Appeal of Student Grades 4.403

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:
    1. The grade was based on criteria other than those established in the syllabus and/or the assignment sheet.
    2. The grade was determined on some basis other than the student’s performance in the class.
    3. The standards and/or criteria on which the grade was based deviated significantly from accepted norms within the discipline.
    4. 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 grading standards for their courses. All faculty shall provide students with a current course syllabus that describes the grading standards as required by the agreement between Elgin Community College and the Elgin Community College Faculty Association (Section 4.31).

Calculation of Time Periods


For the purposes of this policy, the term “days” will refer to any day the college is open (e.g. Monday through Friday, or Monday through Thursday during the summer). The Vice President of Teaching, Learning and Student Development may extend timelines under certain circumstances (e.g. when faculty are not available for consultation).

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.

Appeal Process


The sections below describe the process for appealing a grade. See the diagram at the end of this document for a visual representation of this multi-phase process.

Phase 1: Informal Resolution

The purpose of Phase 1 is for the faculty member and the student to resolve the disagreement following and documenting these steps:

  • Step 1: The student must contact the faculty member within ten (10) days from when the final class grade is due (Registrar’s deadline for final grades) with a written request to the faculty email account identified in the course documents 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 (10) days of the end of the course.)
  • Step 2: The faculty member, if available, must respond in writing to the student’s Elgin Community College email account within ten (10) 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 Phase 2.

Phase 2: Division Review

The purpose of Phase 2 is to allow for independent review of the student’s appeal by following and documenting these steps:

  • Step 1: To formally appeal a grade, the student must submit a written statement using the Grade Appeal Form and provide relevant course documentation (e.g. graded tests/papers, assignment sheets, rubrics, etc.) to the appropriate Academic Dean for review within ten (10) days of receiving the faculty member’s response (or if ten (10) days has passed with no response).
  • Step 2: Within ten (10) days of receiving the appeal, 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, the Dean will work with the faculty member, if available, and the 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 as noted in Phase 4, Step 1.
  • Step 3:  If such a solution is not found within ten (10) days, the Dean will forward the recommendation(s) to the Vice President of Teaching, Learning and Student Development, to proceed to Phase 3.

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 to proceed to Phase 3.

Phase 3: Vice President/Committee Review

The purpose of Phase 3 is to provide due process for students and faculty by following and documenting these steps:

  • Step 1: If the appeal is denied by the Vice President, the student shall be notified within five (5) days and the matter shall be at an end.
  • Step 2: If the Vice President determines that the appeal has merit, within five (5) 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 Vice President, in consultation with ECCFA, is responsible for ensuring that those designated to serve are not directly involved with the concern nor have any other conflict of interest. The committee will be comprised of the president of the student senate and three faculty members from three different academic disciplines, including one from the course discipline or closely related field and two from outside of the course discipline.
  • Step 3: ECCFA will consult with the Vice President and will select these members within ten (10) days of receipt of the request. After ten (10) 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.
  • Step 4: The committee will hold formal hearing(s) at which the student and the faculty member may provide documentation. The student must be advised of the student’s 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.
  • Step 5: 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 the Vice President’s decision within five (5) days of receiving the Committee’s recommendation.

Phase 4: Resolution

The purpose of Phase 4 is to implement the findings of the grade appeal process by following and documenting these steps:

  • Step 1: If the Dean (in Phase 2) or the Grade Appeal Advisory Committee (in Phase 3) finds merit in 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.
  • Step 2: 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.