Grade Appeals

Introduction

X22G

The grade appeal system affords recourse to a student who has evidence or believes that evidence exists to show that an inappropriate grade has been assigned as a result of clerical error, personal bias, or arbitrary grading. Grades (for an entire course, assignment, or unit) given by a faculty member (or faculty members, for co-taught courses) after the student is found responsible for an Honor Code violation through the University Honor System may not be appealed.

Keeping in mind that the appeal of a course grade should be attended to as soon as possible, the student must contact the faculty member(s) involved within the first two (2) weeks of the start of fall semester for the appeal of a spring semester or a summer term grade and within the first two (2) weeks of the spring semester for the appeal of a fall semester grade. In the case of a winter term grade, the appeal must be made no later than April 1st of the year in which the course was completed.

In the case of a grade that would affect a senior intending to graduate or that would result in academic probation or suspension, the student should contact the faculty member(s) as soon as possible after the grade is posted, in which case the procedure may be expedited.

If the individual faculty member who taught the course is not available (for example, is on leave or sabbatical, or no longer employed by the university), the appeal should be made to the chair of the faculty member's department.

The language in the process attempts to address the most common instructional arrangements. The standard language refers to disciplinary courses taught by faculty in departments with a chair reporting to a dean.

The policy also recognizes the following cases of interdisciplinary courses: for COR prefix courses, appeals should be made to the Elon Core Curriculum Director; for GBL courses, appeals should be made to the Assistant Dean of Global Education; and for other courses carrying an interdisciplinary program prefix, appeals should be made to the program coordinator. (Hereafter, the term "program head" applies in all of these cases).

If a student is unsure to whom an appeal should be made after contacting the faculty member(s), the academic advisor or department chair/program head can offer guidance.

For some less common instructional arrangements, the standard language in this procedure does not anticipate every consideration: for example, for co-taught courses where faculty members are in different departments or schools, or for courses taught by staff with faculty rank who do not report to a department chair or dean.

In co-taught courses, the appropriate process may depend on whether particular work in question was graded by one or more than one of the faculty members.

Where necessary, the Chair of Academic Council will determine the appropriate adaptation(s) of the process.

 

Procedure for Appealing a Course Grade

X25G

To begin an appeal the student must first request a meeting with the faculty member(s) (or, if unavailable, department chair or program head) to discuss the situation within the time frame outlined above. Because it is the responsibility of the student to demonstrate that the appeal has merit, the student should bring to this meeting any work from the course the student has in his/her/their possession for the faculty member(s) (or department chair/program head) to review. At the meeting the faculty member(s) (or department chair/program head) will:

 

  1. Review any graded work that the student brings to discuss.
  2. Show the student any of the student’s work that remains in the faculty member(s)'s possession (e.g., papers, final examinations and projects).
  3. Explain how the student’s grade was determined based on the standards set forth at the beginning of the class and listed in the course syllabus.
  4. Re-calculate the numerical computation of the grade, if any, to determine if there has been a clerical error.

If the student wishes to continue the appeal following this meeting, the student must file a written appeal with the faculty member(s)'s department chair/program head by the end of the fourth week of the semester, or by April 15th in the case of the appeal of a winter term grade.

If the faculty member(s) is/are unavailable and is/are being represented by the department chair/program head, unreturned graded work may not be available. The burden of retaining and submitting to the department chair/program head the student's copies of previously submitted work rests with the student, who testifies that the work has not been altered or augmented in any way since the original submission.

The student will submit to the department chair/program head the Student Grade Appeal Statement  form together with copies of the course syllabus, tests, assignments, and relevant work in the student’s possession.

The department chair/program head will notify the faculty member(s) involved within two (2) business days, and the faculty member(s) will file the Faculty Grade Appeal Statement  form with the department chair/program head within seven (7) days, or by April 22nd for a winter term grade, together with copies of the syllabus, assignments, and any of the student’s work that remains in the faculty member('s) possession. For co-taught courses, only one Faculty Grade Appeal Statement is submitted; depending on the circumstances of the case, the form may carry one signature or multiple signatures.

The department chair/program head, following consultation with the relevant dean or deans, will render a decision in writing regarding the grade appeal within seven (7) days of receipt of the Faculty Grade Appeal Statement, or by April 29 in the appeal of a winter term grade.

If the department chair or program head is the/a faculty member involved, the written appeal will go to the associate chair (for larger departments with associate chairs) or to the dean of the college or school housing the department of the faculty member's (primary) appointment, who will assume the role of the department chair/program head in the process.

If the student wishes to appeal the department chair’s/program head's decision (or the decision of an associate chair or dean assuming the role of the department chair/program head) to the final hearing body, the student must put that request in writing to the dean within seven (7) days. 

