Is it possible for an L&S undergraduate student to appeal a grade?
The following sections address the process for handling student appeals of grading for undergraduate students in L&S.
On occasion, a student may feel that she/he has been assigned a grade unfairly. Each department within Letters & Science should have a standard procedure for reviewing such a disputed grade. Students should also be informed of the appeals process established by the department (e.g., posting a notice of the procedure on the department bulletin board, providing notice in written materials, etc.). The following are recommendations for departments/units on how to handle a grade appeal:
- A student with concerns about a grade should always be referred first to the instructor who assigned the grade.
- A process should be available at the departmental level for a student who is not satisfied with the results after appealing to the instructor.
- Although an appeal may be either written or oral, it is very helpful to have a student focus the complaint and the issues by putting the appeal in writing.
- The student's appeal should then be reviewed by the department. The different types of departmental appeals structures that may be possible are: a) the department chair; b) a small group of members of the executive committee, with or without the Chair as a member; c) a standing committee of the department (e.g., a curriculum committee or an appeals committee); or d) the entire executive committee.
- Instructors should only consider changing a student's final grade if there has been some error in tabulating the final score for the course.
- To maintain fairness and consistency in the grading process, an instructor should not take into consideration a student's past performance in previous classes or the amount of energy a student has put into mastering a subject matter when determining whether or not to alter a student's grade for a class.
- If the chair of a department supports the instructor's decision not to alter the grade, the student's last recourse is to appeal to one of the L&S Associate Deans in the College of Letters & Science based on the discipline of the course in question. For example, if a student is appealing a grade earned in a natural science course (e.g., biology, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, etc.), the student will need to present his/her case to the Associate Dean for Mathematical & Natural Sciences in L&S Administration.
- The decision rendered at the Associate Dean level is final. There are no exceptions to this policy.