Students are entitled to fundamental fairness in treatment from the instructor, as specified by the course syllabus policies (Undergraduate and Graduate). Grading standards of students in the same course section must be consistent. Students who believe these policies have been violated may choose to file a grade appeal.
A student may appeal their final course grade by using the following procedures. Current process, deadlines, and the grade appeal form are defined by the Office of the Registrar.
Prior to filing an official grade appeal, the student should discuss the concerns with the course instructor or faculty member responsible for the course. It is important for a student to initiate this conversation as soon as possible in order to meet the deadline should they choose to file an appeal.
If concerns over a course grade are not resolved satisfactorily after speaking with the instructor, students may file a grade appeal. Valid reasons for appeal include:
violation of university policy
failure to follow published course policies
inconsistent grading within the student’s course section
disagreement over factual accuracy of graded work
Invalid reasons for appeal include:
disagreement with published course policies
differences in grading policies between other courses or sections of the same course
impact of disputed grade on student’s academic progress or eligibility
A grade appeal is only available before the student’s degree is awarded. Graduating students completing final degree requirements must alert the Office of the Registrar (undergraduate students) or the Graduate College (graduate students) as soon as course grades are posted if they intend to file a grade appeal in the next regular term. Assuming the student has satisfied all degree requirements, the degree itself will be placed on hold while the appeal is conducted; during the interim, students may request an official letter of degree completion from the Office of the Registrar for purposes of employment or graduate/professional school admissions. When the appeal is resolved or the dean makes a final decision, the student's degree will be awarded for the term when all requirements were satisfied.
Written verification of each step is critical. Students should keep documentation of submission for each step, whether submission is completed electronically or physically. 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 will the appeal be extended beyond the first regular term.
If at any step the student is satisfied with the response provided or feels the matter has been resolved, they may close the appeal by opting out of the remaining steps.
Step 1 (Student): Students must submit all forms and supporting documentation to the instructor and department head within the first five weeks of the regular term after the term in which the grade was awarded. Additional documentation may not be introduced once the grade appeal is submitted, unless requested by the instructor, department head, or dean.
Step 2 (Instructor): The instructor will respond to the student in writing within two weeks of receiving the appeal*, explaining the grading procedures and how the grade in question was determined as well as other issues raised in the student's statement.
NOTE: If the instructor is not available or does not resolve the matter to the student's satisfaction within a two-week period*, the student may resubmit the appeal to the department head within the following week.
*For grade appeals submitted during the summer term, the instructor will respond within 2 weeks of the start of the fall term.
Step 3 (Department Head): The department head will consider the written statements of the student and instructor, confer with each, and inform both parties of the recommendation in writing within one week of completion of step 2.
The instructor will notify the student and department head of their decision in writing within one week of receiving the department head’s recommendation.
NOTE: If the department head does not act on or resolve this matter to the student's satisfaction within a two-week period, the student may resubmit the appeal to the dean within the following week.
Step 4 (College Dean or Dean’s Designee):
a. Within one week of completion of step 3, the dean will review the student's appeal. At the dean’s sole discretion, the dean may convene a committee to review and make a recommendation.
b. When convened by the dean, a committee of five members will review the case, comprised of one instructor from the department concerned, two instructors from related departments or colleges, and two student council representatives from the college.
The committee will make a written report with recommendations and provide copies to the student, the instructor, the department head, and the dean within two weeks of being convened by the dean.
c. Within one week of receiving the committee recommendation and within 4 weeks of completion of step 3, the dean will make a final decision. The dean has the authority to change the grade, depending on the course grading basis and the basis chosen by the student at registration. The department head, the instructor, the student, and the Office of the Registrar will be notified in writing of the dean's decision.
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