In the event that a student feels that he/she has been graded unfairly, the student should first seek to resolve the issue using an informal appeal that involves two steps.
Informal Grade Appeal
The first step in the grade appeal process is to seek to resolve the disagreement with the faculty member. Students must initiate informal appeals of course grades by the end of the first week of the following semester. In those cases in which the faculty member agrees to a change of grade, the faculty member must submit an “Adjustment of Student’s Academic Record” form to the Office of Academic Affairs for approval or denial. “Adjustment of Student’s Academic Record” forms are due no later than the first day of final exams of the semester in which the informal appeal was lodged. (If the basis for the grade appeal is harassment, the student need not discuss the grade appeal with the faculty member. In such cases the student should notify the Office of Academic Affairs and follow the harassment policies outlined in the Student Grievance Policy.)
Traditional Day Students
If no resolution is reached with the faculty member, the student shall contact the chair of the department in order for the chair to seek resolution of the disagreement. If no resolution is reached by the chair, the student may initiate a formal grade appeal. In cases in which the faculty member involved in the disagreement is the Chair, the student may initiate a formal grade appeal.
Formal Grade Appeal
Grounds for Formal Grade Appeal
Formal grade appeals for course grades are reserved for specific types of cases listed below. Simply disagreeing with a faculty member’s assessment of coursework is not grounds for a formal grade appeal. Grade appeals must be based on capricious, arbitrary, or prejudiced grading. The following are recognized grounds for formal grade appeal:
- Numerical miscalculation of student grade.
- Improper academic procedures that unfairly affected the student’s grade.
- Failure to follow grading criteria as outlined in the course syllabus (unless previously agreed upon by faculty member and student).
- Sexual harassment as determined by institutional sexual harassment policy.
- Application of criteria that are unrelated to academic performance, such as gender, political perspectives, race, sexual orientation, nationality, or religious views, among others.
Procedures for Formal Grade Appeal
- Students who wish to file a formal grade appeal based on one or more of the above criteria must file a grade appeal form with the Office of Academic Affairs no later than the final day of the 5th week of the following semester.
- The Office of Academic Affairs will submit the form to the Grade Appeals Committee within 10 working days. The Grade Appeals Committee shall consist of the following members:
- Faculty Chair of the Academic Policy and Honors Committee;
- Faculty Chair of the Tenure, Promotion, and Development Committee;
- Faculty Chair of the Athletics and Student Development Committee.
The most senior faculty member (in terms of years of service) shall serve as the chairperson of the Grade Appeals Committee. If any of those members are involved in the grade dispute, the Chief Academic Officer (Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Dr. Tom Perrin) shall name an alternate faculty member.
- The Grade Appeals Committee shall review the student Grade Appeal Form to determine if there is preliminary justification for further investigation.
- In those cases in which no justification is found, the student shall be notified by the chairperson of the Grade Appeals Committee that his/her appeal has been rejected. The student may then appeal to the Chief Academic Officer (see below “Final Appeal of Grade”).
- In those cases in which there is justification for further investigation, then the chairperson shall notify the faculty member of the appeal and provide him/her with the Grade Appeal Form submitted by the student. The faculty member shall have 10 working days to respond in writing to the student grade appeal. Responses should be sent to the chairperson of the Grade Appeals Committee.
- The Grade Appeals Committee shall then consider all the evidence. The Grade Appeals Committee reserves the right to seek additional evidence.
- The Committee shall notify both the faculty member and student of its decision no later than the first day of exams of the semester in which the appeal was initiated.
- If the appeal is upheld, the committee shall recommend a change of grade to the Chief Academic Officer. The recommendation shall be in writing and provide a brief rationale for the decision.
Final Appeal of Grade
A student or faculty member may appeal the decision of the Grade Appeals Committee to the Chief Academic Officer. In such cases, the Chief Academic Officer will review all documents and minutes related to the case and may seek additional information or evidence. The decision of the Chief Academic Officer shall be relayed to the student and faculty member. The decision of the Chief Academic Officer is final.