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302.3 - Undergraduate Grade Appeal

University Group Policy #302.3

I.  Policy Statement

The purpose of the grade appeal process is to provide a mechanism for student appeal of a final course grade that was given for impermissible or arbitrary reasons. Students who believe their final course grade was determined by a standard different from the standard used for other students in their class will be able to file a grade appeal. The grade appeal policy only applies to the appeal of a final course grade and not individual graded assignments. Grades that were given as a result of alleged violations of the student academic integrity policy cannot be appealed under the grade appeal policy. Appeal of decision under the academic integrity policy should be made according to the provisions of that policy. The appeal of grades that were given as a result of charges of sexual harassment should be filed with the Sexual Harassment Committee.

There shall be one policy for the appeal of a final course grade. All undergraduate students will follow this policy when appealing a final course grade. However, students in the School of Health Sciences and in other professional programs may appeal other academic concerns (program dismissals, dismissals from clinicals, etc.) using established guidelines outlined in their divisional/departmental handbooks.

II.     Definitions

  • Whenever business day is used in this document, it shall mean any day except Saturday, Sunday, or an institutional holiday.
  • In computing any period of time, the day in which notice is received is not counted but the last day of the period being computed is to be counted.
  • The delivery method may include: certified mail, registered mail, commercial service, personal delivery service, or hand-delivery by an employee or the student or his/her representative that obtains a signature.

III.    Guidelines

Impermissible Grounds for Grading

Impermissible or arbitrary grounds for assigning a grade are:

  1. The final course grade was assigned in a manner not consistent with the standards and procedures stated in Responsibility of Faculty and Students section A and III; or
  2. The final course grade was based upon the student’s race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, disability, veteran status or sexual orientation; or
  3. The final course grade was assigned because of personal malice towards the student;
  4. The final course grade was the result of an error in calculating or recording grades.

Individual graded assignments that contribute to a final course grade are not subject to appeal unless it can be established that the grade for the individual assignment was given for one of the four impermissible reasons cited above, and resulted in an unfair final grade.

Finality of Appeal

There shall be no further appeal from the decision of the grade appeal committee except for procedural errors as indicated in Appeal of Hearing Panel Decision. No appeals from these decisions are allowable to the president or to the Board of Governors (The Code, Appendix I, p. 43).

Representation of Parties

No attorney shall be allowed to appear in any meeting or hearing under this policy. A student may have a non-legal advisor in the hearing before the hearing panel.

Confirmation of Receipt of Notice.

Any notice required by this policy to be responded to following receipt shall be delivered to the party with a requirement of response within a specified time by any means that documents actual receipt of the notice by the person to whom it is addressed.

See Related Resources (below) for full Undergraduate Grade Appeal policy.

IV.    Roles and Responsibilities

Responsibility of Faculty and Students

Faculty Responsibility. The faculty sets the evaluation standards for the courses they teach and use these standards in determining the grades on individual assignments and final course grades. Faculty members are responsible for including information in their course syllabi about all course requirements, all assignments/activities that will be graded and the method that will be used to evaluate each assignment, and the grading scale that will be used to determine the final grade. The course syllabi should be distributed to each student enrolled in a class. In the event that the faculty member decides to make changes in the course requirements and in methods and standards for evaluating a particular course, this information shall be shared in writing or orally with all students in the class prior to making an assignment. Faculty members are responsible for using previously established standards to grade all course assignments regardless of a student’s race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, or other personal characteristics. Faculty members are obligated to meet with students regarding contested grades and to explain how the grades were determined.

Student Responsibility. The student is responsible for discussing any graded assignments that he/she believes were given due to error, or for impermissible or arbitrary reasons with the faculty member during the semester the grade is given. Students are responsible for being aware of all university policies regarding academic integrity issues as published in the undergraduate catalog and codes of conduct in the Student Handbook.

V.     Applicability

This policy is applicable to undergraduate students at Winston-Salem State University.

VI.    Compliance

Compliance with Timelines

The intent of this policy is to resolve all grade appeals in the semester immediately following the semester in which the grade was given. Failure by the student to comply with any of the scheduled timelines without justifiable excuse shall result in forfeiture of the right of appeal and dismissal of the appeal. A student may appeal to the next level of appeal if there is failure without justifiable excuse of any other person in the appeal process to comply with scheduled timelines. The presentation of an excuse shall be made to the appropriate dean of the school or college to which the appeal is filed.

Responsible Division: Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs

Authority: Board of Trustees


  • Approved by the Academic Standards and Curriculum Committee January 7, 2004
  • Approved by Cabinet March 29, 2004
  • Approved June 18, 2010

Related Resources: