Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS)

Updated and Approved March 2012

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: 1) deviated from previously stated grading standards, 2) applied such standards inconsistently, 3) failed to take into full consideration all graded components of a course, or 4) assigned a grade based on criteria other than performance in the course.  A student’s belief that an instructor’s grading standards are stricter than those of other instructors normally does not constitute grounds for grievance.

Within the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, students who want to inquire about the accuracy of their final grade should pursue the following steps:

1) Consultation with Instructor:

As a first step, the student should consult with the lead instructor of the course. 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. 

2) Formal Complaint to Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS):

To initiate a formal grade grievance procedure, the student should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) 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 must convey in writing the basis for the complaint.  This written 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 the aspects of the case that remain in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the DUS will ask the instructor to provide a written summary explaining how the final grade was determined and respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the DUS will determine whether to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the DUS determines that there is no evidence to support a grade grievance, the matter will be considered closed and the original grade will stand.  If the DUS determines that the grade grievance should proceed, s/he will set a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee. 

3) Grade Grievance Committee Hearing:

For undergraduate students, the DAAS Grade Grievance Committee will consist of the Director of Undergraduate Studies and two faculty members of the Curriculum Committee.  For graduate students, the DAAS Grade Grievance Committee will consist of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Associate Director of DAAS, and one faculty member of the Curriculum Committee.  If the instructor in question is a member of the DAAS Grade Grievance Committee, s/he will be excused and another member of the Curriculum Committee will serve as substitute.

Before the Grade Grievance Committee convenes, both the student and the instructor will receive copies of the student’s written complaint and the instructor’s written response.  During the formal hearing, the student will first present the basis of his or her complaint.  The instructor will then explain how s/he determined the student’s final grade.  After an open period of discussion among the student, the instructor, and members of the Grade Grievance Committee, the hearing will be adjourned.  

4) Recommendation from Grade Grievance Committee:

The Grade Grievance Committee will have ten University business days to determine its recommendation. 

If the committee decides that there is no basis for a grade change, the DUS will convey this fact in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter will be considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the DUS will ask the instructor to respond in writing within five University business days indicating whether or not s/he will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the DUS will inform the student in writing, the student’s final course grade will be changed, and the matter will be considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  The DUS will inform the student in writing and the matter will be considered closed.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor, and a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent.  

5) Consultation with the Office of Student Academic Affairs:

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 for consultation and review of the process to ensure that all procedures have been followed.

 


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