Grade Appeal and Change Procedures

Appeal Expectations and Conditions

A grade appeal only applies to the final course grade. The assignment of a grade is the sole right and responsibility of the instructor, reflecting his or her careful and deliberate judgment. Assigned grades are presumed to be correct. Students have the right to appeal a grade assigned in error or perceived as prejudiced, arbitrary, or capricious. In a grade appeal, the appropriate instructional division dean will meet only with the student and the instructor. No other advocate may be present. The student is responsible for knowing and initiating the grade appeal process; the burden of proof rests on the student. The student must file a grade appeal with the appropriate division dean as indicated below within the academic quarter following the quarter for which the grade was received. Documented extenuating circumstances (such as medical complications or recall to military duty) may extend this timeline. Students needing assistance with the appeal process due to a disability or language barrier should contact the Director of Student Development before beginning the process.

Grade Appeal Process

Students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic progress and following course procedures established by their instructors. The purpose of the grade appeal is to recognize faculty authority in the grading process while protecting students from possibly erroneous, prejudiced, arbitrary, or capricious academic evaluation. All attempts to resolve grade disputes must originate between the student and the instructor.

  1. The student must first meet with the instructor who assigned the grade. The instructor will explain the rationale for awarding the grade. The student is responsible for demonstrating grade error or that arbitrary or capricious assignment of the final course grade occurred.
    1. If the student can provide evidence of multiple attempts to contact the instructor without a response, the student may bring that evidence to the Dean and request to skip step one.
  2. If the result of the student’s meeting with the instructor does not produce a satisfactory resolution of the student request, the student may appeal in writing (including a rationale for the appeal, date of meeting with faculty member, and all supporting documentation) to the appropriate division dean. If the grade appeal is due to academic dishonesty, the student may elect to follow this process or request review by the Honor Code Panel. If the appeal is being heard by the dean, he/she will:
    1. Send the written student appeal to the faculty member requesting the faculty member’s written response and documentation supporting the grade decision
    2. Send the faculty member’s written response and documentation to the student and inquire if this now resolves the situation:
      1. If yes, the process ends
      2. If no, the dean follows steps c-f below
    3. Meet with the student
    4. Meet with the instructor
    5. Review the course materials, any supporting documentation provided by the instructor and/or the student, and the grade assigned
    6. Render a written decision (including a brief rationale) to deny, approve, or modify the appeal within 15 business days of the initial request for a grade appeal. (This timeline may be extended if all parties are informed in writing).

      Full procedures and forms are available online.

      The decision of the dean is final.

  3. In the case of a grade appeal when the college no longer employs the course instructor or the instructor is unavailable for an extended period of time, the student may appeal in writing (including a rationale for the appeal) to the appropriate division dean. The dean will first attempt to contact and work with the instructor who is no longer employed or unavailable and follow the process in part two above. If the dean is unsuccessful, the dean will:
    1. Convene a two-person faculty reading committee to consider the appeal. To the extent possible, committee members will be members of the original instructor’s program or department, or have expertise in the appropriate field of study or a closely related field. The reading committee will:
      1. Review course materials, including evaluation criteria, and the student’s work
      2. Make a recommendation to the dean to deny, approve, or modify the appeal.
      3. Complete its work within 15 business days of the initial request for a grade appeal.
    2. Review the reading committee’s work and render a written decision (including a brief rationale) to deny, approve, or modify the appeal within five business days (this timeline may be extended if all parties are informed in writing).

      The decision of the dean is final.

Grade Change

After grades have been posted to the student transcript, they can only be changed for the following reasons: a) to correct an error in the calculation of the grade: b) to take into account additional work done to remove an Incomplete grade; c) as the result of a student grade appeal; or d) due to academic dishonesty.

A grade change form must be completed and submitted by the faculty of record for the class to the Enrollment Services before a grade change becomes official. Grade changes, not including grades under appeal, must be completed within one quarter following the end of the quarter that the class was officially scheduled. Incomplete grades must be made up no later than one quarter after the quarter in which the grade was given excluding summer. If the grade is not made up within this time period, the grade shall be a 0.0 (F) or a grade assigned by the instructor.

Academic Dishonesty Program Dismissal/Appeal and Final Grade Appeal

The decision to remove a student from any instructional program due to academic dishonesty, or the decision to take other non-disciplinary actions based on allegations of academic dishonesty, may be made by the dean (or associate dean if there is one overseeing the program). The notice of program dismissal or other non-disciplinary actions will be in writing, provided to the student within 2 business days of the decision, and will include:

  1. Language from college or program specific handbooks/procedures/policies stating the prohibited behavior and possible consequences.
  2. A description of the incident and evidence used to make the decision.
  3. A description of the decision including any time limits and referral to the student conduct process if applicable.
  4. Rights of the student to appeal the decision and process to do so.

