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4.1.20 Final Course Grade Challenge Policy

A. Policy

A student may challenge a final course grade if the student has a reasonable belief the grade was assigned in an arbitrary or capricious manner and is unable to resolve his or her concerns with the faculty member who assigned the grade  (Evaluation of students and award of credit must be based on professionally judged academic performance and not on matters irrelevant to that performance, as detailed in Policy 3.3.12A Faculty Responsibilities to Student, in particular items 5 and 6; Policy 4.1.6 Grading Practice; and Policy 1.1 the Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Statement and Policy).  This policy applies only to final course grades and does not apply to course work, mid-terms or other grades awarded during a semester.  Qualifying and comprehensive examinations and defense of theses or dissertations during the progression toward the graduate degree are handled under the Graduate School Policies.

Before filing a challenge under this policy, the student must discuss his or her concerns with the faculty member and make every effort to resolve the situation. Faculty members must carefully consider the student’s concerns and make a reasonable effort to resolve the issues raised by the student.

A student may only challenge a final course grade under this policy, if the student has discussed the concern with the faculty member and can demonstrate that the grade was awarded in an arbitrary or capricious manner. For purposes of this policy, arbitrary or capricious means (a) the assignment of a final course grade was made on a basis other than the student’s academic performance in the course, (b) the assignment of a final course grade was based on standards that differ unreasonably from the standards applied to other students in the course, or (c) the assignment of a final course grade was made in a manner that substantially or unreasonably departed from the instructor's articulated standards.  This policy will not be used to review the judgment of an instructor in assessing the quality of a student's work, to require another faculty member to re-grade or re-examine a student's work, or to allege cases involving violations of academic integrity.

B. Procedure

1.  If after discussion with the faculty member the student believes, in good faith, that the grade is arbitrary or capricious, or if there is an inability to reach the faculty member, the student may challenge the grade by sending a letter to the department chair no later than 10 business days after the start of the academic semester following the semester for which the grade was awarded.  This letter must (a) identify the course, program, semester, and faculty member that awarded the grade; (b) state the basis of the challenge, including all the facts relevant to the challenge and the reasons the student believes the grade is arbitrary or capricious; (c) indicate the date(s) the student consulted with the faculty member regarding his or her concern(s) and summarize the outcome of those discussions(s); and (d) attach any supporting documentation the student believes should be considered in the challenge, including the syllabus. If the allegation of arbitrary or capricious grading involves issues related to OEOA concerns, a review can be initiated by the student or a referral can be made at any stage of the process (See Policy 1.1). 

2.  Upon receiving a written challenge to a final course grade, the chair shall forward a copy of the challenge to the faculty member who assigned the grade.  The faculty member then has 10 business days from receipt of the challenge to provide a written response.  The student will receive a copy of the faculty member's response; however, any information that would violate the privacy rights of other individuals will not be released to the student.

3.  The chair will review the submissions and, if necessary, investigate to determine if the grade was arbitrary or capricious based on the definition outlined in this policy.  A written decision will be issued to both parties within 10 business days.

4.  Both parties have a right to appeal the chair's decision by filing a written appeal within 5 business days to the Office of the Provost in writing.  The written appeal should state the basis for the appeal and attach all relevant written documentation.

5.  The Provost shall have a standing committee designated as The Final Course Grade Committee which consists of five members (three faculty members and two students) appointed by the Provost (or designee).  The students would be recommended to the Provost by the SGA.  Care shall be taken that no member of the committee knows either party in the complaint.  The Final Course Grade Committee will review the submissions and may, at the Committee's discretion, decide to hear statements from the parties.  Following deliberations, the Committee will issue a recommendation to the Provost (or designee) indicating:  1) whether the Committee finds the grade to be arbitrary or capricious and 2) the Committee's recommendations for the disposition of the appeal.  The Committee recommendation will be issued within 5 business days of the Committee's decision.

6.  The Provost (or designee) will review the Committee recommendation and render a final decision in writing to the student, the faculty member, and the chair within 5 business days of receipt of the Committee recommendation.  The Provost's decision shall be final without further appeal.

This policy supersedes any provisions in the Code of Student Conduct.

Policy Owner:  Office of the Provost

Contact:  Office of the Provost (309-438-7018)

Created on:  04/2012


2023-01-20T13:14:31.232132-08:00 2023