Administrative Services

File Code: PRO.GRADEAPP.POL
Approved: 01/10/05
Revised: 05/04/05
Approved by: President

Policy on Grade Appeals

  1. Preamble
  2. Undergraduate and Graduate Grade Appeal Procedure, Step One: Informal Resolution
  3. Undergraduate and Graduate Grade Appeal Procedure, Step Two: Formal Hearings
  4. Interpretations and Exceptions
  5. Download Grade Appeal form (PDF)

Preamble

The purpose of the Grade Appeal Policy is to assure that grades represent a fair and consistent evaluation of student performance. At each level of the process it is the responsibility of the adjudicating body to determine whether the grade assigned was determined in a fair and appropriate manner; it is not in its province to grade or re-grade individual assignments. Faculty should determine appropriate evaluation criteria in each course, should inform students of those criteria in writing at the beginning of the course, and should determine the extent to which each student has met those criteria.

Arbitrarily assigning a grade or determining a priori that a percentage of a class will receive a specific grade are two examples of grading procedures which are inimical to academic responsibility and to the rights of the individual. Because students may seek redress against arbitrary or capricious evaluations through the procedures indicated in the following paragraphs, faculty must keep adequate records. For example, examinations, homework assignments, etc. will be kept by the faculty member until the end of the grade appeal procedure period.

In cases where the grade appeal is based on a complaint involving sexual harassment or harassment based on race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, or veteran status (please refer to Western Illinois University Anti-Harassment Policy at http://www.wiu.edu/policies/harassment.php), the deadline for filing the formal appeal and other subsequent deadlines will not apply. In such cases, the Grade Appeal Committee will refer the student to the Affirmative Action Officer before proceeding further. Once this officer has acted on the validity of the complaint, the matter will be referred back to the Departmental Grade Appeal Committee for adjudication.

  1. Undergraduate and Graduate Grade Appeal Procedure, Step One: Informal Resolution
    It is the responsibility of any student wishing to pursue an academic grade appeal involving a faculty member to discuss the matter privately with the professor involved by the end of the second week of the regular semester (Fall or Spring) following the term in which the student received the grade in question. Grade appeal hearings are normally heard during the Fall/Spring semester unless all parties agree to an earlier hearing. In the event the student is unable to contact the professor by the beginning of the third week of the regular semester (Fall or Spring), the student should contact the Department Chairperson in order to set up a meeting with the faculty member (or to meet with the Department Chairperson if the faculty member is no longer on campus).

    If concerns remain after meeting with the faculty member, students must within five working days:
    1. write a letter to the faculty member (or to the appropriate Department Chairperson if the faculty member is no longer on campus) requesting an appeal of their grade in the course; and
    2. provide the following information in the letter: name, mailing and email address, and student identification number; course number, title and section; semester and year taken; instructor's name, and a clear statement of the grade change requested and reason that justifies the request. (Students must use the Formal Grade Appeal form.)
  2. The faculty member, upon receipt of a student's written request for a grade change, will review his/her records. If it is determined that a student's request is justified, the faculty member will prepare a Grade Change Authorization and notify the student in writing of the change of grade within five working days.

    If the faculty member (or Department Chairperson) denies the student's request, the letter from the faculty member indicating the denial must include a statement that the student has the right to contact the Department Chairperson for a formal Grade Appeal Form. Faculty members must notify students within five working days of their decision to deny the request, with a copy to the Department Chairperson.

    The Formal Grade Appeal form , which constitutes a written request for a formal hearing under section II (below), must be submitted to the Department Chairperson no later than the end of the fourth week of the regular semester (Fall or Spring) following the term in which the student received the grade in question. The Department Chairperson will then transmit the completed form to the Departmental Grade Appeal Committee.

  3. Undergraduate and Graduate Grade Appeal Procedure, Step Two: Formal Hearings
    1. Constitution of Grade Appeal Committees:
      Each academic department and college within the University will establish a Grade Appeal Committee whose sole responsibility is to assure that grades represent a fair and consistent evaluation of student performance in accordance with the procedures outlined below.

