3.17.14 Grade Appeal Policy

Students have the right to ask instructors for an explanation of any grade received. Students may submit a formal grade appeal when they believe that a final grade is unfair, arbitrary, or capricious. However, the student bears the burden of proving that there are sufficient grounds for changing a grade. The appeal process will meet the usual criteria of due process for both students and faculty.

Grade Appeals Criteria

A student may appeal a final course grade on the grounds that:

  • The methods or criteria for evaluating academic performance as stated in the course syllabus or communicated by the instructor at the beginning of the course were not actually applied in determining the final grade.
  • The instructor applied grading criteria unfairly.
  • The evaluation of academic performance so exceeded the reasonable limits of the instructor's discretion as not to be acceptable to the instructor's peers.

Grade Appeals Procedure

Attempt Resolution

  • The student should discuss concerns about a final grade with his/her instructor by making a formal appointment with the instructor.
  • The instructor is expected to discuss the grade with the student (only if the instructor is no longer employed at the college or is otherwise unavailable, may the student proceed with the appeal process without discussing the matter with the instructor).
  • After meeting with the student, the instructor may decide to change the disputed grade by submitting a change of grade form to the Registrar's Office.

Formal Grade Appeal

  1. Written Appeal: If the matter is not resolved through discussions with the instructor, the student may initiate the formal grade appeal process by submitting a written request to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The formal grade appeal process must be initiated within six weeks of the semester ending in which the disputed grade was issued.
    • The request must contain a statement of the problem, description of attempts to resolve the matter, relevant information and documentation, and the resolution sought.
  2. Grade Appeal Committee: The Grade Appeal Committee will be convened under the following circumstances:
    • Associate Dean of Academic Affairs refers the dispute to committee after reviewing.
    • If the student disagrees with Associate Dean of Academic Affairs review, the student may submit a written request for review by committee (the student must make a written request for review within ten business days of receipt of Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (written response).

The Faculty Association will designate seven faculty members to comprise a "pool" of faculty to serve on the Grade Appeal Committee annually. Three faculty members will serve on the committee at a time. The instructor whose grade is being appealed may not serve on the committee reviewing the dispute. The Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs will convene the committee but will not participate in the proceedings.

The Grade Appeal Committee will review the case within ten business days of accepting the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs referral or the student's written request. The committee will select a chair, follow due process, and reach a decision by a majority vote.

The Grade Appeal Committee will reach one of three decisions:

  • Appeal settled by consent: The committee reaches a resolution that is mutually acceptable to the student and instructor who issued the grade. If the acceptable conciliation involves a change of grade, the instructor will submit a change of grade form.
  • Appeal affirmed: The committee recommends a change of grade to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, who implements the recommendation and notifies the instructor and student of the decision.
  • Appeal denied: The committee recommends the original grade stands to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, who notifies the instructor and student of the decision.

Decisions reached by the Grade Appeal Committee and implemented by the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs are final and binding on all parties.

Timelines

Under unusual circumstances, timelines for proceeding with the grade appeal process may be extended. If the college administrator fails to review or respond within the time limits provided, the student may proceed to the next step of the process. If the student fails to respond within the time limits provided, the appeal shall be deemed withdrawn.

Approved by: ATCC Leadership Council
Effective Date: 12/11/06
Last Date Revised: 11/06/06