Southern Polytechnic State University
Policy and Procedure Manual
P&P Number:  304.5
Original Date:  May 1994
Previous Revisions: April 2000
Approved: September 6, 2002
 
Grade Appeals for Courses

Contents This P&P includes the following main sections:
  • Background
  • Deadlines and format
  • Grade appeal process

Background Although grade disagreements often can be handled informally, a formal procedure is needed when a student wants to appeal a grade officially.  Students should only pursue an appeal if they believe they can present clear evidence in writing that a grade was based on criteria other than a fair and impartial evaluation of academic performance.

Deadlines and
Format
Students should discuss grade complaints with faculty as soon as possible.  In any case, a written appeal normally must be received by the faculty member no later than the end of the semester following the semester in which the grade was earned.

A “ten-day rule” applies to all parties.  Under normal circumstances, the person to whom the appeal is submitted should send a written response within ten working days of receiving the appeal.  Also, if a complainant chooses to resubmit an appeal, he or she should send the written appeal and related paperwork within ten days after receiving a response at the previous level.  Exceptions to this rule may occur if face-to-face meetings also are included in the process.

Note:
It is a complainant’s responsibility to ensure that (1) all official appeals are in writing and (2) an official appeal on each level includes copies of all related documents written by all parties up to that point.  The term “complainant” refers to anyone submitting an appeal—student, faculty member, or administrator.


Grade Appeal
Process
Before pursuing a formal appeal, the student should discuss the complaint with the faculty member as soon a possible.  The student then should proceed to talk with the program head, if discussion with the faculty member has not resolved the issue.  If the situation remains unsettled, the procedure below should be followed.
 
Step Procedure Description
1. Appeal to the Faculty Member
  1. The student describes the complaint in a letter to the faculty member who taught the course for which the grade was received, specifying the grounds for the appeal.
  2. If either the student or faculty member wishes, the two parties meet in person after the written appeal has been received by the faculty member.
  3. The faculty member sends a written response to the student.
  4. If either the student or faculty member wishes, the two parties meet in person after the faculty member’s response has been received by the student.
2. Appeal to the Program Head

The student has the right to appeal to the program head.  The procedure follows:

  1. The student describes the complaint in a letter to the head of the program in which the course resides, specifying the grounds for the appeal.
  2. If either the student or program head wishes, the two parties meet in person after the written appeal has been received by the program head.
  3. The program head sends a written response to the student.
  4. If either the student or program head wishes, the two parties meet in person after the program head’s written response has been received by the student.
3. Appeal to the Dean

Both the student and faculty member have the right to appeal to the dean.  The procedure follows:

  1. The complainant describes the complaint in a letter to the dean of the school in which the course resides, specifying the grounds for the appeal.
  2. If either the complainant or dean wishes, the two parties meet in person after the written appeal has been received by the dean.
  3. The dean sends a written response to the complainant.
  4. If either the complainant or dean wishes, the two parties meet in person after the dean’s response has been received by the complainant. 
4. Appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA)

The student, faculty member, and program head have the right to appeal to the VPAA.  The procedure follows:

  1. The complainant describes the complaint in a letter to the VPAA, specifying the grounds for the appeal.
  2. If either the complainant or VPAA wishes, the two parties meet in person after the written appeal has been received by the VPAA
  3. The VPAA sends a written response to the complainant.
  4. If either the complainant or the VPAA wishes, the two parties meet in person after the VPAA’s response has been received by the complainant.
5. Appeal to the President

The student, faculty member, program head, and dean have the right to appeal to the president.  If an appeal is filed, the entire written record of the appeal must be forwarded to the president—as is the case with previous steps in the procedure.

  1. The complainant describes the complaint in a letter to the president, specifying the grounds for the appeal.
  2. The president sends a written response to the complainant.
  3. The president’s decision is final.