Grade Appeal Policy

1.   Overview

If a student believes that a final course grade has been assigned in an erroneous, capricious, or discriminating manner, the student may appeal the grade. No grade appeal may be initiated until the Registrar has released the official grade to the student; however, the grade appeal process must be started within the first regular semester following assignment of the final course grade. Grade appeals must move through the following stages until a satisfactory resolution to the problem is reached.

2.   Appeal to the Instructor

      The appeal process begins with the instructor who assigned the grade.  The student should meet with the instructor and attempt to resolve the dispute informally.  Any such resolution of a grade appeal must be approved in writing by the instructor’s Department Chair and the Provost.

3.   Appeal to the Department Chair

a.   Should an informal resolution of the grade appeal be inconvenient or undesirable to either the student or the instructor, the student shall submit a written letter of appeal to the Department Chair.  The student’s written appeal shall state the basis (or bases) of the appeal--i.e., error in computation or recording, capriciousness, or discrimination—and provide evidence in support of the appeal.  The latter two of these three claims are very serious and should be undertaken only in cases where the student has considerable evidence to substantiate the claims.  Appeals must be accompanied by copies of all pertinent graded work, the course syllabus, and any relevant course handouts (such as assignment prompts). The letter(s) of appeal and supporting evidence will comprise the appeal portfolio and will remain in the custody of the Department Chair or the Provost, or a designee, until the dispute is resolved, at which time all materials belonging to the student will be returned.  The student should keep a copy of all appeal materials.

b.   Upon receipt of the appeal letter, the Department Chair will notify the instructor and provide the instructor with a copy of the materials from the appeal portfolio.  The Department Chair will conduct an investigation, including a review of the student’s work included in the appeal portfolio and interviews of the student and the instructor, within fifteen (15) class days of the receipt of the appeal letter.  The Department Chair’s ruling shall indicate either that the instructor’s grade shall stand or that the instructor’s grade shall be changed to a different grade.  In the latter case, the Chair will obtain grade-change approval from the Provost and then submit a change of grade form to the Registrar, indicating that the grade has been changed on appeal.

4.   Appeal to the Provost or the designee

      If either the student or the instructor believes that the Department Chair has erred in his or her decision, the student or the instructor may submit a written appeal of the Department Chair’s decision to the Provost or the designee.  The letter of appeal must state specifically how the Department Chair erred in his or her decision and must be accompanied by evidence to substantiate that claim.  The Provost or the designee shall investigate the charge of error and respond in writing to the student, the instructor, and the Department Chair, within fifteen (15) class days of the receipt of the appeal.  The Provost’s or the designee’s ruling shall indicate either that the instructor’s original grade shall stand or that the instructor’s grade shall be changed to a different grade.  In the latter case, the Provost or the designee will submit a change of grade form to the Registrar, indicating that the grade has been changed on appeal.

5.   Appeal to the Academic Policies Committee

a.   If the student or the instructor believes that the Provost or the designee has erred in his or her decision, the student or instructor may submit a written letter of appeal to the Academic Policies Committee.  The letter of appeal must state specifically how the Provost or the designee erred in his or her decision and must be accompanied by evidence to substantiate that claim.  The committee shall investigate the charge of error and respond in writing to the student, the instructor, the Department Chair, and the Provost or the designee, within fifteen (15) class days of the receipt of the appeal.  The committee’s ruling shall indicate either that the instructor’s original grade shall stand or that the instructor’s grade shall be changed to a different grade.  In the latter case, the Chair of the committee will submit a change of grade form to the Registrar, indicating that the grade has been changed on appeal. The decision of the committee is final.

b.   Should the Department Chair, Provost or the designee, or a member of the Academic Policies Committee be the instructor of record of the course under appeal, the Office of Academic Affairs will name an alternate to hear the appeal, if necessary.  The alternate shall be either a faculty member within the department or in a related discipline, or another Department Chair.

6.   Absent Faculty

      In a case where the instructor is absent from campus or is no longer employed by the university, the appeal shall begin directly with the Chair of the department in which the course was taken.  The chair will attempt to notify the instructor of the appeal, in writing, within five (5) class days of the receipt of the appeal.  The instructor will have thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the Chair’s notice to respond.  It is the responsibility of the instructor to ensure that the Chair receives the response in 30 days.  After 30 days, the Chair will follow the procedure above, if necessary.

7.   Working Days Defined

      In counting time, “working days” are Monday through Friday when the University is in session during the regular Fall and Spring semesters.  The grade appeal process must be started within the first regular semester following assignment of the final course grade.

8.   Extensions

      Requests for an extension of a deadline shall be made in writing to the Provost or the designee.  Interpretation of this appeal process shall be conducted by the Provost or the designee in consultation with the Academic Policies Committee.  The Provost’s or the designee’s decision shall be final in extending deadlines and interpreting this policy.