Standard 2: Exhibit 6: Policies for handling student complaints
SOLES Grade Grievance Procedures
Grading criteria, course content, assignments and other requirements are set by instructors and provided to students in writing. The presumption is that students have been given ample opportunity for clarification of class requirements, including assessment, at the beginning of a given course. The instructor’s judgment regarding assessment and grading is presumed to be correct. Therefore, the burden of qualifying a grievance rests with the student. At every level in the grievance procedures all participants should understand this presumption.
A student has the right to question a final grade given by a faculty member.
- Any student may at any time consult her or his instructor about a grade. The exercise of this right does not require a fixed procedure nor is it subject to procedural conditions.
- If a student feels that she or he has been given an unjust grade, the student should first approach her or his instructor to resolve the difficulty. However, if the student believes she or he has reason not to approach the instructor, the Department Chair/Program Director (or her or his delegate) shall be the judge of the advisability or inadvisability of making this first step.
- In cases where the Department Chair or Program Director has ruled that direct consultation with the instructor is inadvisable, the student may present her or his case, along with any graded work, to the Chair or Director. The student may request that the instructor provide the student with a copy of the work in question. The Chair or Director shall review the disputed grade in consultation with the instructor. After this review, the instructor may decide to change the original grade or not. The Chair or Director will communicate the instructor’s decision to the student.
- If the matter is not satisfactorily settled at number “3” above, the student may present his/her case to the Associate Dean for review.
- If the efforts described in steps “2” through “4” do not resolve the dispute, the student may formally challenge the assigned grade. The policy regarding a formal challenge of a grade in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences is as follows:
- An academic grade may only be formally challenged on grounds that it reflects other than appropriate criteria as stated on the course syllabus.
- Students may only challenge grades when they claim to have earned a grade at least one full letter higher than the grade assigned by the instructor (e.g., the student is assigned a grade of C+ and alleges that the actual grade should have been B+ or higher).
- A written petition presenting evidence concerning step “5.a.” must be submitted to the School of Leadership and Education Sciences Associate Dean no later than the end of the seventh full week of instruction in the semester following that in which the grade was given.
- The procedure following submission of the petition by the student is as follows:
- On receipt of the petition, the Associate Dean will promptly appoint a committee consisting of two SOLES faculty members and one student. The student and at least one of the faculty members will be associated with the student’s program. The committee’s membership is privileged information.
- The committee will promptly decide whether the evidence presented by the student warrants an investigation. If it does not so find, the committee will take no further action on the case and the student will be so notified. If the committee so finds, it will conduct an investigation.
- During the investigation, the committee must provide a fair proceeding for instructor and student, including information as to the character and object of the proceedings, knowledge of the allegations and evidence produced by the student in making out her or his case, and an opportunity for both parties to respond in writing and/or orally.
- If, during the course of this investigation, the instructor voluntarily decides to change the original grade assigned the instructor will report this decision to the student and the Associate Dean, and the committee will take no further action.
- If no agreement is reached, the committee must decide whether the grade reflected criteria other than those stated on the syllabus, and if so, the criteria that were reflected.
- Their conclusions shall be made in the form of a preliminary written report, copies of which are to be sent to the Associate Dean, the instructor and the student. The instructor and the student will have the opportunity of submitting written responses to the committee within ten days of receipt of the preliminary report. The committee will review the written responses, if any, before issuing its final report to the Associate Dean.
- Submission of the final written report to the Associate Dean will be the final action taken by the committee.