Saint Louis University

Grade Appeals

Procedures for use in appealing semester grades of undergraduate students

Introduction

The following procedures are available only for review of alleged capricious grading, and not for
review of the judgment of an instructor in assessing the quality of a student's work. Students may
appeal a grade only for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Miscalculation of grade.
  2. The assignment of a grade to a particular undergraduate student on some basis other than
    performance in the course.
  3. The assignment of a grade to a particular undergraduate student by more exacting or 
    demanding standards than were applied to other equivalent undergraduate students in that section.
  4. The grade assigned results from different standards than the criteria for performance and
    evaluation outlined in the course syllabus.

The Right of Fair and Equal Evaluation of Students

The assessment of the quality of a student's academic performance is one of the major
professional responsibilities of university faculty members and is solely and properly their responsibility.
It is essential for the standards of the academic program at Saint Louis University and the integrity of the
degrees conferred by this University that the professional judgments of faculty members not be
subject to pressures or other interference from any source.

It is necessary, however, that any semester grade be based on evidence of the student's
performance in a course, that the student have access to the evidence, that the instructor be willing
to explain the basis upon which the grade was determined, and that a grade be determined in
accordance with announced guidelines.

Appeal Procedures

All appeals must be initiated by the student within six months of the grade assignment and
completed within one calendar year.

  1. The student shall confer with the instructor (in person or in writing), informing the instructor of
    questions concerning the grade and seeking to understand fully the grounds and procedures
    the instructor has used in determining the grade. The aim of such a conference is to reach
    mutual understanding about the grade, the process by which it was assigned, and to correct
    errors, if any, in the grade.
  2. If after consultation with the instructor the student believes that a grade is capricious, the
    student will confer with the Chair of the Department in which the course was offered. The
    Chair will consult with the instructor and the student separately or together in an attempt to
    reach a resolution of the matter.
  3. If the matter remains unresolved, the student will submit a written appeal request with
    supporting evidence (if relevant) to the Chair.  The Chair will convene an intra-departmental
    grade appeal committee consisting of the Chair and two faculty members. The student's
    written appeal request will be considered and the instructor will also respond to the student's
    petition in writing. The grade appeal committee will interview both the instructor and the
    student; and subsequently, the committee will recommend either that the grade was not
    assigned capriciously and shall stand or that the grade may have been assigned capriciously
    and the matter merits further consideration. The recommendation of the departmental grade
    appeal committee will be communicated to the student, the instructor, and the Dean by the
    Departmental Chair.
  4. If the matter has not been resolved to the satisfaction of the student and the instructor, either
    may petition the Dean to convene an ad hoc grade appeal subcommittee to consist of two
    faculty members of the College of Arts and Sciences from outside of the instructor's
    department and the Dean or his/her representative.

This subcommittee shall recommend to the Dean either that the grade should stand, or that it should
be changed; and shall notify both the student and the instructor if its recommendation. The Dean
shall then render a decision and notify all parties of his or her action *.

* a written record should be kept at all stages of the appeals process

Protection of the Instructor's Rights

The decision of a grade appeal subcommittee will neither be used as a cause for any disciplinary
action nor dismissal of a tenured faculty member or a non-tenured faculty member before the
expiration of a contract period. Nor shall a decision, by itself, be a basis for any other disciplinary
action. Any disciplinary actions shall be in accordance with regular University procedures. All
evidence considered by a grade appeal subcommittee shall be made available to any body which
may be considering disciplinary action concerning an instructor whose grading has been found by a
grade appeal subcommittee to be capricious. That body shall make an independent determination
based upon its own consideration of all evidence, irrespective of the findings of the grade appeal
subcommittee.

June 20, 2016




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