G-10: GRADE MEDIATION AND ADJUDICATION
The basis for grades, as stated in Senate Policy 47-20, is "...the instructor's professional judgment of the student's scholastic achievement..." Occasionally, a disagreement arises in the assignment of a grade for an individual item (e.g., test or assignment) or for the final grade in a course. A student who wishes to question or challenge the grade must first discuss grading practices and assignments with the instructor. It is expected that the student and instructor will try to eliminate any misunderstandings and will attempt to work out any disagreements over grades.
On the rare occasion that a student and instructor fail to resolve the grade dispute through informal means, the student should request grade mediation from the head of the academic program offering the course who will review the issue and take appropriate action to seek resolution.
Some examples of the basis for a legitimate disagreement leading to mediation could include, but are not limited to the following:
- The instructor did not inform the student of the basis for calculation of grades as required in 47-20.
- The instructor did not calculate the student's grade for an assignment or in the course in accordance with the instructor's stated policy for calculating grades.
- There is an error in the computation of the grade that was not corrected.
- The student, through no fault of their own, was not provided with the same opportunity to complete the requirements for the course in terms, for example, of time, access to course or lab materials, or access to the instructor as the other students.
It is important that grade mediation cannot be used to overturn the instructor's professional judgement (i.e., believing that a piece of work deserves a better grade is not, in itself, sufficient grounds for an adjudication request.)
If grade mediation by the head of the academic program does not resolve the dispute, students may seek formal grade adjudication. For undergraduate courses, students should seek grade adjudication from the associate dean or the director of academic affairs for the college/campus offering the course. For graduate courses, students may request the same of the associate dean for graduate studies, or the associate dean for academic affairs or their designee at the Commonwealth Campuses, of the college/school offering the course. For the remainder of the policy, the appropriate academic administrators are referred to collectively as "the associate dean/director of academic affairs."
To request a formal grade adjudication, students complete a Grade Adjudication Petition Form and submit it to the associate dean/director of academic affairs responsible for undergraduate/graduate education as appropriate for the level of the course. The petition can be submitted any time during the semester but no later than ten weeks following the submission of the final grade in the course. The basis for a grade adjudication petition is limited to cases in which a grade assignment does not conform to Senate Policy 47-20 and therefore the petition must present clear evidence that the assignment of the grade was based upon factors other than the academic judgment of the instructor.
The associate dean/director of academic affairs will seek any additional information needed from the instructor, the student, or others and review the petition to determine if the student's complaint provides evidence that the instructor's assignment of the grade is in violation of Senate Policy 47-20. Individuals contacted to provide additional information must respond within ten (10) business days.
No Violation of Senate Policy 47-20
If the associate dean/director of academic affairs determines that the assignment of the course or test/assignment grade does not violate Senate Policy 47-20, they will notify the student and the grade will stand. The adjudication process is thus concluded, and no other appeal will be considered.
Violation of Senate Policy 47-20
If upon review the associate dean/director of academic affairs concludes that the assignment of the course or test/assignment grade does not conform to Senate Policy 47-20, they will determine a course of action that may include a recommendation for the determination of an amended grade. The associate dean/director of academic affairs will then provide the student and the instructor with notification and a brief summary of the reasons for the recommended course of action.
If both accept the recommended course of action, the student and the instructor should implement the recommended course of action. If this leads to a change in the student's final course grade, the instructor should complete a change of grade as described under Senate Policy 48-30.
If a violation of Senate Policy 47-20 is found, and either the student or the instructor do not accept the recommended course of action from the associate dean/director of academic affairs, they have ten (10) business days to appeal the determination. The associate dean/director of academic affairs will appoint an ad hoc committee with appropriate expertise to determine a grade. The associate dean/director of academic affairs will then provide the student and the instructor with the final decision and, if necessary, transmit the amended grade to the Registrar. The adjudication process is thus concluded, and no other appeal will be considered.
Approved: ACUI (3-10-83)
Endorsed: Senate (5-3-83)
Revised: ACUE (10-1-92)
Endorsed: Senate (4-13-93)
Approved: ACUE (7-6-00)
Approved: ACUE (7-5-01)
Revised: ACUE (1-9-03)
Revised: ACUE (11-2-06)
Revised: ACUE (3-14-13) (effective Fall 2013)
Revised: Editorial; Effective Fall 2016
Revised: ACUE (12-5-19) (effective Spring 2020)
Revised: ACUE (8-5-21)
Revised: ACUE (10-6-22)