      Faculty members and students should be aware of potential conflicts of interest and excuse themselves from service. If the impartiality of a committee member is questioned, the committee itself must reach a decision as to the continuance of the individual so questioned. If a member is disqualified, another individual from the same constituency will be appointed to serve in his or her place. Department Chairpersons and administrators (Assistant Dean, Associate Dean, Dean, etc.) of any college will not serve on any grade appeal committee.
      1. Department Grade Appeal Committee
        Each department will establish a standing Grade Appeal Committee comprised of an odd number of members. If the Grade Appeal Committee consists of the minimum of three members, then one member must be a student who was not in the course from which the grade appeal originates and is not currently a student in any course taught by the faculty member being appealed. (If the case involves an undergraduate student, then the student representative must be an undergraduate student. If the case involves a graduate student, then the student representative must be a graduate student.) If the committee consists of more than three faculty members, then the committee must have two student members who were not in the course from which the grade appeal originates and are not currently in any course taught by the faculty member being appealed. Department Chairpersons will notify each faculty member on the Grade Appeal Committee of the first meeting at the beginning of the semester, before a grade appeal is filed. At this meeting, the chairperson of the Grade Appeal Committee will be elected by the members of that committee.
      2. College Grade Appeal Committee
        The College Grade Appeal Committee will consist of five persons: two voting students selected according to the criteria for Department Committees and three voting faculty members appointed by the Dean from the chairpersons of Department Grade Appeal Committees (or their designees) within the College but not from the academic department from which the grade appeal originates. The chairperson will be appointed by the Dean of the College.
      3. University Grade Appeal Committee
        The Council on Admission, Graduation, and Academic Standards will serve as the grade appeal committee for undergraduate students at the University level. The Graduate Council will serve as the grade appeal committee for graduate students at the University level.
    2. Procedures for All Committees
      Within five working days following the receipt of a student's written request to appeal a grade, the appropriate Grade Appeal Committee will arrange a hearing. All hearings (department, college, and university) will be held on the Macomb campus for Macomb students and by CODEC for the WIU Quad-Cities Campus, unless the committee decides otherwise.

      At least five working days in advance of any hearing, the Chairperson of the Committee will notify the student and the faculty member involved of the time and place of the hearing, the specification(s) of the complaint (including any written documentation provided by the student or faculty member), and the right of the individual to be accompanied by an advisor, but not legal counsel. Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate the class schedules of students and the faculty member when setting committee meetings and hearings.

      One advisor for the student and one for the faculty member may be present when evidence is presented to the committee. Advisors are not allowed to ask questions or present material and cannot serve as witnesses. All committee hearings will be confidential; witnesses will be excluded except for the period of their questioning. All participants will conduct themselves in a professional and collegial manner. Anyone failing to comply with this requirement can be excluded for the remainder of the hearing.

      Approval or disapproval of an appeal and recommendations for specific action shall be determined by majority vote of those present on a secret ballot. A written report of the proceedings will be prepared by the Chairperson of the Committee and submitted to the members for their approval. This report should include the basis for appeal, conclusions reached by the committee, and a report of the voting which reflects the majority and minority points of view.
    3. Formal Hearings
      1. Department Level Hearing
        The Department Grade Appeal Committee will consider the facts of the case at a meeting which should be attended by the student (with an advisor of the student's choice, if he or she so desires) and the instructor assigning the grade. Either party may submit written materials to support his or her position, and either party may have witnesses testify in writing or before the committee.

        All appeals at the department level will be completed within 20 working days after the submission of the Formal Grade Appeal form. Within five working days after the departmental hearing, the chairperson of the Departmental Committee must inform the faculty member, student, chairperson of the department, and (for record-keeping purposes) either the Council on Admission, Graduation, and Academic Standards (if the case involves an undergraduate student) or the Graduate Council (if the case involves a graduate student) of the decision in writing.

        If the student's appeal is upheld, within five working days after the Departmental hearing, the faculty member must inform the Chairperson of the Committee in writing as to whether or not he or she will change the grade. The Chairperson of the Committee must then inform the student and the chairperson of the department in writing of the faculty member's decision within five working days. If the faculty member fails to reply within the specified time limit, it will be assumed that he or she has decided not to change the grade. If that is the case, or if either the student or faculty member does not agree with the recommendation of the Grade Appeal Committee, the Chairperson must inform both parties, in writing, of their right to appeal the decision to the College Level. If the faculty member does not change the grade, then the student must request in writing that the appeal be forwarded to the College level.

        In cases where the faculty member does not become a party in the proceedings and the Departmental Grade Appeal Committee makes a decision in favor of the student, the grade will be changed. The Chairperson of the Committee will submit a change of grade form and indicate that the change is due to a successful grade appeal.
      2. College Level Hearing
        If the result of the decision of the Department Grade Appeal Committee is unsatisfactory to either party, that person will have the right to appeal to the Dean of the College in which the department involved is located. The written appeal must be filed with the Dean's Office within 20 working days after the Chairperson of the Department Committee has notified the student of the faculty member's decision not to change the grade. The Chairperson of the Department Committee will forward the committee's report and all written material considered by the Committee to the Dean's Office upon being notified by the Dean that there will be an appeal at the College level. This material will also be sent to both the faculty member and student involved with the grade appeal hearing.

