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The assignment of grades for academic work is an important matter which falls within the professional responsibility of each individual faculty member. Grades are determined in such a way as to reflect as accurately as possible student performance according to criteria available to the student and to protect the academic freedom both of the faculty member and the student. There is an inherently subjective element to grading, but it does not follow from this that grading is done in an arbitrary fashion.
A student may dispute a grade given in or for a course. When this occurs, the student should follow the appeal procedure outlined below. The faculty member issuing the grade has final authority and responsibility for determining that grade.
- Within two weeks of the time the questioned grade is received, the student should talk to the faculty member who assigned the grade and attempt to resolve the issue.
- If the course is team taught and no resolution is achieved, the student may request, where course policy permits, a second faculty opinion from another section leader in the course selected by the director of the course. If this is permissible and the opinion of the second leader differs from the opinion of the first in the disputed grade, the course syllabus or past practice in the course should specify how these different opinions are resolved. Where there are recognized past practices, these should be included in the course syllabus.
- If no resolution of the grade dispute is achieved after steps 1 or 2, the student should discuss the matter with the department chairperson or course director. In this case, the function of the chairperson or director is to attempt to determine the relevant facts and mediate the disagreement.
- If no resolution is achieved at step 3, the matter may be referred by the student or the faculty member to the Provost, whose function it is to mediate the disagreement. The Provost will confer privately with the faculty member and the student and may call additional witnesses. Following this process, the faculty member communicates to the student the final decision. This step is the final step in the appeal process.
- It is expected that a final decision will be made within four weeks of the time the questioned grade is received. All parties are requested to adhere to the deadlines.