The following sections address the process for handling student appeals of grading for undergraduate students earning their degrees in the College of Letters & Science (L&S). Non L&S students taking L&S courses should contact the academic dean in their school/college about grade appeal procedures.
On occasion, a student may feel that s/he has been assigned a grade unfairly. Any student interested in appealing a grade must first begin with the instructor who evaluated the student's work. If the instructor for the course(s) in question is not willing to alter the grade based on all the information the instructor has at his/her disposal, the next step in the appeal process is for the student to appeal to the chair of the department/unit where the grade was received.
- Instructors will (and should) only consider changing a student's final grade if there has been some error in tabulating the final grade for the course.
- To maintain fairness in the grading process, instructors 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 to alter a student's grade for a course.
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. Students should appeal as soon as possible and no later than one semester after the grade has been award.
- A process should be available at the departmental level for a student who is not satisfied with the results after appealing to the instructor. If an appeals process does not exist, the student should approach the chair of the department for further assistance. The chair will then work with their department to come up with a system to address the appeal.
- 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.
- Appeal of final grades must be initiated within the semester/term immediately following the term in which the course is taken.