A-20-1 Grade Appeal Procedure

The following procedures are available only for review of allegedly capricious grading, and not for review of the judgment of an instructor in assessing the quality of a student's work nor for setting the standards of performance for a course. Definitions:

  1. Capricious grading, as that term is used herein, is limited to one or more of the following:
    1. The assignment of a grade to a particular student on some demonstrable basis other than performance in the course;
    2. The assignment of a grade to a particular student by more exacting or demanding standards than were applied to other students in that section;
    3. The assignment of a grade by a substantial departure from the instructor's announced standards and requirements (normally announced in the course syllabus).
  2. Grade Appeal Committee: The Grade Appeal Committee will consist of three full-time faculty members, one of whom is also a department chair. The members will be appointed by the COCC Academic Affairs Committee, which will also appoint the chair of the Grade Appeal Committee. To maintain the confidentiality of the hearing, only the Vice President for Instruction, Committee members, the instructor, and the student may be present at the proceedings. If a Committee member is unable to serve, perhaps due to involvement in the specific case being heard, the Vice President will appoint a substitute for that particular case. Committee members must be present at all hearings in order to vote following deliberations.

Timeline:

The grade appeal must be initiated within the first three (3) weeks of the quarter immediately following the quarter in which the grade was assigned. (Exception: Grade appeals resulting from Spring Term will be initiated within the first three (3) weeks of Fall Term). Written notice of intent to appeal must be given to the Department Chair by the end of the third week of the quarter, and the formal written appeal must be received by the Vice President for Instruction by the end of the fourth week of the quarter. Responsibility:

The student has the job of writing the formal appeal and the burden of proof in the appeal lies with the student. Procedure:

  1. After receiving a final grade, which the student feels, is unwarranted, he/she should consult immediately with the instructor. Most grading errors are unintentional and can be resolved by clarification with the instructor.
  2. If the concern is not satisfied at this level (or if the instructor is unavailable), the student should meet with the Chair of the Department in which the course is offered. The Department Chair will consult with both the student and the instructor (either separately or together) in an informal attempt to reach a resolution. (If the instructor also serves as the Department Chair, the student should consult the Vice President for Instruction at this stage.)
  3. If a resolution has not been reached by the end of the third week of the quarter, the student should give the Department Chair written notice of intent to file a grade appeal.
  4. By the end of the third week of the quarter (following the one in which the grade was given), or by the end of the fourth week of the quarter if written notice of intent to appeal has been submitted to the Department Chair by the end of the third week, the student who has completed the above steps may file a formal written grade appeal with the Vice President for Instruction. The formal grade appeal must state in detail the basis for the appeal, the evidence in support of the appeal, and the steps, which were taken in an attempt to resolve the matter. Supporting documents (such as course syllabus or student work, if relevant) may be attached.
  5. If the Vice President for Instruction recommends further review of the Appeal, he/she will refer the appeal (within two working days of its receipt) to the Grade Appeal Committee.
  6. Within two weeks after receipt of the appeal, the Grade Appeal Committee will hold a hearing, complete deliberations, and submit a recommendation to the Vice President. Following the conclusion of the hearing, the Committee will deliberate privately and prepare a written recommendation to the Vice President for Instruction. The recommendation will be either to let the grade stand or to change it. If the recommendation is to change the grade, the recommended grade will be stated. The recommendation will include a brief summary of the facts of the hearing and the reasons for the Committee's decision.
  7. Within two working days following receipt of the Committee's recommendation, the Vice President for Instruction will decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation and will provide a written statement of the decision to the Committee, the Chair, the faculty member, and the student. The decision of the Vice President for Instruction is final.