GRADE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
English Department Writing Program-Approved December, 2014
Two principles should be clearly understood as part of the context of any grade grievance:
- A grade given by a faculty member may be changed only by that faculty member (Faculty Code B 5.01). A grade given in a class taught by a teaching assistant may be changed only by the faculty supervisor of the course. Departmental grievance procedures are intended to issue in a recommendation, for or against a change, to the appropriate faculty member.
- While the Department wishes to see demonstrably unfair grades rectified, it will not automatically invoke the full procedure described below for every grievance. For example, a grievance based on the argument that one instructor's grading standards are stricter than those of others will normally not be pursued.
Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are required to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their courses. The expectation is that instructors will evenly apply their grading rubrics to all students. Students may inquire about the accuracy of their final grade if they can provide evidence that the instructor has deviated from previously stated grading standards or applied such standards inconsistently. A student’s belief that an instructor’s grading standards are stricter than those of other instructors does not constitute grounds for grievance.
Within the English Department Writing Program, students who want to inquire about the accuracy of their final grade should pursue the following steps:
- Consultation with Instructor: As a first step, the student should consult with the course instructor. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. After this initial inquiry, if the student continues to dispute the final grade, s/he may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance procedure.
- Formal Complaint to the English Department Grade Grievance Committee: Before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued, the student can initiate a formal grade grievance procedure by sending to the Director of the English Department Writing Program (EDWP) a letter of complaint and copies of all major writing assignments completed for the course. The Director of EDWP will forward these materials to all members of the English Department Grade Grievance Committee. The letter of complaint should include: 1) specific evidence that the grade was given in error or was arbitrarily determined, 2) a summary of the student’s initial consultation with the course instructor, and 3) a summary of aspects of the case that remain in dispute. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Director of EDWP will ask the instructor to explain in writing how the final grade was determined and respond to the specific claims made by the student. The Director will forward the instructor’s response to all members of the English Department Grade Grievance Committee.
- Recommendation from the English Department Grade Grievance Committee: After reviewing materials from both the student and the instructor, the English Department Grade Grievance Committee will recommend either that the grade remain unchanged or that the instructor raise the grade. If the Committee recommends that the grade remain unchanged, the Director of the English Department Writing Program will inform the student in writing and the case will be closed. If the Committee recommends that the grade be changed and the instructor agrees to this change, the Director of the English Department Writing Program will inform the student in writing, the student’s final course grade will be changed, and the case will be closed. If the instructor does not accept the Committee's recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand. By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor, and a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent.
- Grade grievances end at the Department level. There is no appeal beyond the Department. The Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs is available to review the process and ensure that all procedures have been followed.