This document describes the grade appeal procedure of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering. This document is consistent with the grading appeal policies of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering, and is an adaptation (with permission) of the grading appeal policy of the Department of Philosophy.

Many disputes about grades can be solved informally. We encourage students who have questions about their grades to discuss them with their instructors. If a dispute about a grade is not resolved by the informal attempt, a formal grade appeal may be submitted in writing to the Department Grade Appeals Committee. The Department Committee will examine any relevant evidence it can obtain, and issue a written decision. Students and instructors may appeal decisions of the Department Committee Committee to the College Grade Appeals Committee.

Submitting a grade appeal

The student should write a formal grade appeal of the situation for the Department Grade Appeals Committee, including:

  • what the instructor did that led to the appeal;
  • why the instructor's actions justify the Committee's changing the grade (taking account of the criteria listed below);
  • a phone number and an email address at which the Committee can contact the student;
  • any relevant written evidence (which may include the syllabus, exams, papers, and anything else that supports the student's case).

Students are primarily responsible for gathering relevant evidence, and should ensure that they submit all evidence that helps support their case. This grade appeal can be submitted to the Department Grade Appeals Committee by giving it to a Department Secretary (in 256 Avery Hall) or the Department Chair (in 267 Avery Hall).

Note that, the College of Arts and Sciences requires that "Students should begin the appeal process in the department within 30 days of the regular academic year semester following the (end of the) semester in which they received the disputed grade."

Role of the Department Grade Appeals Committee

The Department Grade Appeals Committee will not investigate whether an instructor acted properly unless the appropriateness of instructor's conduct is challenged by a student by making a grade appeal. The Committee attempts to protect students against arbitrary, capricious or prejudiced evaluation by the instructor.However, it cannot undertake to resolve disputes about a student's knowledge of a particular subject matter, and its responsibility is to ensure due process in grading procedure.

Basis for changing grades

Instructors traditionally have a great deal of latitude both in establishing course requirements and in determining how well students have met those requirements. The Committee will not change an instructor's grade simply because members of the Committee would have assigned a different grade. The Committee will change an instructor's grade only if it has clear evidence that the instructor has acted in an arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise clearly unfair manner. Among the situations that might justify changing a grade are these:

  • changing the grading procedures stated in the syllabus, without giving reasonable notice to students;
  • requiring students to agree with the instructor's views on controversial topics (Note : requiring students to defend their views and to respond to instructor's questions about them does not constitute requiring students to agree with the instructor's views.)
  • assigning grades to a student for reasons other than the student's academic performance in the course.

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