        A College hearing will be held within 10 working days after receiving the appeal, using the same procedures provided for at the department level. The College Committee will also include in its deliberations the written report of the Departmental Grade Appeal Committee and any other written materials forwarded to the Dean from the Chairperson of that Committee.

        Within five working days after the College hearing, the Chairperson of the Committee must inform the faculty member, student, chairperson of the department, and (for record-keeping purposes) either the Council on Admission, Graduation, and Academic Standards (when the case involves an undergraduate student) or the Graduate Council (if the case involves a graduate student) of the decision in writing.

        If the student's appeal is upheld, within five working days the faculty member must inform the chairperson of the College Committee in writing as to whether or not he or she will change the grade.

        The Chairperson of the Committee must then inform the student and the chairperson of the department in writing of the faculty member's decision within five working days. If the faculty member fails to reply within the specified time limit, it will be assumed that he or she has decided not to change the grade. If that is the case, or if either the student or faculty member does not agree with the recommendation of the College Grade Appeal Committee, the Chairperson must inform both parties, in writing, of their right to appeal the decision to either the Council on Admission, Graduation, and Academic Standards (if the case involves an undergraduate student) or the Graduate Council (if the case involves a graduate student). If the faculty member does not change the grade, then the student must request in writing that the appeal be forwarded to the University level.

        In cases where the faculty member does not become a party in the proceedings and the College Grade Appeal Committee makes a decision in favor of the student, the grade will be changed. The Chairperson of the Committee will submit a change of grade form and indicate that the change is due to a successful grade appeal.
      3. University Level Hearing
        1. Undergraduate Student
          If the decision of the College Grade Appeal Committee is unsatisfactory to either the undergraduate student or the faculty member, that person will have the right to appeal to the Council on Admission, Graduation, and Academic Standards (CAGAS). The written appeal must be filed with the chairperson of CAGAS within 10 working days after the Chairperson of the College Grade Appeal Committee has notified the student of the faculty member's decision not to change the grade. The Chairperson of the College Grade Appeal Committee will forward all reports and written materials received by the College Grade Appeal Committee to the chairperson of CAGAS upon being notified that there will be an appeal.

          The Chairperson of the Council shall review the case and shall then appoint a sub-committee of the Council to review the case and bring a recommendation to the Council. The subcommittee may request additional information and/or hear from both parties involved. The Council shall decide whether or not to approve the student's appeal. No member of CAGAS from the department in which the appeal originated may participate in the deliberations or vote on the case.

          The Chairperson of CAGAS will then inform the student, faculty member, chairperson of the department, and Dean of the College in writing of the decision. If CAGAS finds for the student, the grade will be changed. A student who has been restored to good academic standing as a consequence of a successful grade appeal will be eligible to re-enroll in the University for the semester immediately following the resolution of the case.
        2. University Level Hearing-- Graduate Student
          If the decision of the College Grade Appeal Committee is unsatisfactory to either the graduate student or the faculty member, that person will have the right to appeal to the Graduate Council. The written appeal must be filed with the Chairperson of the Graduate Council within 10 working days after the Chairperson of the College Grade Appeal Committee has notified the student of the faculty member's decision not to change the grade. The Chairperson of the College Grade Appeal Committee will forward all reports and written materials receivedby the College Grade Appeal Committee to the Chairperson of the Graduate Council upon being notified that there will be an appeal.

          The Chairperson of the Graduate Council shall review the case and shall then appoint a sub-committee of the Graduate Council to review the case and bring a recommendation to the Council. The subcommittee may request additional information and/or hear from both parties involved. The Graduate Council shall decide whether or not to approve the appeal. No member of the Graduate Council from the department in which the appeal originated may participate in the deliberations or vote on the case.

          The Chairperson of the Graduate Council will then inform the graduate student, faculty member, chair of the department, and Dean of the College in writing of the decision in the case. If the Graduate Council finds for the student, the grade will be changed.
  4. Interpretations and Exceptions
    Any questions concerning the interpretation of the Grade Appeals Policy will be resolved by the Council on Admission, Graduation, and Academic Standards for undergraduate students and by the Graduate Council for graduate students. CAGAS will be informed of all decisions regarding undergraduate student grade appeals. The Graduate Council will be informed of all decisions regarding graduate student grade appeals.