The dean, or a designee, will notify and forward all documentation to the Chair of Academic Council, who will form a grade appeal hearing committee. Recognizing that coordinating student and faculty members' schedules can be challenging, the committee ordinarily should meet no later than the end of the eighth week of the semester, or by May 13 for a winter term grade appeal. For expedited cases involving seniors intending to graduate, or potential academic probation or suspension, the committee may meet earlier.

The Grade Appeal Hearing Committee will consist of:

 

 

a. Three elected members of Academic Council (faculty members or staff with faculty rank), appointed by the Chair of Academic Council.

b. One faculty member (or staff member with faculty rank) appointed by the dean of the department/division involved.

c. One Student Government Association representative appointed by the student government executive president. In the case that the involved student is the student government president, the vice-president shall appoint the student representative.

The Chair of Academic Council will choose the chair of the grade appeal hearing committee from the three Academic Council members serving on the committee.

Grade Appeal Hearing Procedure

X28B

Hearings are restricted to those Elon faculty or staff directly involved in the appeal. The student and the faculty member(s) may both bring an advisor from the Elon University community (currently enrolled student, faculty, or staff member) to the hearing. The advisor may only counsel the student or the faculty member(s) and may not actively participate in or make any statement during the hearing. Recognizing that the grade appeal hearing is an in-house procedure, attorneys, other legal counsel, and any other people outside the University community are not permitted in the hearing. Recognizing that appearances by multiple faculty members in the case of a team-taught course may be perceived as either advantaging or disadvantaging the student making the appeal, depending on the circumstances, the chair of the grad appeal hearing committee will determine whether to include one or more than one faculty member from a co-taught course.

The hearing committee will review all of the documentation received from the dean and then ask the student, faculty member(s) (or representing department chair/program head), and their advisor, if present, to come into the room (or, if unable to be on campus, to join the meeting electronically by audiovisual means). The student and faculty member(s) (or representing department chair/program head) may appear at the same time or separately, at the discretion of the chair of the grade appeal committee, who will consider the circumstances of the case in making this determination. The student and the faculty member(s) will each be allowed to make statements, and the committee members may ask questions of both parties. The student, faculty member(s), and advisors will then be asked to leave the meeting, and the final discussion and simple-majority (three-fifths) vote by the committee will be in closed session.

The decision of the committee is final, and the Chair of Academic Council will send written verification of the committee’s decision to the faculty member(s) and the student, consisting of the appeal record written by the chair of the Grade Appeal Hearing Committee, as specified in Section X29A Elements of a Grade Appeal Hearing Record.

In the case of a grade change, the dean of the school or college, or a designee, will request that the University Registrar make the change. 

 


Elements of a Grade Appeal Hearing Record

X29A

Grade Appeal Record and Record Retention Policy Grade Appeals Ending with the Department Chair's/Program Head's Decision

In cases when a department chair/program head grants a grade appeal or a student does not appeal the chair/head decision, the chair/head would provide the following documentation to the Office of the Provost:

  1. student grade appeal statement
  2. faculty grade appeal statement
  3. department chair/program head decision
  4. and documents associated with the appeal, including copies of student work, emails, or other documents submitted by the student and/or faculty member(s) related to the appeal.

If the department chair/program head requests that the University Registrar make a grade change based on the appeal, that request is placed in the student's academic record for a period specified by the Office of the Registrar's record retention policy.

Grade Appeal Hearings

At the conclusion of a grade appeal hearing, the chair of the Grade Appeal Hearing Committee will submit to the Office of the Provost, the appeal record specified below. The Chair of Academic Council, after notification of the committee decision, by the Chair of the Grade Appeal Committee, will submit a copy of the notification to the Office of the Provost for inclusion in the Grade Appeal record. The Office of the Provost will retain the grade appeal for a period of seven years.

The appropriate Dean will request that the University Registrar make a grade change based on the committee decision, and that request is placed in the student's academic record for a period specified by the Office of the Registrar's record retention policy.

Elements of a Grade Appeal Hearing Record

The grade appeal record consists of the following:

  1. student grade appeal statement
  2. faculty grade appeal statement
  3. department chair/program head's decision
  4. student request to the dean to appeal the department chair's/program head's decision
  5. documents associated with the appeal, including copies of student work, emails, or other documents submitted by the student and/or faculty member(s) related to the appeal
  6. summary of the hearing, including date of the hearing, names of the hearing board members, individuals attending the hearing, summary of the hearing/grade appeal, and the decision of the committee
  7. and Academic Council Chair notification of the committee decision sent to the student and faculty member(s)

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