Course Grade Appeal Policy

The Institute recognizes that instructors retain sole responsibility for the evaluation of student course work and, barring extraordinary circumstances, retain the sole right to assign grades to students in their courses. In turn, instructors will make every reasonable effort to ensure that grades are a fair and accurate assessment of each student’s performance. A course grade may be appealed if the student believes the instructor unreasonably or capriciously deviated from stated procedures or grading standards. If the student believes the course grade was assigned due to discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation, the student should contact promptly the Institute’s Title IX Coordinator; that process is separate from the one described below.

A student wishing to appeal a course grade must first meet with the instructor to discuss the matter, with both parties assuming positive intent. In most cases, an in-person meeting will resolve the issue and no further action will be required.

However, if the student’s concerns remain unresolved, the student may approach the instructor’s immediate administrative supervisor with a written memo within two weeks of the receipt of the grade.

  • If the instructor’s supervisor, either the department head (if the instructor is a faculty member) or the Dean of Faculty (if the instructor is a department head), believes the complaint has merit, the supervisor will discuss it with the instructor in an attempt to resolve the issue. This discussion will be summarized in a memo signed by both parties and shared with the student.

  • In the rare case that the matter still remains unresolved, the student may appeal in a second written memo to the Dean of Faculty (if the instructor is a faculty member) or to the Vice President for Academic Affairs (if the instructor is a department head) within one week of the receipt of the first memo.

  • The Dean of Faculty (if the instructor is a faculty member) or the VPAA (if the instructor is a department head) can reject the student’s claim or request a review by faculty members in the department or in closely aligned fields. The appropriate administrator will select three faculty members to serve on the grade review panel.

  • If a simple majority of the reviewers, through their inquiries, determine that compelling reasons exist for a grade change, they will notify the course instructor, department head, and Dean of Faculty or VPAA in a memo.

  • If the instructor declines to change the grade, the instructor will provide an explanation in writing to the reviewers, department head, and Dean of Faculty or VPAA.

  • The reviewers will consider the explanation and if they believe it would be unjust for the grade to stand, they will notify the faculty member, supervisor, Dean of Faculty or VPAA, and Registrar of their grade change decision. The Registrar will change the grade.

  • The Dean of Faculty will inform faculty and staff of successful grade appeals at institute meetings.

Only the faculty review panel will have the ability to change a grade over the objection of the instructor who assigned the original grade. Under no circumstances will administrative officers—whether a department head, the Dean of Faculty, or the VPAA—on their own authority substitute their judgment for that of the faculty concerning the assignment of a grade. Every element of the grade appeals process will be overseen and ultimately authorized by faculty.
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