Grade Appeal Process


The purpose of the grade appeal procedure is to provide students with an orderly, prompt, and fair process for raising concerns about final grades and to protect each student against arbitrary or capricious academic evaluation. Arbitrary or capricious action is action taken without consideration or in disregard of the facts and circumstances. An action is not arbitrary or capricious when there is room for two opinions and the instructor acted honestly and with due consideration of the facts.

Appeal expectations and conditions

  • A grade appeal applies to only the final course grade.
  • The instructor is responsible for the assignment of a student’s final grade and any adjustments that may result from the appeal.
  • The student is responsible for knowing, initiating, and complying with the grade appeal procedures, including any filing deadlines. Failure to adhere to the procedures set forth herein will result in denial of the appeal.
  • The student is responsible for providing the College with current and accurate contact information during the appeal process.
  • In a grade appeal, if necessary the dean will meet with the student; generally no other advocate may be present. At the dean’s discretion, others may be included. A signed FERPA release (Permission to Release Student Records) will be required in this case.
  • If necessary, the dean will also meet with the instructor.


Informal Resolution – Meeting with Instructor

  • Before pursuing a formal grade appeal with the dean, a student must first meet with and review his or her grade with the instructor who assigned the grade. During this meeting, the student should explain the reason he or she believes the final grade should be revised. The purpose of this meeting is to clarify the perceived problem and request specific action. Many misunderstandings related to a final grade can be resolved through this informal resolution process.

Formal Appeal to the Dean

  • If the student and the instructor are unable to resolve the student’s concerns during the informal resolution process, the student may pursue the formal grade appeal process. The formal grade appeal must be done in writing to the instructor's dean, with a copy to the instructor, within the first three instructional weeks of the subsequent quarter, including Summer Session. Because many faculty members are not on campus during Summer Session, some Spring Quarter grade appeals may not be resolved until Fall Quarter. The appeal letter shall include the following information:
    • Student’s name
    • Student’s current mailing address
    • Student’s current email address
    • Instructor’s Name
    • Course name and number
    • The quarter the class was completed and grade received
    • A description of the grade dispute
    • A summary of the actions the student has taken to resolve the grade dispute, and
    • Proposed solution
  • The student should also provide all relevant documentation related to the grade dispute such as graded assignments, test results, and the syllabus.
  • Upon receipt of the written appeal, the dean will forward the student’s written appeal and supporting documentation to the instructor. The instructor must provide a written response to the dean and the student within ten instructional days. Within twenty-one days of receiving the instructor’s response, the dean will review the documentation presented by the student and instructor and will meet with the student and, if necessary, the instructor. The dean will provide a written ruling to the student, with a copy to the instructor, within ten days of the appeal meeting with the student.
  • The sole issue for the dean to consider during the appeal process is whether the instructor’s grade is arbitrary or capricious. Arbitrary or capricious action is action taken without consideration or in disregard of the facts and circumstances. An action is not arbitrary and capricious when there is room for two opinions and the instructor acted honestly and with due consideration of the facts.

Appeal of the Dean’s Ruling

  • A student may appeal the dean’s written ruling by submitting a notice of appeal to the dean identifying specific grounds of appeal for further review. The notice of appeal must be delivered to the dean’s office within ten days after the student’s receipt of the dean’s written ruling. The student will be presumed to have received a copy of the written ruling five days after the ruling is placed in the mail. 
  • Upon receipt of a timely notice of appeal, the dean will appoint a review team of three faculty members from the discipline or related disciplines. When the number of faculty within a discipline allows, at least two members of the review team should be from the discipline. The team’s review is limited to the documentation submitted by the student and the instructor and the dean’s written ruling. The sole issue before the review team is whether the grade issued to the student by the instructor was arbitrary or capricious.
  • Faculty review team will distribute a written ruling to the student and instructor within 15 instructional days with a copy to the dean. If the faculty review team does not find the instructor’s grade arbitrary or capricious, then the written ruling by the faculty review team is the final step in the appeal process. No further appeal may be made after that.
  • In the event the grade is found to be arbitrary or capricious and the instructor of record refuses to reconsider the awarded grade or is unavailable to reconsider the awarded grade, the student’s work will be independently evaluated by another qualified instructor in the discipline, and the office of the Registrar may initiate a grade changed based on the qualified instructor’s assessment.