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Grade Appeals

Fair assessment of student learning is the responsibility of every faculty member at Stevenson University. The final assessment of each student’s learning is reported as a course grade to the Office of the Registrar. Every faculty member seeks to assign grades that reflect each student’s overall performance in the course. However, a student may appeal a grade in accordance with this Policy.

Grounds for Appeal

Grade appeals are not permitted when the student simply disagrees with the considered academic judgment of the faculty member about the grade that should be issued. The student must establish that the grade should be changed because the grade:

1.   is not consistent with specific procedures or standards established for the course;

2.   is a result of a calculation error;

3.   was assigned for inappropriate reasons; or

4.   was assigned in an arbitrary and capricious manner.

When a student appeals a final grade, the student has the burden to establish that the grade should be changed, and this burden applies to each of the steps set forth below. A student is not permitted to pursue a grade appeal for a final course grade that reflects a sanction for academic misconduct.

Procedures for Appealing a Course Grade

These formal procedures apply to situations in which a student wishes to challenge the final grade assigned

for a course, and they are intended to provide fairness to all parties. Only final course grades may be appealed. The forms referred to in this procedure are available on WebXpress under the Forms menu for students. Grade appeal response forms used by the faculty and other administrators are located on the Registrar’s Office portal page under the “Faculty” tab.

Step 1: Grade Appeal to the Instructor

A.  Within seven (7) calendar days following the posting of final course grades by the Registrar’s Office, the student must complete the Grade Appeal 1 – STUDENT form and submit it electronically to the faculty member for the course for which grade the appeal is being made, with a copy to the Registrar and the appropriate academic administrator. A photograph of the form is not acceptable. The appropriate academic administrator is understood to be the Program Coordinator (PC), Department Chair (DC), Associate Dean (AD), or School Dean (SD) (referred to as “Supervisor”) who oversees the course in which the grade is being challenged. The student shall state the grounds for the appeal, and shall provide any documents or other information in support of the appeal.

B.  Within seven (7) calendar days of receiving the Grade Appeal 1 – STUDENT form, the faculty member must communicate with the student, consider the merits of the appeal, and render a decision to uphold or modify the final grade. The faculty member must communicate his or her decision to the student, the Registrar’s Office, and the Supervisor using the Grade Appeal 1 – FACULTY form, and include the materials provided by the student in Grade Appeal 1.

Step 2: Appeal to the Supervisor

A.  If the Grade Appeal 1 results in a faculty member’s decision to uphold the grade, the student may submit a Grade Appeal 2 – STUDENT form to the faculty member’s Supervisor within seven (7) calendar days of the student’s receipt of the faculty member’s written decision.

B.  In situations where the immediate supervisor is a Program Coordinator who reports to an Associate Dean, the Program Coordinator shall forward the appeal to the Associate Dean within two (2) calendar days of receiving the form from the student. Where a supervisor is unavailable or absent, the School Dean may designate an individual to act in place of the Supervisor.

C.  Within seven (7) calendar days of receiving the Grade Appeal 2 – STUDENT form, the Supervisor (or other individual under section B above) must communicate with the student, consider the merits of the appeal, and render a decision to uphold or modify the final grade. The Supervisor (or other individual under section B above) must communicate his or her decision to the student, the faculty member, and the Registrar’s Office using the Grade Appeal 2 – ACADEMIC ADMINISTRATOR form.

Step 3: Appeal to the School Dean

A.  If the appeal is not resolved at Step 2, then the student may submit a Grade Appeal 3 – STUDENT form to the appropriate School Dean within seven (7) calendar days of receiving the Supervisor’s decision. The appropriate School Dean is understood to be the Dean who oversees the department of the course in which the grade is being challenged. In situations where there is no School Dean or where the School Dean is unavailable, the Appeal will be to the person designated by the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs to handle such appeals on behalf of the School Dean (that designee is referred to herein as the School Dean).

B.  Within seven (7) calendar days of receiving the Grade Appeal 3 – STUDENT form, the School Dean may communicate with the student and/or the faculty member and/or the Supervisor, consider the merits of the appeal, and render a decision to uphold or modify the final grade. The School Dean shall communicate his or her decision to the student, the faculty member, the Supervisor, and the Registrar’s Office using the Grade Appeal 3 – DEAN form.

C.  The decision of the School Dean on a grade appeal is the final decision of the University on the matter.

Time Periods

The School Dean (or the person serving in that role during a vacancy or absence) shall have the authority toextend the time periods in this policy in their discretion when they believes it is reasonable to do so due to unforeseen circumstances or due to events such as inclement weather, University schedule issues, serious illness, or vacancy in position. A calendar day includes any days such as a holiday or when the University is closed.

(Approved October 2019)

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