Course Grade Resolution and Appeal

Op3.04-28 Grade Appeal

1. Policy Statement. 
This policy governs the resolution of course grade disputes at the undergraduate and graduate level, subject to the exceptions in Section 4.

2. Grounds for Grade Disputes
Grade disputes will be considered when it is clearly established by the student that one or more of the following has occurred:

  1. The course grade assigned was based on a departure from the faculty’s previously communicated assessment standards, and such departure was substantial, unreasonable, and unannounced.
  2. There was a clerical or administrative error in the calculation of the course grade, including an assignment used to calculate the course grade.

Generally, once the student has begun the grade resolution process they will not be allowed to modify the grounds selected justifying such change or to submit additional information in support of their dispute.  However, if the student becomes aware of information that was not available at the time they submitted the written notification required in Section 3, they may supplement/add grounds to reflect this new information.  Should a student become aware of information that would be a category for a grade dispute after the ten (10) business day period identified in this policy (and such information was not available during that period), the student must direct their grade dispute to the Office of the Provost, and the Scholastic Standards and Revision of Records Committee). If, at any point in the grade dispute resolution process, the student modifies the grounds for their requested grade change, or provides additional information that was not previously available, the faculty member will be notified and will be given five (5) business days to review the additional information submitted by the student and to provide a written response to same.

3. Procedure for Grade Resolution and Limited Appeal.  
In order to resolve a disputed course grade, the student must follow the following procedures.

  1. Notify Course Faculty.  The student must first notify the course faculty in writing within ten (10) business days of the posting of the final course grade and attempt to resolve the dispute with the faculty.  The notification must: i) clearly identify which of the grounds in Section 2 serves as the basis for the grade dispute, ii) include sufficient detail to convey the factual circumstances that support the category for appeal, and iii) include the student’s proposed resolution of the grade dispute.  
  2. Faculty Review of Written Notification.  The faculty, following receipt of the written notification, will review the student written notification and must respond to the student within five (5) business days of receiving notification. If it is determined that a student’s request is justified, the faculty will process the grade change pursuant to this Policy.  If the student does not receive a response from the faculty within five (5) business days, or the student’s request is denied, the student must proceed with the appeal to the Academic Unit Leader as outlined in Section 3.C. 
  3. Appeal to the Academic Unit Leader. If the student is unsuccessful in resolving the grade dispute following submission of written notification to the faculty (or if the faculty has not responded within five (5) business days of submitting written notification to the faculty), the student must submit the written notification to the faculty’s Academic Unit Leader.  The Academic Unit Leader will consider the written notification of the student and any response from the faculty, and may confer with each.  The Academic Unit Leader will make its recommendation, in writing, within five (5) business days of receiving the appeal by the student.  If the Academic Unit Leader declines to modify the course grade, or fails to respond within the five (5) business day period, the student must proceed with the appeal to the Dean as outlined in Section 3.D. 
  4. Appeal to the Academic College Dean. If the student is unsuccessful in resolving the grade dispute following submission of written notification to the Academic Unit Leader (or if the Academic Unit Leader has not responded within five (5) business days of submitting written notification to the Academic Unit Leader), the student must submit written notification to the Academic College Dean. The Academic College Dean will consider the entire written record generated through this resolution process and may request any supplemental information from either the student and/or faculty deemed necessary. The Academic College Dean will respond to the student’s notification with its recommendation, in writing, within five (5) business days of receiving the notification by the student.
    1. For undergraduate students, if the Academic College Dean declines to modify the course grade, or fails to respond within the five (5) business day period, the student must proceed with the appeal to the Provost as outlined in Section 3.E.
    2. For graduate students, if the Academic College Dean declines to modify the course grade, or fails to respond within the five (5) business day period, the student must proceed with an appeal to the Dean of the Graduate College as follows.  The student must submit written notification to the Dean of the Graduate College.  The Dean of the Graduate College will consider the entire written record generated through this resolution process and may request any supplemental information from either the student and/or faculty deemed necessary.  The Dean of the Graduate College will respond to the student’s notification with its recommendation, in writing, within five (5) business days of receiving the notification by the student.  If the Dean of the Graduate College declines to modify the course grade, or fails to respond within the five (5) business day period, the student must proceed with the appeal to the Provost as outlined in Section 3.E.
  5. Appeal to the Provost. If the student is unsuccessful in resolving the grade dispute following submission of written notification to the Dean (or if the Dean has not responded within five (5) business days of submitting written notification to the Dean), the student must submit written notification to the University Provost.  The University Provost, or designee, will consider the entire written record produced through this resolution process and inform all parties of its determination, in writing, within five (5) business days of receiving the appeal by the student.  The decision of the Provost (or Designee), is final.  

4. Successful Student Resolution of Grade Disputes: 

  1. If, at any step of the grade resolution process, any of the above academic individuals (e.g. faculty, Academic Unit Leader, Dean, and/or Provost (or Provost’s designee)) authorizes a grade change, they must notify the involved individuals of their action.  They will then prepare a Grade Change Authorization and submit it to the Office of the Registrar. If the grade change is in a course taken for graduate credit, the Graduate College will also be notified.  

5. Exceptions to this policy

A. Request for grade changes due to alleged discrimination
Nothing in this policy is intended to conflict with or supersede the University’s Discrimination Complaint and Investigation Procedures. Students who dispute their course grade due to allegations of discrimination based on a protected classification should direct their complaint to the be addressed to the Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance, Carrington Hall, 205, Springfield, Missouri, 65897; Equity@MissouriState.edu; 417-836-4252; TTY: 417-836-6974. Such complaints will be handled through the Discrimination Complaint and Investigation Procedures.

B. Appealing an attendance-related grade reduction
Appeals related to an attendance-related grade reduction are subject to the appeal process set forth in Op3.04-7 Attendance Policy.

C. Appealing a program dismissal due to failure in clinical or field placement
Appeals related to program dismissal due to failure in clinical or field placement are subject to the appeal process delineated in Op3.04-55 Clinical and Field Placements.

D. Grade re-evaluation based on exceptions to university policy
In those cases in which the grade received by the student is the result of the university policy (e.g., an academic integrity violation, or an F resulting from failure to remove an Incomplete grade in the time allowed or failure to officially drop a course) rather than a faculty member’s evaluation of performance in a course, the student’s written appeal must be directed to the Office of the Provost within one calendar year of receipt of grade(s). Such appeals will be considered by the Scholastic Standards and Revision of Records Committee, and the Committee will make its recommendation to the Provost.

E. Failure to satisfy academic standards of university, college or department
The university's colleges and departments have authority to set standards for admission of students to their programs or may deny enrollment for failure to satisfy academic standards or course/program prerequisites, even though no violation of disciplinary standards is involved. Except to the extent that cheating or plagiarism is involved, such standards are beyond the primary scope of this document. The university Undergraduate Catalog and/or Graduate Catalog and relevant advisement centers or deans’ offices should be consulted for academic standards and for the process of requesting a waiver(s) or appeal(s) of a decision(s) involving those standards.

F. Financial aid or scholarships
For disputes related to the awarding or renewal of financial aid or scholarships, the student should consult the Financial Aid Office or the particular college or department under which the award is granted to ascertain the appropriate channel of inquiry. Also the student should obtain a copy of the scholarship eligibility criteria. Such disputes can be referred for appellate review only upon the recommendation of the Vice President for Student Affairs or the Provost or their designee. Where the grounds for denial of a scholarship or financial aid involves academic dishonesty, the matter should follow the procedure described for “Academic Dishonesty by Student Enrolled in a Course.”