StudentRights150A

6.7 Grade Appeals

6.7.1  Introduction

Formal Grade Appeal Request and Information (pdf--appeal cover sheet and helpful information)

a. This process includes any appeal of a final grade (pass-fail or letter grade) for a course, field experience, clinical, student teaching, practicum, internship, or externship. Appeal of an involuntary removal from a course in the middle of a term would be subject to departmental  or program procedures, not the grade appeal process, unless a failing grade was issued.  A student who is considering an appeal of a final grade are encouraged to meet informally with his/her instructor before submitting a written appeal.
b. Grades issued for examinations, individual papers, quizzes, portfolios, and other grades that are not final grades are not eligible for consideration for the University Grade Appeal process as discussed in section 6.7.3.
c. This appeal procedure is not to be used for a review of the judgment of an instructor in assessing the quality of a student's work or to complain of an instructor's performance.
d. Time deadlines in the following procedures are intended to provide a framework for the grade appeal process and may be extended, as circumstances warrant, by the Director of Student Rights and Community Standards or by the Associate Provost.
e. This policy will be reviewed by the Ball State Grade Appeals Committee at its meeting each academic year.
f. The Office of Student Rights and Community Standards will provide an annual notice by email of the grade appeal policy to students and faculty and will provide a paper copy of this policy to those persons who request one.
g. Faculty members are encouraged to note the grade appeal policy and provide the link www.bsu.edu/studentrights/gradeappeal in their syllabi.

6.7.2 Department Grade Appeal Process

a. A student who wishes to appeal final grade must send to the instructor a request for reconsideration of the grade with a rationale for reconsideration.  The request shall be in writing (email preferred) and sent to the instructor within (10) school days after the final grade is posted by the Registrar's Office.
b. The instructor shall respond in writing (email preferred) with a decision regarding the student's grade within five (5) school days after receiving the request.
c. If the instructor does not respond within the five (5) days period in (b) above, the student may choose to send the appeal request to the unit head (e.g. department chair or program director) of the department or program that offers the class for a response.
d. If the instructor responds within the five (5) school day period with a decision with which the student does not agree and the student wishes to proceed with an appeal, the student shall send written request (email preferred) for review of the grade to the unit head within five (5) days of receiving the response from the instructor.  The written communication to the unit head should provide detailed information regarding the disputed grade including the written exchanges with the instructor.
e. The unit head shall respond in wriring (email preferred) to the student within five (5) school days of receiving the student's request for a review of the grade.  The unit head's response should outline the details of the resolution.  If the unit head cannot resolve the dispute, his/her communication to thestudent should refer the student to the University Grade Appeal process (e.g., a link to the Grade Appeal policy at www.bsu.edu/studentrights/gradeappeal and/or the Student Rights and Community Standards office).
f.  The student may then choose to proceed with a university-level grade appeal as described below.

6.7.3 University Grade Appeal Process 

a.  Formal appeal.  If the matter cannot be resolved satisfactorily at the unit level, the student may request consideration of a University grade appeal hearing.  The University grade appeal process consists of the following steps:
1)  The student must submit a formal appeal of the grade in writing (email preferred) to the Director of the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards (stdtrights@bsu.edu) or designee (Director) within five (5) school days after notification from the unit head.  Note:  A grade appeal cover sheet and FAQs/information about making a formal appeal are available at Formal Grade Appeal Request and Information. 

2)  The appeal shall clearly include the criterion or criteria on which the appeal is based and a supporting argument for each criterion cited in the appeal with evidence that supports that argument.  See 6.7.3.b. below for the criteria for appeals.
3)  The appeal also shall include all written exchanges with the instructor and unit head regarding the grade appeal.  The written exchanges must include the original date stamps.  Direct forwards of emails to the Director are acceptable and preferred.

