|University of Arkansas at Little Rock|
|Policy Name: Grade Appeals|
|Policy Number: 501.6|
|Effective Date: November 7, 1994|
This policy provides guidance in handling student grade appeals. A student has the opportunity to appeal a grade if he or she feels the grade was inequitably awarded in that it violated a faculty member’s own specified grading standards. Students and faculty members are urged to make all attempts possible to resolve a grievance before initiating formal appeal.
Steps Toward Redress for Grade Appeals
- The student must approach the faculty member in question to discuss the grade and attempt to resolve any differences. This must be done within twenty (20) class days after a final course grade is awarded. There are certain professional courses within the University for which the final grade is awarded upon completion of a designated number of weeks. The student will need to review the time frame for awarding the grade with the department chairperson. No faculty member shall be allowed to delay the resolution of a grievance by failing to hold a consultation with a student within the designated time, unless bona fide reasons such as illness, personal emergency, or campus absences for professional reasons make this time limit unreasonable. The student’s grade may be changed in Step 1 of this procedure by written consent of the instructor. The student may confer with the Student Government Association president/designee regarding the complaint at any time during the Steps Toward Redress for Grade Appeals. The Student Government Association president/designee will listen to the complaint, counsel the student as to the merits of the case, review the steps as outlined in the formal procedures for grade appeals, assist the student in writing the appeal, and may attend the hearing upon the request of the student as a non-participating party.
- If unable to resolve the difference with the faculty member, the student shall take the grievance within five (5) class days of this discussion to the department chairperson (or dean, if the faculty member involved is the department chairperson). The chairperson shall attempt to resolve the dispute within ten (10) class days by meeting with the student and the faculty member. The student’s grade may be changed at Step 2 of this procedure by the written consent of the faculty member. At this meeting the chairperson will have the student and the faculty member complete and sign the Grade Appeal Complaint Form and give a copy to the student. The department chairperson maintains the original.
- As a last resort and only after Steps 1 and 2 have been carried out, the student may file a formal complaint in writing within three (3) class days to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. If the student decides to file a formal appeal, he or she must meet with the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and bring to the meeting the written appeal which must include a written statement which clearly explains the basis of the appeal and the Grade Appeal Complaint Form. Following the conference, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs will immediately consult with the Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee chairperson. The Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs will notify the student in writing that the grade appeal will be referred to the Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee for a hearing or to the Vice Chancellor/Provost if the case does not fall within the purview of the Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee.
Procedures for Grade Appeals Handled by the Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee
The Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee shall promulgate rules governing its proceedings, which shall be consistent with the following hearing procedures set forth in the 1967 Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students. The rules shall be distributed to all members of the committee.
- The student and the faculty member will be notified in writing, at least ten (10) class days before the date set for the hearing, of the nature of the complaint and of the date, time, and place the case is to be heard. They shall also be notified the hearing will proceed as scheduled. For the purposes of this section, the day after the date of mailing of the letter of notification shall be the first day of the 10-day delay period. The Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs shall also send and/or give a copy of the preliminary data sheet, time frame report, and the release of academic records form to the student. The committee must hear the case within fifteen (15) class days of the time the appeal was filed. The determination of the date, time, and place of the hearing will include consideration of the student’s and the faculty member’s schedules and of their convenience, but in the interest of fairness, reasonable speed shall be the watchword.
- The student and faculty member will be notified that each can bring witnesses in his or her behalf, that each will have a reasonable opportunity for confronting witnesses appearing against him or her, that each has the right to be present during all phases of the hearing, and that each may bring to the hearing two non-participating representatives.
- At least five (5) class days before the committee is convened, the student and the faculty member must submit to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs all the information that each feels is pertinent to the appeal; this information must be in writing and supported in detail, and it should specify what additional evidence and witnesses the student or faculty member will bring to the scheduled meeting. Copies of this information will be distributed to all involved parties. Students appealing grades are reminded that the burden of proof is on the student; i.e., the student must be able to support his or her assertion.
- The committee will not make any decision on a specific appeal until it has been determined that all pertinent written documents, oral testimony from the student and the faculty member, and official records from the student’s college or school Dean and from the Office of Admissions and Records have been submitted and reviewed.
- The only persons present at meetings of this committee shall be committee members, Student Government Association president/designee upon request by the student, parties to the action being considered by the committee and their non-participating representatives, and witnesses actually testifying before the committee.
- Written statements by witnesses in lieu of personal appearances should not be allowed except in rare instances.
- During the process of making a decision on a case, the committee shall consider only that information which (a) has been presented during the hearing and (b) is relevant to the charge.
- Upon conclusion of the appeals hearing, the committee will make a decision in writing and sign appropriate appeal documents. The chairperson of the committee will return the master file and the tape of the hearing, and prepare a summary of the findings, decision, and recommendations for the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs with in three class days of the hearing. A letter explaining the findings and the decision will be sent to the student, faculty member, department head, college dean, and Director of Admissions and Records in case of a grade change within ten (10) class days of such decision. Either party may appeal the panel’s decision in writing to the Vice Chancellor/Provost with a copy to the chairperson and the non-appealing party, within ten (10) class days upon receipt of the decision.
- The Vice Chancellor/Provost shall review the appeal and render a decision in writing to all interested parties that includes the reasons for the decision, no later than five (5) class days upon receipt of the appeal. Reasonable deviations from the time frame or procedures will not invalidate a decision unless the deviations cause significant prejudice to the student.
- The Vice Chancellor/Provost shall have the authority to:
- Approve the recommendation of the AIGC panel.
- Remand the case to the original hearing panel for rehearing
- Remand the case to a different hearing committee for rehearing.
- Raise the grade.
- Reverse the decision of the hearing panel.
- The Vice Chancellor/Provost shall notify the appealing party and the non-appealing party of his decision. The Vice Chancellor/Provost shall return the records to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for filing and for appropriate action. The Vice Chancellor/Provost’s decision shall be final.
Source: UALR Faculty Senate, March, 1979
Revised: February 12, 1981; April 3, 1985; April 19, 1989; November 7, 1994
Approved By: Existing Policy
Custodian: UALR Faculty Senate/Academic Integrity & Grievance Committee