Near Eastern Studies Department

Updated March 2013

Approved August 2014

Instructors in the Department of Near Eastern Studies are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses. If the grading rubric has been used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade. However, students may inquire about a grade and, if they think that their grade has been assigned unfairly, they may subsequently initiate a grade grievance .

To appeal any grade, students must follow these steps:

Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the course instructor.  In a multi-sectioned course, the inquiry should be made to the student’s GSI, who will then consult with the course’s faculty supervisor. This initial inquiry should take place no later than three weeks after the beginning of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

Filing a Grievance

If, after this inquiry, the student disputes the instructor’s response regarding the student’s grade, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance. To start this process, the student should contact the Department Chair before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued, or within five weeks after the submission of a grade that replaces a grade of Incomplete.

To initiate a formal grievance, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the student’s argument that the grade was given in error or determined arbitrarily. This formal complaint should also summarize the outcome of the student’s initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating the matters that remain in dispute. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Chair will then ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the instructor determined the final grade, and responding to the student’s  specific claims.

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Department Chair will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Executive Committee.  If the Chair determines that there is no evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands. If the Chair determines that the grievance can proceed, then a date will be set for a hearing with the Department Executive Committee.

Grade Grievance Hearing

The Department Executive Committee will receive the student’s written complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing; the student and the instructor will receive these documents as well. During the formal hearing, the student will be asked first to present the basis of his or her complaint. The instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined. Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e. the student, the instructor and the Executive Committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

Executive Committee’s Recommendation

The Executive Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation.  If the Executive Committee decides there is no basis for a grade change, the Executive Committee Chair will convey this 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 change in the grade—whether up or down—the instructor will be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Executive Committee Chair, indicating whether or not he or she will abide by the Executive Committee’s recommendation. If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Executive Committee Chair will inform the student in writing of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed. The matter will then be considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Executive 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, as such, cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Executive Committee Chair will convey this decision to the student in writing. The matter is then considered closed.

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