Grade Changes

III-C-4. Grade Changes

A grade is final when it is filed with the Registrar. After a grade is final, it may be changed only in the following circumstances:

A.        A grade may be changed upon the written request of the instructor who assigned the grade and with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to correct a mathematical, computational, or clerical error.

B.        Procedures for Review of Alleged Capricious Grading

  1. The following procedures are available only for review of alleged capricious grading. Capricious grading, as that term is used herein, constitutes any of the following: (1) the assignment of a grade to a particular student on some basis other than performance in the course; (2) the assignment of a grade to a particular student by resort to more exacting or demanding standards than were applied to other students registered for the same credit in that course; (3) the assignment of a grade representing a substantial departure from the instructor’s previously announced standards, or (4) the assignment of interim grades during a semester without reasonably timely communication of the grade to the student.
  2. A student who believes that a semester grade is improper and the result of capricious grading may file a complaint with the associate dean within six working weeks after the final semester grade has been received. A late formal complaint is presumptively invalid, unless the Associate Dean determines that there is good cause for the late filing.
  3. The student shall file a complaint by submitting to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs a written statement particularizing the basis for the allegation of capricious grading and presenting any available supporting evidence. Unless the Associate Dean concludes that the complaint presents a colorable claim that is based on plausible allegations and falls within the definition of capricious grading set forth above, the complaint shall be dismissed and no further action taken. In determining whether the complaint presents a colorable claim, the Associate Dean may seek additional information about the situation, including seeking information from the instructor of the course. If the allegation of capricious grading is based on a course taught by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, then this determination shall be made by the Dean or the Dean’s designee.
  4. If the Associate Dean concludes that the complaint presents a colorable claim based on plausible allegations, then the Associate Dean shall submit a copy of the student’s written statement to the instructor of the course with a request that he instructor submit a written response thereto within a week (unless the instructor has already submitted a written response as part of the Associate Dean's initial fact-finding). The Associate Dean shall then submit the complaint and any response to the Grade Appeal Committee (hereinafter the Committee), consisting of three tenured faculty members appointed by the Dean. The instructor whose grade has been questioned cannot serve on the Committee. The Committee shall proceed to hold a fact-finding session concerning the allegations set forth in the appeal. Both the student and the instructor shall be entitled to be present throughout this session and to present any evidence relevant to the manner in which the grade was assigned, including testimony by other persons. Both the student and the instructor shall have an opportunity to question or refute any evidence presented. The confidentiality of all evidence shall be preserved. The session shall not be open to the public.
  5. At the close of the session, the Committee shall deliberate privately. If a majority of the Committee finds the allegation of capricious grading is not supported by clear and convincing evidence, it shall dismiss the appeal. If the Committee finds the allegation of capricious grading to be supported by clear and convincing evidence, the Committee shall proceed to determine the most appropriate remedy. The Committee may direct the instructor to grade the student’s work anew or to give the student a new examination in the course, or may take such other action as will bring about substantial justice in the individual case. However, except in the most extraordinary circumstances, the Committee should not award the student a new grade in the course. The decision of the Committee shall be reported in writing to the student, the instructor, and the faculty. The Committee’s decision is final. Ordinarily, a grade appeal should be heard and decided within 60 days after it is filed.
  6. The Committee is not authorized to reprimand or otherwise take disciplinary action against the instructor. Evidence put before the Committee shall be admissible in any disciplinary proceedings that may thereafter be undertaken against the instructor, but the disciplinary body shall make an independent determination of whether that evidence and any other information before that body constitutes sufficient proof of the conduct charged.

[Note: The procedure above does not contemplate that the instructor, upon receipt of the complaint, could recommend a grade change to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and thus circumvent the Committee hearing.]

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