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Handbooks & Policies

Final Grade Appeal

*This policy is inclusive of letter grades and credit/no credit courses

I. Overview:

A. Final grade appeals should be directed to the College/School/Unit offering the course as each College/School has their own respective appeal process:

1.  College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
2.  College of Arts and Sciences
3.  College of Business and Public Administration
4.  School of Education
5.  School of Journalism and Mass Communication
6.  Law School
7.  Library
8.  John Dee Bright
9.  IN college courses (INTD, HONR, FYS)

B. It is the right and responsibility of the instructor/course coordinator to establish student grades. This right shall be repealed only if clear and convincing evidence (to be further defined below) is presented by the student.  

C. Only the final course grade may be appealed and can potentially change through this process. Individual assignment grades (i.e. exams, quizzes, etc.) cannot formally be appealed and should instead be discussed with the instructor.  These individual assignments may be used as evidence in support of the final grade appeal, however, even though these individual grades cannot be changed.

D. It is expected that most, if not all, appeals will be resolved between the student and their instructor. If an agreement is not reached between the instructor and the student, the appeal may be escalated based on each college, school or unit's appeal process and time frame. If unsure about which college, school or unit offers the course please contact the Office of the Registrar (registrar@drake.edu). If an agreement between the parties involved occurs at an step of the appeals process, the appeal has concluded and the grade may not be appealed again.

All formal appeals should be written and delivered to the appropriate individual (Instructor/course coordinator, Chair, or Dean) via email. The individual appealing is responsible for assuring the receipt of the appeal; because of this, it is strongly encouraged that ‘read receipts’ be used in these messages. 

E. The final decisions regarding these appeals can include:

1.  Denial of the appeal, meaning that the initial grade remains unchanged.
2.  Granting the appeal, at which point the final course grade will be changed. 

F. If the instructor/course coordinator denies a student’s appeal, the student can then appeal to that individual’s Department Chair; to determine the department and chair, please consult the Employee Directory (https://www,drake.edu/directory/). If necessary, an appeal can then be made to the Dean of the College. This review by the Dean will determine if the decision to deny the appeal is upheld or further review is needed. If further review is needed, the Dean will submit the appeal to CAC to make a final ruling.

1.  Exceptions:
a) If the Department Chair is the instructor/course coordinator, the initial appeal goes directly to the Dean for final decision. If the Dean determines further review is needed, the Provost may be consulted on the matter.

b) If the Dean is the instructor/course coordinator, the initial appeal goes to the Department Chair for final decision. If the Department Chair determines further review is needed, the Provost may be consulted on the matter.

c) If a staff member is the instructor/course coordinator, the initial appeal goes to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. Any subsequent further appeal would go to the Dean of the College for further review.  

 

II. Appeals must meet one of the following criteria for review:

A. Students may appeal a final grade for one or more of the following reasons.

1. Procedural or clerical error by the instructor that had a negative impact on the student’s grade.

2.  The grading being arbitrary, capricious or outside accepted norms with resultant negative impact on the student’s grade.

3.  The evaluation was of a different standard than that required of other students in the class, resulting in a negative impact on the student’s grade. 

Note: if more specific examples would be helpful, please contact the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

 B.  If the student believes that the grade received is based upon discrimination, harassment, or related retaliation, as defined an prohibited by Drake policy, the student should initiate the complaint process set forth in the related policy: Non-Descrimination and Discriminatory Harassment Policy (Non-Sex-Based), or Sexual Harassment Policy.

C.  Students must provide sufficient evidence to support how their appeal meets one or more of the grounds for appeal, and the inability to provide this evidence may result in dismissal of the appeal. To be clear, students may not appeal the final grades on the grounds that they disagree with the professional judgment of the instructor as to the quality of the students' performance or work or whether they met course standards.

 

III. Procedures and Timeline:

A. The Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management should be included on all email communication during the appeal process.  All email communication should be acknowledged within 2 business days; please note that this timeline starts when the appeal is initially acknowledged, NOT when the appeal is initially sent. As mentioned earlier, it is encouraged for students to utilize ‘read receipts’ in all email communication to assure both receipt and acknowledgment.