4)  The appeal also should include the following components:
    a.    The student's full name, email address, telephone number, and local mailing address;
    b.    The class name, number, and section number of the class in which the grade was received (e.g. SRCS 100, section 002, Introduction to Grade Appeals);
    c.    The instructor's name;
    d.    The semester in which the class was taken;
    e.    The grade received;
    f.    The grade expected to have been received;
5)    Once the appeal has been received, the Director shall review the appeal to determine if the student has complied with grade appeal procedures, met the required deadlines and provided the information noted in 2) and 3) above.  If the student's appeal does not comply with grade appeal procedures, meet required deadlines, or provide information noted in 2) and 3) above, the Director may inform the student that the appeal does not meet requirements and terminate the appeals request.
6)    If the Director determines that the appeal meets the requirements in 2) through 4), the Director shall forward the student's appeal to the instructor by email (with copy to unit head) and solicit the following:
    a.    a written response from the instructor,
    b.    a copy of the syllabus for the appropriate class; and
    c.    any other materials relevant to the grade appeal (e.g. rubric, class grades, etc.).
7)    The instructor is expected to respond to the Director's request within five (5) school days.  Upon receipt of the materials from the instructor, a screening committee comprised of the Director, the Associate Provost or designee, and the Vice President of the Student Government Association or designee will review the appeal request and make a decision on whether to refer, or not to refer, the appeal for a hearing shall be based upon the student's compliance with grade appeal procedures, the written request for appeal and the criteria cited within the written appeal.
8)    If the decision is not to forward the appeal to a hearing, the appeal will be rejected and the matter is concluded.  The Director shall inform the student in writing of the decision and the matter is concluded.
9)    If the appeal is approved for further review, the Director shall inform the student in writing of the decision and convene a University grade appeal hearing as described below.
10)    The notification to the student as described in 8) and 9) above should take place within ten (10) school days after receipt of the formal appeal.

b.    Basis for Grade Appeals.  The University Grade Appeal Committee will only address those appeals for which a procedural or fairness issue is in question.  The criteria for a grade appeal are:
    1)    An obvious error in the calculation of the grade.
    2)    The assignment of a grade to a particular student by application of more exacting or demanding standards than were applied to other students in the course.
    3)    The assignment of a grade to a particular student on some basis other than performance in the course.
    4)    The assignment of a grade by a substantial departure from the instructor's previously announced standards.

6.7.4 University Grade Appeal Committee
The University Grade Appeal Committee hears grade appeals referred to it by the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards after the screening process described above is concluded. It is composed of fourteen (14) members; seven (7) shall be students and seven (7) shall be University faculty members.

a. Student Membership.  The student membership will include one undergraduate or graduate student appointed by each of the seven college deans for a one year appointment to assume their committee responsibility at the start of the fall semester and serving for a twelve-month term. A student member may serve an unlimited number of terms.
b. Faculty Membership.  The faculty members, one from each of the seven colleges, shall be elected by the faculty of each individual college, assuming responsibility at the start of the fall semester and serving for a twelve-month term. A faculty member may serve an unlimited number of terms.
c. Vacancies.  Should a faculty member or student vacancy occur, the appropriate dean shall appoint a member to the committee for the remainder of the twelve-month term.

