Final Grade Appeals

Policy Number: II.08
Policy Level: Operating Policy

Originally Issued: March 13, 2013
Implementation Date: August 19, 2013
Revised: January 27, 2016
Revised:  May 7, 2019

Policy Owner: Provost/ VP for Academic Affairs
Policy Implementation: Provost/VP for Academic Affairs

I. Policy Statement and Purpose

In accordance with Athens State University’s educational mission, this policy establishes the criteria for the appeal of a final course grade at Athens State University. These standards are based on comparable practices at other institutions of higher education, and also recognize the unique status of the University as an upper-division institution.

For the purposes of this policy, “business day” is defined as any day the University is officially open, regardless of whether classes are in session.

Retaliation is a very serious violation of this policy and should be reported immediately. Any attempt to penalize or retaliate in any way against a person bringing, investigating, or cooperating with the appeal of a final grade is prohibited and will be treated as a separate incident to be reviewed on its own merit.

II. Reasons for the Appeal of a Final Grade

Athens State University recognizes the rights and professional responsibilities of faculty members to assign grades based on their professional judgments of student performance. However, the University recognizes that there may be instances where grades are assigned in error or where an error in judgment has occurred.

A student wishing to appeal a final grade must show clear and convincing evidence that:

  • The grade was assigned in error, or;
  • The faculty member did not assign the grade based on the grading policies and course
    requirements published in the course syllabus, or;
  • The faculty member made changes in grading policies or course requirements without due notice and explanation.

Students cannot use this appeal process to review final course grades that are the result of an academic penalty or sanction for an academic violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

III. Procedure for Appeal of a Final Grade

The student must first confer with the faculty member involved to review the grade and attempt to resolve the issues informally.

If a resolution concerning the disputed grade is not achieved informally, the student may appeal to the appropriate department chair provided such appeal is filed in writing within 14 business days of the first day of classes of the academic term immediately following the academic term in which the student took the course associated with the disputed grade. If the department chair is the faculty member who awarded the disputed grade, the appeal will automatically proceed to the Dean of the appropriate College.

The written appeal by the student to the department chair must state the clear and convincing reason(s) for the appeal of the final grade and the desired remedy, and must request a review and appointment for discussion. A copy of the appeal documents will be provided by the department chair to the faculty member involved. The appeal documents will also contribute a part of the record for continued appeals by the student.

The department chair will review the document and discuss the case with the faculty member, and will then schedule and conduct a conference with the student. The chair’s decision on the final grade will be rendered in writing during the conference or no later than 10 business days after the conference. The student, faculty member, Dean, and Provost will receive copies of the chair’s decision.

If a resolution concerning the disputed grade is not achieved at the level of the department chair, the student may appeal to the Dean of the appropriate College within 10 business days of receiving the written response from the department chair. The student will request that the department chair send the appeal documents to the Dean, who, after review with the chair and faculty member as needed, will schedule and conduct a conference with the student. The Dean’s decision on the final grade will be rendered in writing during the conference or no later than 10 business days after the conference. The student, faculty member, chair, and Provost will receive copies of the Dean’s
decision.

If a resolution concerning the disputed grade is not achieved at the level of the College Dean, the student may appeal to the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs within 10 business days of receiving the written response from the College Dean. The student will request that the Dean send the appeal documents to the Provost, who, after review with the Dean, chair, and faculty member as needed, will schedule and conduct a conference with the student. The Provost’s decision on the final grade will be rendered in writing during the conference or no later than 10 business days after the conference. The student, faculty member, chair, and Dean will receive copies of the Provost’s decision. The Provost’s decision on whether a change of grade is warranted is final.

IV. Responsibility for this Operating Policy

Policy Owner

As part of the initial approval of this policy by the President and subsequent to the original dissemination of the policy, the President has assigned the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs as the policy owner for the ongoing evaluation, review, and approval of this policy. Subsequent reviews and revisions to this policy must be in accordance with approved operating policy procedures and processes.

This policy will be reviewed every three years or more frequently as needed by the Policy Owner.  Revisions will be reviewed/affirmed by the Faculty Senate and the Cabinet and approved by the University President.  This policy will be updated/published in the University’s Policy Library.

Responsibility for Policy Implementation

The President has assigned the responsibility of implementing this policy to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.