College Policy on Grade Appeals

  • TO: College of Arts and Sciences Faculty
  • FROM: Todd Gleeson, Dean
  • SUBJECT: College Policy on Grade Appeals
  • DATE: 10 February 2004

One of the fundamental responsibilities of every faculty member in the College is to evaluate the academic performance of our students fairly and conscientiously. The grades our students earn form part of their permanent academic records, and can have far-reaching impacts on their future success in a variety of endeavors. As individual faculty members, and collectively as a College, it is our duty to ensure that these grades are an accurate assessment of performance.

I take the prerogative of faculty members to assign grades very seriously, and I am extremely reluctant to interfere in this basic aspect of our academic lives. At the same time, both the courts and the AAUP have recognized the need for a well-designed appeals process to provide remedies on those rare occasions when grades are assigned in an arbitrary or capricious manner, or when grading is improperly influenced by prejudice or emotion.

College of Arts and Sciences Department/Program Grade Appeal Process

The following shall be the official policy of the academic units of the College, unless an academic unit submits an alternative procedure to the Dean for approval.

When a student believes that a grade has been improperly assigned, and discussions between the instructor and the student have not led to any resolution of the problem,

  1. The student shall have the option of making a formal written appeal to the Department Chair. The appeal must specify the remedy desired by the student, and it must be submitted within 45 days of the end of the academic term in which the course was taken.
  2. The Chair or designee will meet (together or separately) with the student and with the faculty member who taught the course. If the Chair/designee is unable to broker a solution mutually acceptable to both student and instructor, then
  3. The Chair shall appoint an ad hoc Grade Appeals Committee, which will review the dispute. This Committee shall consist of at least three impartial faculty members competent in the subject matter of the course in question. The Chair will provide the Committee with the student’s appeal and a written response from the faculty member.
  4. Within 45 days, the Committee will submit a report and recommendation to the Chair, and the Chair will recommend to the instructor either (1) that the originally assigned grade stand; or (2) that a new grade be assigned.
  5. In cases where a change of grade is recommended and the instructor does not wish to accept the recommendation of his/her colleagues, the Chair shall forward the written materials associated with the appeal to the Dean of the College.