Academic Affairs

Student Concerns About Courses & Grades

Appeals Process

Procedure for Resolving a Student's Concern About an Individual Course or About Departmental Policies:

The DUS is often the liaison between students and members of the departmental faculty. Students may bring their general concerns or questions about the conduct of classes, mode and effectiveness of teaching and examination, and grading to the DUS. The DUS may answer the question or satisfactorily explain the situation that evokes the student's concern. Most often, the DUS first refers the student to the instructor.

Grade Appeals Procedure:

A student who questions a final grade received in a course should first discuss the matter with the instructor within thirty days of receiving the grade. The student should be made aware of the official faculty grade change policy that restricts a grade change to correction of calculation or transcription errors (“changes cannot be based on the late submission of required work, the resubmission of work previously judged unsatisfactory, or on additional work," Faculty Handbook). After meeting with the instructor, if the student still believes the instructor has assigned an inaccurate or unjustified grade, the student should discuss the matter with the DUS. If no satisfactory resolution is reached, the student may make a formal complaint to the DUS of the department or program concerned.

What constitutes the formal appeal process has been left up to each department, but might include a formal letter written by the student, outlining her or his case, documents from the course indicating grading policies (e.g., a syllabus), a letter from the instructor stating the course grade policy and the rationale for the student’s grade, and any other material that will help clarify the case.

The DUS will present the case to the Chair of the department or program Director, and the two of them will review it with the instructor involved. If the Chair or the DUS agrees with the instructor that there are no legitimate grounds for which to change the grade, the grade stands as recorded. If the DUS and Chair believe there are grounds to consider a change and the instructor is unwilling to change the grade, the DUS will notify the student that he or she may request a review of the case by writing to the Dean of Arts and Sciences or the Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering, depending on which college or school offered the course in question. A written request must be submitted by the student before the end of the drop-add period of the semester following that for which the instructor recorded the grade. (A departmental recommendation to the student that he or she take the case on to the Dean would be made only in egregious instances, for example, clearly demonstrated negligence on the part of the instructor or a breach of “contract” in the grading policy set out by the instructor at the beginning of the term.)

The Dean will review the case and decide whether there are grounds to convene an ad hoc Committee for Review of Grade. If the Dean decides there are no grounds then the grade is not changed. If the Dean decides that there are grounds to proceed, the Dean will charge and convene an ad hoc Committee for Review of Grade. The committee shall consist of the Dean and two regular rank faculty mem nominated by the appropriate faculty council, either the Executive Committee of the Arts and Sciences Council or the Engineering Faculty Council. This committee will then evaluate and review the case, and the Dean may initiate a grade change if that is the recommendation of the committee.

It would be helpful if DUSs would remind instructors that they should always clearly note grading policies on their syllabi and keep a copy of each student’s final examination (and possibly examples of other work) for one year.bers from the same division but not the same department (or from different departments in Pratt School of Engineering). The two faculty members of the committee are to be