Students who believe they have received an unfair grade in an English Language Institute (ELI) course are encouraged to discuss the issue with their instructor in an effort to resolve the issue. Such discussion should take place as soon as practical following receipt of the grade. Discussion between the student and the instructor regarding a grade does not necessarily constitute a step in the grievance process. The student and the instructor may reach a resolution that is acceptable to them both without launching a formal grievance process. If such mutually satisfactory resolution is not reached, students have the right to file a grievance and should follow the procedures described below.
- The student must first contact the instructor who assigned the grade and explain the particular grievance within two weeks of the beginning of the term following the semester when the grade was given. The instructor should respond to the student within 2 weeks of receiving the student’s complaint and schedule a meeting with the student if necessary. If the grade disagreement is not resolved, the student may file a formal grievance.
- To grieve a grade, the student must file a written appeal and submit it to the ELI Grade Grievance Committee, addressed to the ELI Director. This letter must be received no later than two weeks following the instructor’s response in Step 1. If the ELI Director is the instructor in question, the letter should be addressed to the Director of the Instructional Division. The student must clearly explain the nature of the dispute and attach copies of all relevant graded materials. The instructor will receive a copy of the letter and will have the opportunity to respond.
The ELI Grade Grievance Committee will consider the appeal and the instructor’s response at the next meeting after the letter is received. The student and instructor have the option of appearing before the Committee and may appear without the other being present if they so request.
- If the Committee judges the original grade to have been reasonable, a statement shall be drafted stating that an appeal had been made and outlining the reasons for the rejection of the appeal.
- If the Committee recommends that the grade be changed, a document will be drafted stating the reasons for the recommendation and specifying the recommended new grade. The Committee will then determine whether the instructor is willing to change the grade, or if some alternative action is acceptable. If these efforts fail, the Committee will state its findings in a letter that is placed in the ELI’s grievance file, and in the instructor’s and student’s files. The student will also receive a copy of the letter.
- The Committee will notify the student in writing of the final decision. At this point, there shall be no further hearing of the matter within the English Language Institute.
The ELI wishes to see a demonstrably unfair grade changed and provides through review by a faculty committee, a procedure for grade review. Nevertheless, the ELI believes that the instructor of the course is the most qualified person to assess the student’s work. The review committee does not share the instructor’s familiarity with the subject matter of the course, nor does it know the range of excellence of students in the class. While the review committee may recommend that the instructor change the grade, our procedures conform to the traditional policy that confers responsibility for assignment of a grade on the instructor of the course.
Grievances must be based on substantive grounds, and the burden of proof in challenging a grade rests on the student. Normally a student must provide evidence that the grade is not consistent with the stated grading procedure, fails to give full consideration to all graded material, or otherwise deviates from previously stated standards. Because there is some imprecision in grading, the difference between an A and an A-, for instance, should not become a matter for grievance. In cases where there is reasonable doubt, the grade assigned by the instructor will be maintained.
Revised June 2011
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