and clarifications that members of the GRC may need in order to make a sound decision on the case. If the appeal is related to a Permanent F, the parties may include the Student Judicial Officer.
The decision of the GRC shall be in the form of a motion, duly made and seconded, and adopted by a majority of the GRC members present and voting, assuming a quorum is met with the exception of a motion to change a grade to an A, B, C, D or F, which shall require the approval of six voting members. In its decision, the GRC may:
- Deny the appeal on its merits, with the effect that the disputed grade will remain on the student’s academic record.
- Grant the appeal and determine an appropriate remedy from among the following options:
- If the final grade is a passing grade, the GRC will give the student the option to change the grade to Pass (P) or No Credit (NC) or have the final grade given by the instructor remain. If the grade is changed to Pass (P), the P will satisfy grade requirements for the major, minor or General Studies. The chair of the GRC will submit a letter to the Office of the Registrar indicating the application of this policy to the Pass with the necessary details (name, student ID, etc.) and will provide a copy of the letter to the student.
- If the final grade is an F, the student will have the option to have the grade changed to a No Credit (NC) or allow the F to remain. In either case, the student will be allowed to retake the course, with tuition for the course waived.
- If the final grade was a Permanent F, the student will have the option to have the grade changed to a No Credit (NC) or to an F. In either case, the student will be allowed to retake the course, with tuition for the course waived.
- The GRC can determine to change the final grade to a grade that is determined appropriate by the GRC. Such a change would require signatures from all six voting members of the committee.
If the GRC finds in favor of the student’s appeal, the chair of the GRC shall notify the instructor and give the instructor an opportunity to change the grade. If the instructor fails to change the grade within 10 working days, the chair of the GRC shall have the authority to change the grade, including the ability to award an NC.
The GRC will inform the student, instructor, chair and dean of its decision in writing within 5 working days of the hearing.
The decision of the GRC is final and cannot be appealed.
The Petition for Grade Appeal and all attachments will be kept in the Office of the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs for a minimum period of three years.
- The GRC shall consist of seven members as follows:
- Two members shall be elected by and from faculty from the School of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
- One member shall be elected by and from faculty from the School of Professional Studies.
- One member shall be elected by the faculty from the School of Business.
- Two student members shall be appointed by the student government.
- One non-voting ex-officio member from the Office of Academic and Student Affairs shall be appointed by the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. The person appointed must have college teaching experience. Responsibilities of this member shall include staff assistance and record keeping.
- The term of membership on the GRC shall be two years, with terms staggered, except that the term of the student members shall be one year. Terms shall begin on the first day of classes of the fall semester.
- Members may serve successive terms.
- Elections of faculty from each school shall occur in the spring, and members shall take office on the first day of classes of the fall semester.
- The representative from the Office of Academic and Student Affairs shall convene the first meeting of the GRC in the fall, at which time the members shall elect a chair.
- A meeting of the GRC to consider and vote on a Petition for Grade Appeal must have a quorum of at least four of its six voting members.
- The GRC shall prepare a written summary of the committee’s decisions, the rationale for its decisions and the vote tally on the appeal. The summary shall be added to all existing documentation of the appeal.
- All documentation in a grade appeal shall be maintained in the Office of the Associate Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs for a three-year period.
- The GRC shall provide a yearly report of appeal activities, including recommendations for amending the Grade Review Policy, to the Office of Academic and Student Affairs by the last day in June. Copies will be sent to all academic deans.
- Informal Resolution means informal discussions that lead to the resolution of a grade dispute the student may have with the instructor, the chair of a department and/or the dean of a school.
- Grade appeal procedure means the formal resolution procedure.
- The time limits refer to weeks, not days of weeks.
- The end of day means 5 p.m. on the designated day (i.e., end of a working day).
- The last day of the week means the Friday of a calendar week.
- Week ordinarily means Monday–Friday. If, for example, classes are not in session on a Monday, the designated week still ends on Friday.
- Working day means any day classes or examinations are scheduled, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
- Assigned grade means a letter grade (e.g., A, B, C, D or F); it does not include the grade notation of NC (No Credit) or the temporary grade notation of I (Incomplete).
The Tuition and Fee appeal process is available to students who may warrant an exception to institutional Withdrawal/Refund policies due to extenuating circumstances such as severe medical illness, an employment situation beyond their control or the death of an immediate family member. The university will not accept appeals for charges incurred more than two years prior to the application for appeal. Additional information can be obtained at the Office of the Bursar (SSB 150, 303-556-6188).