Grade Appeal Process

Syracuse University | University College | October 19, 2017

Grade Appeal Process and Documentation for University College Courses

Any student who seeks to resolve a grievance of a course grade is referred to the Academic Rules and Regulations § 8.4.6 (approved by the University Senate) as well as the rules of University College, which can be found in this document below. This document is intended to guide you through the various steps in the grade appeal process and help you provide appropriate documentation. If you have questions or need additional help, please contact Darlene Carelli, Assistant to the Associate Dean, dkcarell@syr.edu at Room 403H, University College, 700 University Ave.

Step 1: Determine that your grievance meets the requirements for an appeal. §8.4.6(2) provides that “[a] course grade is based on the instructor’s professional assessment of the academic quality of the student’s performance on a body of work. Such assessments are non-negotiable, and disputes about them do not constitute valid grounds for appeal.” Examples of valid grounds for appeal include, for example, when an instructor “fails to provide or implement uniform and consistent standards” or “bases an assessment on criteria other than academic performance.”

Step 2: Develop a clear statement, in writing, of the reason(s) you think your grade should be changed and collect any supporting materials you want reviewed. Developing a clear written statement and compiling all supporting materials will ensure that all the reasons you have will be addressed. Your appeal going forward will be limited to the valid reasons you raise at this time and the supporting materials you compile, and you will only be able to appeal your grade once, so be sure that your statement and supporting materials are complete.

Step 3a: Meet with the instructor and discuss the reason(s) you think your grade should be changed. Provide the instructor with your written statement of the reasons your grade should be changed and supporting materials prior to or at your meeting with her/him. This written statement and supporting materials will help guide the conversation and allow the instructor to address all of the issues you raise. Document the date on which you met with the instructor, what you told the instructor, and the instructor’s response. If the instructor gives you a written response, include that response with your documentation.

Step 3b: In some cases, the class instructor (e.g., a graduate teaching assistant) will have a supervisor in charge of the course. If you are not able to resolve your grade dispute with the instructor of record, the next level of appeal is to the person in charge of the instructor. This may be a faculty member who is in charge of the course or the coordinator of the program. This appeal must be in writing, and your appeal may be submitted electronically. If you do not know who supervises the instructor, please consult Darlene Carelli, dkcarell@syr.edu, 315-443-7991 for this information. Remember that only the reasons you raised with the course instructor will be considered. If you are given a written response, include that response with your documentation.

Step 4: If your appeal in Step 3 was not resolved to your satisfaction, your next appeal is to the department chair. This appeal must be in writing, and your appeal may be submitted electronically. If you do not know who the department chair is, please consult Darlene Carelli, dkcarell@syr.edu, 315-443-7991 for this information. Note that if the grade in dispute is in an SU Abroad course, the Center Director is the department chair for purposes of this policy. Remember that the department chair may only consider the reasons you raised with the course instructor. Be sure to explain clearly why you believe that the instructor and, where required, the supervisor in charge of the course was incorrect in determining that your grade should not be changed. The department chair will respond to your appeal in writing. Include her/his decision in your documentation.

Step 5: If your appeal to the department chair was not resolved to your satisfaction, your next appeal is to the dean. This appeal must be in writing, and your appeal may be submitted electronically to Darlene Carelli, Assistant to the Associate Dean, dkcarell@syr.edu at Room 403H, University College, 700 University Ave. Present documentation of each step in the appeal process to Darlene Carelli for transmittal to the dean, and explain why you believe the department chair was incorrect in denying your appeal. The dean will respond to your appeal in writing. Include her/his decision in your documentation.

Step 6: If your appeal to the dean does not result in a decision on which both you and the instructor agree, your final appeal is to University College grade appeal panel*. Present all the documentation connected to your appeal’s history, including all of the materials generated, decisions made, and the timeline to Darlene Carelli, Assistant to the Associate Dean, dkcarell@syr.edu at Room 403H, University College, 700 University Ave. for transmittal to the chair of the course grade appeal panel. The decision of University College course grade appeal panel on whether a grade should be changed is final. The only grounds for any further review is on the basis of procedural irregularities, in which case the student or the instructor of record may appeal to the Senate Committee on Instruction, detailing the procedural irregularity that occurred. The Senate Committee on Instruction will not review the merits of the grade dispute; its decision is limited to either finding that there was no procedural irregularity or requiring that the procedure start again at the level where the procedural irregularity occurred.

*The University College Grade Appeal Panel shall be comprised of tenured faculty who are either members of the University College Curriculum Committee or who are designated to serve on the panel by their School/College representative on the University College Curriculum Committee. University College Curriculum Committee is comprised of tenured faculty representing all the schools and colleges whose courses are incorporated into the BPS curriculum.