Grade Appeal Process
It is up to each instructor to determine the criteria by which students will be graded. Grading can be a subjective process in which knowledge of class material and the quality of work are both factored into the grade. To facilitate the success of all students, it is appropriate that they be clearly informed about the number of graded assignments and the weight attached to each assignment. If more specific criteria for grades can be explained, it is appropriate that such explanations are included in the syllabus or other course materials. It is also appropriate for students to be informed if class attendance and participation will be calculated in the final grade. Faculty may provide work for extra credit but are under no obligation to do so.
Standard Procedure for Appeals of Grades and Sanctions
It is understood that students may have questions about their grades. Most can easily be answered through consultation with the instructor. In the event that a student feels he/she has been treated unfairly, in that an instructor has deviated from his/her prescribed formula for grading in an arbitrary or punitive manner, the student may appeal the final course grade.
The following timetable and grade appeal process shall be used whenever the student disagrees with a final course grade assigned, except in cases that involve the determination of guilt for an act of academic misconduct that was reported through the Academic Misconduct Notification Form (available to instructors via WebAdvisor). In such cases, the policies and procedures outlined in the “Academic Integrity and Misconduct” section of this catalog will apply. Any cases involving alleged acts of academic misconduct that have not been reported through this form are to be governed by the procedures listed in the second to last bullet below. Students who have admitted academic misconduct, or who have been found guilty of committing academic misconduct by an Academic Integrity Council hearing panel, will need to follow the entire process below if they feel the instructor's penalty for the misconduct was not assessed and applied in accordance with the instructor's stated syllabus policies and therefore lowered their final grade unfairly.
Appeals cannot normally be made unless a student has first discussed his/her concerns with the instructor. This conference should take place within three business days of the student being notified of the final course grade that has been or will be assigned, unless unforeseen and extenuating circumstances beyond the student's control warrant an extension. The student must be able to document such extenuating circumstances if requested by the instructor. If the university is closed for holiday break within this three-day window, the student and instructor must meet to confer no later than three business days after the beginning of the following semester.
If the concerns remain unresolved after the conference with the instructor, the student must inform the instructor in writing within three business days of the conference that he/she is dissatisfied with the results of the conference. The student may then appeal the instructor's decision to the appropriate Division Chair. If the academic unit in which the course is taught is not part of a division, or if the instructor in question is also the Division Chair, the student should direct the appeal to the College Dean. In the case that the grade in question was assigned by an adjunct member of the faculty, the appeal must also be made directly to the appropriate Division Chair or College Dean.
The student’s appeal to the Division Chair or Dean must be formally submitted in writing, clearly stating and documenting the evidence for unfair, arbitrary or unwarranted treatment and must be submitted within three business days of the student's written notification to the instructor that the issue remains unresolved. The concerned faculty member (or adjunct) may at this time submit a formal written response to the student’s appeal to the Division Chair/Dean, and the student must also receive a copy of this response. The Division Chair/College Dean shall confer jointly with both the student and the concerned faculty member (or adjunct, if available) within five business days of receiving the written appeal. All relevant written documentation from both the student and the professor must be submitted to the Division Chair/Dean in advance of this meeting.
If the student's concern is still unresolved after the conference with the Division Chair/Dean and faculty member or if the instructor (or adjunct, if available), disagrees with the decision of the Division Chair/Dean, the Division Chair/Dean shall within five business days form an appeals review committee of four faculty members from within the Division/College (tenured, if possible) to review the work in question and one faculty member (tenured, if possible) from the Committee on Academic Standards, who comes from outside the Division/College, to ensure that both the student and faculty member are fairly treated. All relevant written documentation previously submitted to the Division Chair/Dean must be provided to the committee at the time the committee is formed.
Within ten business days, the committee must review the case via a face-to-face meeting and issue its final recommendation. The student must receive written notice of the time and date that the committee will meet and must be informed that he/she has the opportunity to appear at this meeting and to speak on his/her own behalf. The faculty member must also be informed of this meeting, and may also opt to appear before the review committee. If both the faculty member and the student opt to meet with the committee, the committee must ensure that the faculty member and the student appear separately. No “new” evidence/documentation (beyond what was previously submitted to the Division Chair/Dean) is to be submitted to the committee by either the student or the professor. The committee may either recommend the grade remain unchanged from the instructor's decision or recommend the grade be changed to a value the committee deems appropriate for the case. In cases where the committee rules that the student should receive a penalty resulting in a grade of "F" for a course, the student may not withdraw or be withdrawn from the course at any time.
The committee's recommendation then must be issued to the Chief Academic Officer, the Division Chair/College Dean, the instructor, and the student in writing along with an explanation of the rationale for the recommendation. It is the responsibility of the Chief Academic Officer to see that the recommendation is carried out. If a semester/term ends without the process reaching a final resolution, the process should continue at the beginning of the next semester at the point that was reached at the conclusion of the previous semester. In this case, the grade assigned for the course will be recorded as "NG" (no grade) on the student's official transcript, without prejudice, until the case is resolved.
In the event that an instructor has penalized a student in some way for an act of academic misconduct, but failed to report the incident through the Academic Misconduct Notification Form (required in JU’s Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy), the student may challenge this penalty by reporting this violation of university policy to the instructor’s dean within 30 days after the final course grade has been issued. If the instructor’s dean is able to verify that no Academic Misconduct Notification Form was filed at the time the incident occurred, such penalties are to be automatically reversed.
If the Division or College does not follow the procedures outlined above, then the student or instructor may appeal directly to the Chief Academic Officer. This appeal must be in writing and must clearly demonstrate how the procedures contained in this Grade Appeal Process were violated. The Chief Academic Officer is to determine whether proper procedures have been followed. In the event that they have not been followed, any recommendation or decision may be declared null and void and sent back to the Division or College for reexamination. The final disposition of the case must be reported to both the instructor and the student prior to the issuance of the grade.