Student Appeal of Academic Dishonesty Program Dismissal or Final Grade

Students may appeal program dismissal, final grades and/or other non-disciplinary action(s) related to academic dishonesty to the honor code panel. The student must submit a written appeal within 21 calendar days after notice was served. The student’s appeal should be delivered to the Vice President of Instruction and must include a rationale for the appeal.

Honor Code Panel

As needed, the Vice President of Instruction will convene an Honor Code Panel to hear student appeals of program dismissals, final grades and other non-disciplinary actions due to academic dishonesty. The Panel will consist of:

  1. Two (2) faculty who are not:
    1. Instructors in the student’s program of study, and
    2. Current, previous, or (likely) future instructors of the student, and
    3. Connected to the tenure committee (if applicable) of the faculty involved in the student’s case
  2. One (1) administrator

The appointed administrator will chair the Honor Code Panel and schedule a hearing within 15 business days after the college receives the student’s appeal. The date and time of the hearing will be provided in writing to the student and the dean, associate dean, or faculty member (in the case of a grade appeal) at least seven (7) days in advance of the hearing.

The dean, associate dean, or faculty member, and the student must provide the Honor Code Panel chair with copies of all evidence that will be presented to the Honor Code Panel at least four (4) business days in advance of the hearing. The chair will provide copies of all materials to all parties and Panel members at least two (2) business days in advance of the hearing. The chair will advise the faculty members on the panel and assure the process is followed.

The Honor Code Panel will:

  1. Review the evidence provided in advance.
  2. Schedule a hearing to review arguments.
  3. Hear any additional arguments the accused student may wish to present at the scheduled hearing.
  4. Hear any additional arguments the dean, associate dean, or faculty member may wish to present at the scheduled hearing.
  5. Make a determination whether to uphold or reverse the initial decision. In order to reverse a grade decision of a faculty member, the two faculty representatives on the panel must agree to do so unanimously.
  6. Forward the recorded hearing, and its written findings, conclusions, and recommendation to the Vice President of Instruction. This must occur within seven (7) business days of the hearing.
  7. Send a copy of the written findings, conclusions, and recommendation to the student, and the dean, associate dean, or faculty member. This must occur within seven (7) business days of the hearing.

The student, and the dean, associate dean, or faculty member may each submit a written response to the Vice President of Instruction within 10 days of the date the panel issues its recommendation.  The Vice President of Instruction will review all materials and render a final decision within 15 business days.

The decision of the Vice President of Instruction is final.

If the allegation of academic dishonesty also results in disciplinary charges under the student conduct code, the Vice President of Instruction or designee will forward any final findings related to academic dishonesty to the student conduct officer.

Grievances, Appeals and Complaints

Grievances and Appeals of College Actions

  1. Students may appeal or grieve a college action (excluding grades, academic dishonesty and student conduct decisions) by filing a written notice of appeal with the appropriate vice president or executive cabinet leader.
    1. Appeals must be filed with twenty-one (21) days of notice of the college action. Documented extenuating circumstances (such as medical complications or recall to military duty) may extend this timeframe.
    2. Failure to timely file a notice of appeal constitutes a waiver of the right to appeal and the college action shall be deemed final.
    3. The grievance shall be filed with the Vice President of Instruction regarding academic actions, with the Vice President of Administrative Services for administrative and business service issues, and with the Vice President of Student Services for other student matters. Other executive cabinet leaders that may receive appeals include the Executive Director of Human Resources, the Director of Marketing and Communications, the Director of Institutional Research and Grants, and the Director of the Foundation.
  2. The notice of appeal must include a brief statement explaining why the student is seeking review of the action.
  3. The parties to an appeal shall be the student and the college employee who initiated the college action.
  4. A student who timely appeals a college action has a right to a prompt, fair, and impartial review of the matter.
  5. On appeal, the college bears the burden of establishing the evidentiary facts underlying the college action based on a preponderance of the evidence.
  6. From the date of receipt of the appeal, the vice president or other executive cabinet leader has 15 business days to render a written decision to both parties. The brief written statement will minimally contain the reasons for the decision. This decision is final.
  7. This procedure does not apply to:
    1. Grade appeals which are described separately above.
    2. Student Conduct decisions which are described separately below.
    3. Academic dishonesty matters heard by the dean or honor code panel, as set forth above.
  8. Please file your written grievance online.

Student Conduct Appeals

Students may appeal a disciplinary action by filing a written notice of appeal within twenty-one (21) days of service of the conduct decision. Failure to timely file a notice of appeal constitutes a waiver of the right to appeal and the student conduct officer’s decision shall be deemed final.

Full procedures are available in the Student Handbook.

Equal Opportunity and Title IX Complains

Students should direct complaints to the college’s Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator