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Grade Appeals and Grade Assignments

University Policy S14-3

Assignment of Grades and Provisions for Appeals

The following principles support the minimum standards governing the assignment of grades and provisions for appeals (per CSU Executive Order 1037):

A. Faculty have the sole right and responsibility to provide careful evaluation and timely assignment of appropriate grades.

B. There is a presumption that grades assigned are correct. It is the responsibility of anyone appealing an assigned grade to demonstrate otherwise.

C. In the absence of compelling reasons, such as instructor or clerical error, prejudice or capriciousness, the grade assigned by the instructor of record is to be considered final.

D. Process for student appeal

  1. Students who believe that an appropriate grade has not been assigned should first seek to resolve the matter informally with the instructor of record (per Change of Grade section).
  2. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, the student may pursue a grade appeal and present his or her case to the Student Fairness Committee (according to University Policy S14-3, Student Fairness Dispute Resolution), have it reviewed and, where justified, receive a grade correction.

E. If the instructor of record does not assign a grade, or if he or she does not change an assigned grade when the necessity to do so has been established by appropriate campus procedures, it is the responsibility of other qualified faculty as determined by the appropriate campus entity. "Qualified faculty" means one or more persons with academic training comparable to the instructor of record who are presently on the faculty at that campus.

F. SJSU shall maintain and implement existing policy and procedures covering the assignment of grades and grade appeals that include the following provisions:

  1. The time and manner of reporting course grades including provisions for assuring that such grades have been assigned by the instructor of record.
  2. Circumstances under which the instructor of record may change a grade once assigned, and procedures for making such changes.
  3. A means for preliminary review of potential appeals that may resolve differences before initiation of formal proceedings.
  4. Grounds for which a grade appeal is permitted.
  5. One or more committees for hearing grade appeals that shall provide safeguards to assure due process for both student and instructor. Such committees shall include student membership. Student members shall not participate in assignment of grades.
  6. Procedures whereby grades are assigned by other qualified faculty in circumstances where the instructor of record does not do so, including those instances where a grade change is recommended by a grade appeals committee and the instructor of record does not carry out that recommendation.
  7. Specification of time limits for completion of various steps in the appeal process and of the time period during which an appeal may be brought.
  8. Description of the extent of the authority of appeal committee(s), including provisions that clearly limit grade changes to instances where there is a finding that the grade was improperly assigned.
  9. Limitation of committee authority to actions that are consistent with other campus and system policy.
  10. A statement that there is a presumption that grades assigned are correct. Thus, the burden of proof rests with the individual who is appealing.
  11. Procedures for dealing with allegations of improper procedure.
  12. Assignment of authority to revise policies and procedures for grade appeals to the campus Academic Senate. The campus president is responsible for ensuring that such revisions conform to the principles and provisions of this executive order.
  13. Provision for annual reporting to the President and Academic Senate on the number and disposition of cases heard.

Change of Grade (Not Resulting from a Grade Appeal)

A. The basic principle underlying changes of grade is that all students be treated fairly and be given equal opportunities to demonstrate their academic learning and earn course grades representing that learning. Application of this criterion precludes the assignment of extra credit unless such assignments were made known and available to all students in the class. It further precludes rejudgment, afterthought, or reconsideration of an individual's graded work unless such opportunity for change of grade is made equally available to all students in the class.

B. Unless a rejudgment, afterthought, or reconsideration is applied fairly and equally for all students in a class, a change of grade request may be submitted only when there is an error in grading an assignment or course component, or in the case of a clerical, computational, transcriptional, or other administrative error. The specific nature of the error shall be recorded on the form requesting the change of grade. Once approved, the original grade will be removed from the transcript and the new (changed) grade will replace it.

C. A change of grade request must be submitted by the department office directly to the Office of the Registrar in a timely fashion. Normally, such requests must be received by the drop deadline of the following Spring or Fall semester and will require the signatures of the instructor and the department chair. Further extension of this deadline will be considered only when there is documentation of the student's attempt(s) to contact both the instructor and the department chair, and the late submission of the change of grade form is clearly beyond the student's control.

D. A change of grade request received after the drop deadline of the following Spring or Fall semester and within one calendar year after the posting of the grade requires the signature of the appropriate college Associate Dean in addition to those of the instructor and the department chair.

E. A change of grade request received more than one year after the posting of the grade will require, additionally, the approval of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies or Graduate Studies, as appropriate.

F. If a request for a change of grade is approved by the instructor but denied at a subsequent level of review, a written explanation for the denial shall be provided to the student, the faculty member, and the department chair.

Integrity of the Academic Record

A. All grades reported at the end of each semester are final, unless changes have been made according to the provisions given above, or those of University Policy F08-2. Students are responsible for reviewing their grades for accuracy before the beginning of the subsequent term. They are also responsible for verifying their transcripts for changes, e.g., from grade forgiveness, withdrawals, clearance of Incomplete grades, or clearance of Report Delayed (RD) grades.

B. A student who believes he or she has received a grade in error should contact the instructor to verify and, if appropriate, correct the grade. If an instructor is unavailable or absent during the subsequent semester, the student should promptly consult with the department chair about the grade in question. If the department chair is unable to contact the instructor, he or she shall notify the Associate Dean of the College in writing, requesting that an extension of the grade correction deadline be granted. The Associate Dean will then contact the Office of the Registrar if the request for an extension is deemed valid.

C. After a degree has been posted, no further adjustments can be made on the record except under extraordinary circumstances as determined by Undergraduate Studies or Graduate Studies.