Grade Appeals

Grade Appeal Policy
The purpose of the Grade Appeal Policy is to provide the student with a safeguard against receiving an unfair final grade, while respecting the academic responsibility of the instructor. Thus, this procedure recognizes that,
  • Every student has a right to receive a grade assigned upon a fair evaluation that is not arbitrary, prejudiced or based on error; and,
  • Instructors have the right to assign a grade based on any method that is professionally acceptable, submitted in writing to all students, and applied equally.
Instructors have the responsibility to provide careful evaluation and timely assignment of appropriate grades. Course grading methods should be explained in a written syllabus to students at the beginning of the term and supplemented as necessary by written directions for specific assignments and projects. Cazenovia College presumes that the judgment of the instructor of record is authoritative and the final grades assigned are correct.
 
A student has a right to expect a thoughtful and clearly defined approach to grading, but it must be recognized that varied standards and individual approaches to grading are valid. The grade appeal considers whether a grade was determined in a fair and appropriate manner; it does not attempt to grade or re-grade individual assignments or projects. It is incumbent on the student to substantiate the claim that his or her final grade represents unfair treatment, compared to the standard applied to other students. Only the final course grade may be appealed. In the absence of compelling reasons, such as error, prejudice, or arbitrariness, the grade assigned by the instructor of record is to be considered final.
In a grade appeal, only arbitrariness, prejudice, and/or error will be considered as legitimate grounds for an appeal.
Arbitrariness: The grade awarded represents such a substantial departure from accepted academic norms as to demonstrate that the instructor did not actually exercise professional judgment.
Prejudice: The grade awarded was motivated by ill will, and is not indicative of the student’s academic performance.
Error: The instructor made a mistake in fact.
A grade appeal shall be confined to charges of arbitrariness, prejudice or error affecting an individual student and may not involve a challenge of an instructor’s grading standard. It would be unethical to change a grade for any reason not related to quality of the student’s academic work. Grades cannot be appealed simply to receive or maintain a scholarship, fellowship, or any other monetary award or recognition of distinction, such as the Dean’s List or other honors designations; to be eligible for a club or organization; to maintain athletic eligibility; or to maintain a certain level of academic standing.
 
This grade appeal procedure applies only when a student initiates a grade appeal and not when the instructor decides to change a grade on his or her own initiative. This procedure does not cover instances in which students have been assigned grades based on academic dishonesty or academic misconduct, which are included in Cazenovia College’s Academic Honesty Policy.
The Grade Appeal Procedure strives to resolve a disagreement between student and instructor concerning the assignment of a grade in a collegial manner. The intent is to provide a mechanism for the informal discussion of differences of opinion, and for the formal adjudication by faculty only when necessary. In all instances, students who believe that an appropriate grade has not been assigned must first seek to resolve the matter informally with the instructor of record. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, the student must present his or her case in a timely fashion in the procedure outlined below.
 
Under normal circumstances, the student must initiate the grade appeal process by the end of the first week[1] of the regular academic term following the term in which the disputed grade was received. Under unusual circumstances, deadlines may be extended. If the college representative, at any step, fails to review and/or respond within the time limits provided, the student may proceed to the next step. If the student fails to respond within the time limits provided, the appeal shall be deemed to have been withdrawn.
 
PROCEDURE:
Grade appeals will be reviewed in the following manner.
 
Step One. An informal discussion will be held between the student and instructor of the course.  This discussion should review the grading standards for the course as well as how the student’s course work was evaluated using those standards.  If the student is not satisfied with the informal response provided by the instructor, he/she may proceed to Step Two.
 
Step Two. A written petition will be submitted by the student to the instructor of the class. This petition should include an account of the nature of the problem, relevant information which supports the appeal, and the remedy sought. The student should retain a copy for his/her records. Within two weeks, the instructor will respond to the student in writing. If the student is not satisfied with the response provided by the instructor, he/she may proceed to Step Three. In cases where the Division Chair is the faculty member whose grade is being appealed, the student shall proceed to Step Three.
 
Step Three. If a student wishes to proceed to this step, its initiation must begin within 3 business days of the completion of Step Two.  A written petition will be submitted by the student to the appropriate Division Chair with a copy to the instructor. This petition should include an account of the nature of the problem, a statement that an attempt was made to resolve this issue directly with the instructor, relevant information which supports the appeal, and the remedy sought. The student should retain a copy for his/her records. The Division Chair will convene a College Grade Appeals Committee, consisting of the Division Chair, the Program Director and one other faculty member, which shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Division Chair. The manner of appointment and number of members on the College Grade Appeals Committee shall be determined by the Division Chair. The Division Chair will serve as the chairperson of the College Grade Appeals Committee. Within two weeks, the Division Chair will respond to the student in writing, the results of the College Grade Appeals Committee’s response, with a copy to the instructor of the class. If the student is not satisfied with the response provided by the Division Chair, he/she may proceed to Step Four.
 
Step Four.  If a student wishes to proceed to this step, its initiation must begin within 3 business days of the completion of Step Three.  A written petition will be submitted by the student to the Vice President for Academic Affairs with copies to the Division Chair and instructor of the class. This petition should include an account of the nature of the problem, a statement that an attempt was made to resolve this issue directly with both the instructor and the Division Chair, all relevant information which supports the appeal, and the remedy sought. The student should retain a copy for his/her records. Copies of all materials presented in this matter shall be forwarded to the Vice President, upon request, by the Division Chair. The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall be communicated in writing to the student with copies to the instructor and Division Chair. This decision is final.

[1] A week consists of five normal college operating days when classes are held.