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Grade Queries

There is no more fundamental relationship in an academic program than that of the instructor and student. The Faculty and its academic officers work to support and to sustain a meaningful and productive instructor-student relationship to secure the educational aims of the College and of the members of its Faculty. Clearly the relationship is not one between equals, and this is most clearly evident when the instructor must assign a grade for the work required of, or expected of, a student.

General Provisions: On occasion a student may believe that a grade assigned is incorrect. Indeed it is possible that a mistake can be made in reporting a grade. The student has the right to initiate a discussion with the instructor to determine that the grade given is in fact correct. If a mistake has been made, the instructor changes the grade and, if it is necessary, requests the Office of Academic Affairs, to change a grade that has been officially entered on a student’s final grade report. In the event that, after consulting with the instructor, the student is not satisfied that a grade has been assigned fairly, the student may write an explanation of why he or she believes the grade assigned is not justified. The student gives this statement to the instructor who may decide that the explanation warrants a reconsideration of the grade assigned. If the instructor decides not to change the assigned grade and discussion with the student does not result in the student’s agreement with this decision, the instructor will ask the department chair to review the procedures for determining grades in the course, the student’s request, and the instructor’s response to it. The faculty member provides a written statement to the department chair about why the original grade is valid.

Should the chair of the department determine that no lapse in procedure has occurred and that full attention has been given to the explanation by the instructor, the matter is closed. The chair of the department communicates this to the student and the instructor.

Should the chair of the department determine that the procedure was not properly followed or that additional attention to the explanation is warranted, the chair discusses the situation with the instructor. The chair may also obtain additional evaluations of the student’s work that promises a constructive response to instructor and the student. These evaluations will be requested from colleagues within the Faculty whose knowledge and expertise are appropriate to a review of the student’s work. Having completed this additional evaluation, the chair’s determination about the grade closes the matter. The chair of the department communicates this to the student and the instructor.
Special provisions:

  • Time-limits: If the grade on a particular piece of work during a semester is questioned, the appeal for reconsideration must be made within four weeks of the receipt of the grade. The period of time during which appeals of final grades can be made expires at the end of the fourth week of the semester following the posting of the grade.
  • Substitutes for the department chair: In the event that appeals for reconsideration of grades involves grades assigned by a chair of a department, then the procedure outlined here will be conducted by the senior member of the department, or the next senior member of the department in the event that the chair is the senior member.
  • Claims of discrimination: The provisions outlined above are meant to apply to situations in which appeals for reconsideration of grades are made by students. There can be circumstances in which a student’s complaint involves a belief that he or she has been discriminated against because of the practices in managing a course. The Vice President for Academic Affairs is the administrative officer to receive any such complaint. It may be that the Vice President for Academic Affairs will ask that the general provisions above be followed in an investigation of possible discrimination.