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Graduate School
New Students Academic Support

Graduate Student Grade Appeal Procedure   
The Graduate School
East Carolina University
Approved at the 1/11/2010 GSAB Meeting

Overview and Purpose

The goal of this grade appeal policy is to establish a clear, fair process by which graduate students can contest a course grade that they believe has been awarded in a manner inconsistent with university policies or that has resulted from calculation errors on the part of the instructor. Recognizing, however, that the evaluation of student performance is based upon the professional judgment of instructors, and not withstanding the exceptions noted at the end of this policy, appeals will not be considered unless based upon one or more of the following factors:

  • An error was made in grade computation.
  • Standards different from those established in written department, school or college policies, if specific policies exist, were used in assigning the grade.
  • The instructor departed substantially from his or her previously articulated, written standards, without notifying students, in determining the grade.

Only the final course grade may be appealed. The grade assigned by the instructor is assumed to be correct and the student appealing the grade must justify the need for a change of the grade assigned.

Appeals Procedure
  1. Formal grade appeals must be initiated by the student by the end of the twenty-first calendar day of the semester (not including summer sessions) following the award of the grade.
  2. The first step to resolve differences between an instructor and student concerning a grade should be a discussion with the instructor. If the instructor of record will not be available within one semester (not including summer sessions), the department chair or designee may act in lieu of the instructor of record for the purpose of grade appeals.
  3. If the instructor and student cannot resolve the appeal, and the student wishes to pursue the matter further, he or she must present to the chair of the department or designee in which the course is offered, a written appeal that includes the following:
    • A statement addressing how the appeal meets one or more of the three criteria necessary for a formal appeal.
    • A description of the outcome of the informal discussion process.
    • Any relevant documents the student would like to be reviewed as part of the appeal process.
    • A copy of the course syllabus and assignment descriptions.

    • The department chair or designee may request additional materials from the student. After receiving a copy of the appeal materials from the department chair or designee, the instructor has fourteen calendar days to respond in writing to the appeal. The department chair or designee will discuss this response with the faculty member and will provide the student with written notification of the outcome of this step within seven calendar days after receiving the instructor’s response.

  4. If there is no mutually agreed upon resolution between the student and the instructor, and the student wishes to pursue the matter further, he or she has seven calendar days to submit his or her written appeal to the college dean or designee. The college dean or designee will review the appeal, provide copies of all appeal materials to the instructor, and discuss the appeal with both the instructor and the student. The instructor has seven days to review the written appeal the student has presented to the Dean and, if desired, prepare an additional written response.  The college dean or designee will provide the student with written notification of the result of this step within fourteen calendar days after receipt of the appeal from the student.
  5. If step 4 does not lead to a mutually agreeable resolution between the student and the instructor, and the student wishes to pursue the matter further, then a Grade Appeal Committee shall be formed by the Dean of the school or college in which the program resides within ten calendar days. This committee shall include five graduate faculty members from the college: one selected by the student, one selected by the instructor of record, and one appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School, and two appointed by the Dean of the school or college in which the program resides..  A majority shall prevail in the committee. The Committee shall elect its own chair.  The function of the Grade Appeal Committee shall be to evaluate the appeal in terms of the stated grounds for the appeal. The Committee’s decision may be to keep the assigned grade or to raise the assigned grade. The Committee shall provide a written justification to the Deans of the academic school or college and the Graduate School for its decision, including minority opinions when they exist, no later than twenty-one calendar days after the Committee’s formation.  The college dean shall inform the student and the instructor of the Committee’s decision and provide both parties with copies of the Committee report.
  6. In the case of a change of grade, if the instructor of record does not implement the change of grade decided upon by the Committee within ten calendar days after learning of the Committee’s decision, the dean shall implement the change of grade as determined by the Committee on the student’s official transcript through the change of grade procedure.  This shall be the last step in the deliberation of the formal grade appeal.
  7. The Dean of the Graduate School shall forward a written record of the results of all grade appeals to the appropriate Vice Chancellor within fourteen calendar days. Dean of the Graduate Schools shall also provide an annual summary to the Graduate School Administrative Board of the number of cases heard and the aggregate result of the process.
Exceptions to the Grade Appeal Policy

The Grade Appeal Policy shall constitute the sole internal administrative remedy for a change in grade, except when the grade being disputed resulted from an alleged academic integrity violation or when a grade dispute involves an Office of Equal Opportunity and Equity discrimination complaint.  If a grade dispute arises from an issue that is covered under the university’s Academic Integrity Policy, the process for resolution that has been established for appealing academic integrity violations must be followed.  If a grade dispute arises from an issue that is covered under the university’s Equal Opportunity and Equity policies, the process for resolution that the Office of Equal Opportunity and Equity has established must be completed prior to the use of the University’s grade appeal process.”