1. ‘Business days’ are defined as weekdays during which the University is open, with each business day ending at 4:30 pm CST. Weekdays and holidays when the University is closed do not count in this timeline.

B. If the student decides to formally appeal the final grade, they should provide a written appeal (letter attached via email) that includes both their rationale and justification for this appeal.  Appeals MUST be sent to the instructor/course coordinator within 3 business days following the final grade submission due date, as posted by the Office of the Registrar. In the event that the final grade submission occurs prior to course completion, the timeline will begin with official College notification to the student. If the instructor/course coordinator is no longer employed by the University, the appeal should go directly to the Department Chair.

C. The instructor/course coordinator should notify the student upon receipt of the appeal by replying to their email. Students are responsible for assuring the receipt of the appeal.  If the instructor/course coordinator does not acknowledge receipt within 2 business days, the student should send an additional appeal communication to the instructor/course coordinator and the Department Chair. 

D. Instructors/course coordinators will e-mail a decision to the student within 3 business days of acknowledging receipt of the appeal.  If the instructor/course coordinator fails to provide a decision within 3 days, the student should contact the Department Chair to further the appeal.

E. If the instructor/course coordinator grants the appeal, they process the change of grade.  However, if the instructor/course coordinator denies the appeal, the student has 3 business days to appeal the final grade in writing to the Department Chair. 

F. The Department Chair should notify the student upon receipt of the appeal by replying to their email and expressing intent to investigate the appeal. Students are responsible for assuring the receipt of the appeal. If the Chair does not acknowledge receipt within 2 business days, the student should send an additional appeal communication to the Department Chair and the Dean of the College. The student’s written appeal constitutes authorization for the Department Chair to have access to the student’s educational files and grades related to the appeal.  The Department Chair has 3 business days from the date of acknowledging receipt of the appeal to render a decision and provide the decision to all parties.

G. If the Department Chair’s decision is to deny the appeal, the student has 3 business days to appeal the grade in writing to the Dean of the College. The student may also request to meet with the Dean to present information directly related to the appeal.  The Dean will provide a final review to all parties within 3 business days from acknowledgment of receipt of the appeal. This review will determine if the decision to deny the appeal is upheld or further review is needed. If further review is needed the Dean will submit the appeal to CAC to make a final ruling. Individuals with a conflict of interest will recuse themselves from the proceedings.

H. If the Department Chair’s decision is to grant the appeal, the instructor/course coordinator has 3 business days from the acknowledgment of receipt to appeal in writing to the Dean of the College.  The instructor may meet with the Dean to present information directly related to the appeal. The Dean will provide a final review to all parties within 3 business days of receiving the appeal. This review will determine if the decision to grant the appeal is upheld or further review is needed. If further review is needed the Dean will submit the appeal to CAC to make a final ruling. Individuals with a conflict of interest will recuse themselves from the proceedings.

NOTE:  Timelines for reviews may be extended if necessary evidence or individuals are not available.  If the course is a pre-requisite and the timeline extends into subsequent terms, the student may be at risk for being removed from a course without the ability to recoup funds based on timing of the decision being rendered.  It is up to the student to make the determination if they should register for these courses before a decision is determined.

 

IV. Chain of Appeals Timeline: 

A. Each step is allotted a maximum of 3 business days.  If a step is completed quicker than 3 days, the overall length of the appeal may be shortened.  The first step must begin within 3 business days from the grade submission due date posted by the University’s Office of the Registrar on the final exam schedule. In the event that the final grade submission occurs prior to course completion, the timeline will begin with official College notification to the student.

Steps in Appeal

Student Appeal

Instructor Response

Student Appeal

Chair Response

Student Appeal

Dean’s Response

Instructor Appeal

Dean’s Response

Max Days

3 Days

3 Days

3 Days

3 Days

3Days

3 Days

3 Days

3 Days


V. The appeal letter should include the following information:

A. Course for which the grade is being appealed
B. Instructor (Staff/Faculty)/Course Coordinator
C. Department Chair
D. Reason for appeal
E. Rationale for appeal as discussed in III.B.
F. Utilization of a read receipt (recommended)

Posted: 05/19/2022

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