The purpose of this procedure is to provide a prompt, equitable and efficient method for the resolution of a student grievance related to a final course grade.
The only grounds for appealing a final course grade is a student’s belief that the instructor assigned a grade based on one or more of the following:
- The assignment of a grade on some basis other than the student’s performance in the course.
- The assignment of a grade based on more exacting or demanding standards than were applied to other students in the course.
- The assignment of a grade by a substantial departure from the instructor’s previously announced standards (for example, using criteria not specified in the syllabus).
- The assignment of a grade to a particular student due to a mathematical or clerical error.
Procedure and Timeline
A student should use the steps below when appealing a final course grade. If assistance is required, a student may elect to solicit help from an appropriate advocate (e.g. faculty/staff adviser, peer). More information can also be obtained from the relevant Dean’s Office (Arts & Sciences, Crane, or Education & Professional Studies).
- The student presents their concerns to the faculty member who assigned the grade. It is recommended that a student outline the reasons they are appealing the assigned grade (from the criteria above) in person and in writing via email.
- If an informal resolution cannot be reached, the student then completes a Grade Appeal Form and delivers it to the faculty member who assigned the grade. This form can be obtained from the relevant Dean’s Office or the Student Success Center. The instructor must respond in writing within two weeks of receiving the Grade Appeal Form.
The student must complete Step 1 by the end of week four of the next full academic term (Fall or Spring semester) after the grade was assigned. If, after working directly with the instructor, the student continues to believe they have been graded unfairly, or should the instructor fail to respond, they may continue to the next step in the appeal process.
Step 2: The student presents a formal written letter of appeal to the department or program chair, along with a copy to the course instructor. The formal appeal letter must include the following:
- A statement of the case in detail, outlining the appropriate criteria for the grade appeal
- All information regarding a conference with the course instructor during the Step 1 process, including the Grade Appeal Form
- Identification, indexing, and attachment of all relevant supporting materials
After reading the written appeal, the department or program chair will consult with both the instructor and the student in reaching a decision on the appeal.
The student must complete Step 2 by the end of week seven of the same semester, with a written response from the department or program chair to the student and course instructor within two weeks of receipt of the formal appeal.
Step 3: If the student is not satisfied with the results of the departmental appeal, they may submit the formal written appeal to the relevant dean. The dean may elect to convene a committee to review the case and return a recommendation. Regardless, the dean will make the final decision regarding the appeal.
The student must complete Step 3 by the end of week ten of the same semester. The dean will submit a written decision to the student, course instructor, and department chair within two weeks of receipt of the formal appeal.
If the student fails to meet the deadlines established above, the appeal will be closed unless (a) there is a written agreement by all parties for a delay or (b) if the delay was caused by circumstances beyond the student’s control. If, at any step, the student does not receive a response within the established timeline, they may proceed to the next step in the process for further consideration of the appeal.
Note: Complaints regarding improper procedure and/or timeliness during the appeal process should be addressed to the Office of the Provost.
Other student grievances may be appealed through the same process outlined above, unless covered by other existing appeal procedures. Non-academic matters will be appealed through the appropriate hierarchy of professional staff members within the office(s) associated with the alleged grievance. Students may consult the Dean of Students and/or the Student Success Center with questions about other appeals.