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Appeal of Final Grade 4.403

Elgin Community College recognizes faculty have the right and responsibility to assess student performance and assign grades. However, in certain, a limited case a student has the right to appeal a final grade. Final grades assigned for violation of the Administrative Procedure 4.407 (Academic Integrity) may not use this process and should refer to Administrative Procedure 4.407. More»

Purpose

The purpose of the grade appeal process is to allow students to appeal a final course grade under specific, limited circumstances. The grounds for a student appeal shall include the following:

  1. The grade was based on an error in calculation.
  2. The assignment of the grade was arbitrary and capricious, which is defined as a grade that is assigned on one or more of the following bases:
    • The grade was based on criteria other than those established in the syllabus and/or the assignment sheet.
    • The grade was determined on some basis other than the student’s performance in the class.
    • The standards and/or criteria on which the grade was based deviated significantly from accepted norms within the discipline.
    • The standards and/or criteria on which the grade was based do not measure appropriate student learning, as defined by the course outcomes listed on the syllabus or course outline.

It is the responsibility of faculty members to establish standards of performance in their courses. All faculty shall provide students with a syllabus that outlines the evaluation criteria for a course at the beginning of each semester.

Calculation of Time Periods

For the purposes of this policy, the term “days” will refer to any day the college is open (Monday through Friday).

Appeal Process

Step 1: Informal Resolution
The student must contact the faculty member within ten days from when the final class grade is due (Registrar’s deadline for final grades) with a written request via email to their elgin.edu account for a review/accounting of the grade. (Students in short-term classes that end before the scheduled end of the semester are encouraged to check their grades on-line within ten days of the end of the course.) The faculty member, if available, must respond in writing to the student within ten days from the day the student contacts the faculty member. If the student and faculty member cannot reach an agreement or if the faculty member is unavailable, the student may move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Division Review
To formally appeal a grade, the student must submit a written statement with documentation to the appropriate Academic Dean for review within ten days of receiving the faculty member’s response (or if 10 days has passed with no response). Download appeal of final grade form

Within ten days, the Dean will review the documentation and confer with the faculty member, if available, and student to determine if the appeal has merit. If the Dean determines that the appeal has merit, he or she will work with the faculty member, if available and student in an effort to resolve the problem in a manner that is agreeable to both the faculty member and student. If such a solution is determined, the Dean and faculty member, if available, will work together to implement the solution. If such a solution is not found, the Dean will forward his or her recommendations to the Vice President of Teaching, Learning and Student Development, as noted in Step 4.

Step 3: Vice President/Committee Review
If dissatisfied with the Dean’s recommendation, the student or faculty member may submit a written appeal to the Vice President of Teaching, Learning and Student Development within five days of the Dean’s recommendation. Within five days of receiving that written appeal, the Vice President will notify ECCFA of the need to appoint and convene a Grade Appeal Advisory Committee. The committee will be comprised of three faculty members from the faculty member’s department (or a closely related discipline) and a faculty member from a division outside the faculty member’s division. ECCFA will consult with the Vice President and will select these members within ten days of receipt of the request. After ten days, if ECCFA is unable to fulfill the request, the Vice President shall appoint, in consultation with ECCFA, the faculty representatives for the committee. The faculty members will elect the chair of the committee.

The committee will hold formal hearing(s) at which the student and the faculty member may provide documentation. The student must be advised of his or her right to be accompanied by an advisor (who may be an attorney, but may not participate in the hearings except as an advisor to the student). The faculty member may also bring an advisor (who may be an attorney, but may not participate in the hearings except as an advisor to the faculty member). All committee hearings shall be confidential.

The committee shall review the evidence and make a written recommendation to the Vice President Teaching Learning Student Development within three days of the last hearing. The Vice President may accept or modify the Grade Appeal Advisory Committee’s recommendations and may determine additional sanctions or responses, as necessary. The Vice President will notify the faculty member, the student, the appropriate Academic Dean, and the chair of the Grade Appeal Advisory Committee of his or her decision within five days of receiving the Committee’s recommendation.

Step 4: Resolution
If the Dean (in Step 2) or the Grade Appeal Advisory Committee (in Step 3) accepts the appeal, the faculty member, if available, will be given an opportunity to change the student’s grade prior to the Academic Dean or Committee reporting to the Vice President. The Academic Dean or Chair of the Grade Appeal Advisory Committee will notify the Vice President of Teaching, Learning and Student Development of the faculty member’s decision in his or her report to the Vice President. If, after all appropriate steps, the grade appeal has been accepted and the faculty member refuses to change the grade, the Vice President Teaching Learning Student Development will change the grade administratively.

Grades Affecting Graduation

If a student appeals a grade where the outcome of the appeal could affect the student’s ability to graduate, all parties agree to handle the appeal in the most expedient manner possible, all time frames above notwithstanding.