6.7.5 Hearing Procedures

a. Quorum
.  To conduct a hearing for a grade appeal, a hearing panel (Panel) composed of five (5) members of the University Grade Appeal Committee, of whom at least two (2) must be students and two must be faculty. The Office of Student Rights and Community Standards shall assume responsibility for assembling the Panel. A hearing may proceed with a minimum of four (4) members present.
b. Hearing Moderator and Advisor.  The hearing shall be moderated by the Associate Provost or his/her designee (Associate Provost). The Director of Student Rights and Community Standards or his/her designee (Director) will be present at all hearings as a non-voting procedural consultant to the Panel and will make a record of the proceedings.
c. Notice of Hearing.  If a hearing is to be held, the student and the faculty member who assigned the grade being appealed will be notified in writing of the date, time, and place of the hearing at least five (5) school days in advance. In case of an absent instructor, the unit head, with consent of the absent instructor, shall appoint a faculty member from the department or himself or herself to represent the instructor at the hearing. The Panel may delay judgment if neither the faculty member nor a representative is available for the hearing, if such a presence, in the opinion of the Panel, is necessary to the decision.
d. Presentation of CaseThe presentation of the case is the responsibility of the student and the burden of proof is on the student. The instructor shall be provided an opportunity to respond to the student’s claim and to present evidence in support of his or her original grade decision. Each presentation is not to exceed 15 minutes in length. Both sides will also have an opportunity to call witnesses with information pertaining to the appeal criteria cited by the student.
e. Access to Information.  The Panel will have access to pertinent information in the case and may request additional information from either party or call additional witnesses as needed to render a decision.
f. Multiple Appeals.  If two (2) or more members of a class appeal their grades, the Panel may elect to hear the appeals individually or collectively.
g. Disqualifications; Challenges.  Any Panel member shall disqualify himself or herself if he or she has a conflict of interest with the case or with the student or believes he/she may have a personal bias. The student or instructor may challenge a Panel member on the grounds of conflict of interest or personal bias. The burden of proof is on the challenger. The decision regarding disqualifying a challenged member shall be made by a majority vote of the remaining members present. If a challenge is upheld, the Associate Provost has the discretion to either appoint another person to fill the vacancy or direct that the vacancy not be filled. In the latter case, a quorum shall thereafter consist of three-fourths (3/4) of all remaining members of the Panel.
h. Conduct of Hearing.  The hearing shall be conducted in an informal manner and without reference to rules applicable to a court of law concerning the examination of witnesses and admissibility of evidence, but with a view toward providing the Panel with a complete understanding of the facts involved. Irrelevant, immaterial, and unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded. The hearing shall be closed to the public; the deliberations of the Panel shall be limited to Panel members only.
i. Advisors.  The student and the faculty member shall each have the right to have one person of his or her choice present as an advisor in the hearing. That person must be a student, faculty or staff person of the University or (in the case of the student) his/her parent. The advisor may not participate directly in the hearing and is only present to consult with or support the student or faculty member involved.
j. Continuances.  The Panel, by majority vote, may continue the hearing to a later time or times.
k. Additional Rules.  Procedural rules not inconsistent with these procedures may be established by the Panel from time to time to ensure that the hearing is conducted in a fair and orderly manner.
l. Confidentiality of Appeal Hearing.  With the exception of the Director for the purposes of maintaining the case record, Panel members shall not retain in their possession any personal files, materials received during the appeal procedure, or notes taken during the meetings of the University Grade Appeal Committee. No party, Panel member, or other participant or observer in the appeal procedure shall reveal any facts, documents, or testimony gained through participating in or observing the hearing to any other person, unless required by a court of law to do so or upon the advice of the University’s legal counsel.
m. Hearings during Summer Session and Breaks.  To ensure the functioning of the University Grade Appeal Committee during Summer Session and at other times when regular classes are not in session, the Director may convene a hearing with a minimum of three persons chosen from the pool of the committee membership who are available. Should a minimum of three be unavailable from the pool, the Director may select additional faculty members or student to participate in the hearing process. The Associate Provost will moderate the hearing.

6.7.6 Findings.  Decisions of the Hearing Panel shall be made by majority vote which shall not be revealed to either the student or the instructor. Upon completion of the hearing, the Associate Provost will communicate the Panel’s decision via letter to the student, the instructor, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the instructor’s department chairperson within two (2) school days of completion of the hearing.

a. Findings of the Panel.  The Panel may render one of two decisions:
    1) That a grade which has been appealed be changed with specific designation of the new grade;
    2) That a grade which has been appealed remains the same.  If the panel decides to change the grade, the instructor shall have five (5) school days in which to file a grade change with the Office of the Registrar or request a review by the Provost (see 6.7.6b below). In the event the instructor takes no action, the Provost shall process a change of grade form.
b. Provost’s DeterminationIf either party believes that there have been procedural errors or that they did not receive a fair hearing, they may request a review by the Provost that shall be limited to an examination of the process and procedures followed. The Provost shall communicate the final decision to all parties in writing.
The review may be resolved in one of the following ways:
1) The Provost will determine that there were no procedural errors, in which case the original decision is upheld. If that original decision was to change the grade, the Provost shall notify the faculty member that a change of grade form is to be submitted to the Office of the Registrar. The instructor shall have five (5) school days in which to file a grade change with the Office of the Registrar or inform the Provost of intent not to do so. In the event the instructor takes no action or chooses not to change a grade, the Provost shall process a change of grade form.
2) The Provost will determine that there were procedural errors, in which case the grade appeal may be remanded back to the original Panel for further consideration.
c. Transcript notation.  If a grade has been changed by the Provost, the appeal case record shall reflect the following: Original grade of ___ was overruled by the Provost upon recommendation of the University Grade Appeal Panel.
d. Record.  A record of the case including all materials submitted during the appeal process, written exchanges to and from the student regarding the appeal, the record of the proceedings of the University Grade Appeal Committee hearing (if applicable) and communication to and from the Provost (if applicable) shall be retained on file in the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards for a period of one year after the decision. After that year, unless precluded by a pending legal matter, all materials will be destroyed with the exception of final decisions made by the screening committee, the University Grade Appeal Committee, and the Provost as applicable. These documents may be maintained in digital form.   

    

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