183.2 Grade Appeals

Created by: Dana Trebing on 05/16/2003
Category: 1 - Academic Affairs; 80 - Procedures
 
Originator: Academic Policies Committee
Current File: 183.2
Adoption Date: 12/07/2009
Reviewed for Currency: 12/07/2009
 
Replaces File: 183.2
Date of Origin: 05/19/1981
 
Classification: Faculty
 
In Archive? 0


183.2 Grade Appeals

 

A. Background

In order to provide reasonable protection of the right and responsibility of the faculty member to assign a final grade in a course and to provide a uniform appeal procedure for students to follow when they believe that the assignment of a grade was incorrect, the University provides a specific appeal process which is designed to protect the rights and the responsibilities of the faculty member and the student.

 

B. Policy

Under extraordinary circumstances, students may appeal final grades in courses according to the procedure specified in the guidelines below.

 

C. Guidelines

1. All grade appeals must be initiated no later than the end of the second regular semester following the completion of the course for which the grade appeal is being made. Faculty should keep all unreturned papers, tests, and examinations for a period of two regular semesters as required by Policy 128.5. Once a student notifies a faculty member of an appeal, all unreturned papers, tests, and examinations should be retained until the appeal process is formally resolved.

2. The first level of appeal for a student who is dissatisfied with a final grade he or she has received is to the professor assigning the grade. In a direct, personal interview, the student should explain the basis of his or her dissatisfaction, and the professor should explain the basis for his or her grade. Only after such an interview will any higher appeal be accepted. If the instructor concludes that a mistake was made in determining or recording the grade in question, he or she may proceed to request a change of grade in accordance with the procedures outlined in File 183.1. If the instructor concludes that no mistake was made, the student may accept that conclusion or may proceed as outlined in the following guidelines. The instructor must render a decision within two weeks of the interview. (The only exception to this stage of the procedure is stated in Guideline 6 below.)

3. If dissatisfied with the instructor's explanation of the assigned grade, the student will have two weeks to prepare a written statement that will be submitted to the chair of the instructor's department. The statement shall explain the reason for dissatisfaction with the assigned grade and the specific changes the student regards as fair and desirable. Upon receipt of written notification from the student, the department chair may request that the instructor submit a written explanation of his or her decision regarding the grade. The burden of proof lies upon the student in such a case to show that a mistake was made or that the grade given was "arbitrary and capricious, irrational, made in bad faith or contrary to Constitution or statute" (Susan M. v. New York Law School, 556 N.Y.S. 2nd 1104. Court of Appeals of New York, 1990). When, in the opinion of the department chairperson, the student fails to show reasonable cause for further investigation, the chairperson may deny the appeal without taking further action. If the instructor with whom the student has a disagreement is also the department chairperson, the student should submit the written statement not to the chairperson but to the Associate Academic Dean who will make the decision about further action. In such a case, the Associate Academic Dean may request that the instructor submit a written explanation of his or her decision regarding the grade. In all cases, a copy of the student's written statement will be made available to the instructor. If the instructor provides a written statement, a copy of that statement will be made available to the student. The department chairperson (or the Associate Academic Dean, as the case may be) is required to render a decision within thirty days of receiving the student's written statement.

4. When, in the opinion of the department chairperson (or Associate Academic Dean as specified in C.3), a student's appeal raises reasonable doubt as to whether a mistake was made or whether the grade given was "arbitrary and capricious, irrational, made in bad faith or contrary to Constitution or statute," the chairperson (or Associate Academic Dean) will appoint a committee of three faculty members considered most competent to adjudicate the matter. Where possible, the student appealing and the professor who assigned the grade should be consulted regarding members chosen for this committee. The student's written statement and the instructor's written statement, if any, will be made available to this committee. If the committee decides unanimously that an error was made or that the grade given was "arbitrary and capricious, irrational, made in bad faith or contrary to Constitution or statute," the committee shall recommend to the instructor a specific grade change. If the instructor refuses to accept the recommendation, the committee will submit to the Dean of the Faculty a written report explaining its decision and recommending a specific grade change. A copy of the committee's report will be made available to the instructor. If the instructor believes that the committee has not properly followed the guidelines of this policy, the instructor may also submit to the Dean of the Faculty a written report explaining the alleged violations of the policy. The Dean will examine the report(s) and, if the Dean determines that the guidelines of this policy have been properly followed, the Dean will make an administrative grade change. The new grade shall be the grade recommended by the faculty committee. If the Dean finds evidence that the guidelines of this policy have been violated, the Dean will appoint a new committee according to the procedure specified above. If a faculty committee appointed under the provisions of this policy denies the student's appeal, the student may accept the decision or pursue further appeals.

5. Any student who has exhausted the remedies open to him or her under the procedures outlined above may appeal the entire matter to the Appeals Committee. The student should be advised that the Appeals Committee will not alter a grade under these circumstances, but if the student can show compelling evidence that the spirit of due process and the procedures outlined above have been violated, the Committee may recommend that the instructor re-examine the student on the course material, that the department of the instructor review the case and consider appointing a faculty committee of three to hear the case if none was previously appointed, or that the Dean of the Faculty review the case and consider appointing a new faculty committee to hear the case according to the guidelines of C.4.

6. If the grade appeal involves an allegation of unethical conduct, the student may appeal directly to the Dean of the Faculty. If the Dean finds insufficient evidence to support the allegation, the student may still appeal the grade according to the process outlined above. If the Dean determines that the instructor is guilty of unethical conduct and that such conduct affected the grade of the student appealing, then the Dean shall ask the instructor's department chairperson to consult with department members and to recommend the grade change they consider appropriate. If the allegation of unethical conduct involves the department chairperson, the Associate Academic Dean will consult with the department members and recommend the grade change they consider appropriate. The Dean of the Faculty will make an administrative grade change consistent with the recommendation of the instructor's department.

7. Any changes of grades resulting from any of these procedures should be reported to the instructor and to the Dean of the Faculty for information.

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