Grade Appeal Policy

Dr. Robert Merkovsky, Grade Appeals Chair
Email: rrmerkov@pnw.edu

    1. Adoption by the Faculty
      1. The Faculty of Purdue University Northwest (PNW) hereby adopts the following procedures for student grade appeals pursuant to the authority delegated to its Faculty. The PNW Senate, as the governing body of the Faculty, has approved this PNW Student Grade Appeals policy as of December 2016.
    2. Preamble
      1. In the academic community, grades are a measure of student achievement toward fulfillment of course objectives. The responsibility for assessing student achievement and assigning grades rests with the instructor and, except for unusual circumstances, the course grade given is final.
      2. The PNW Grade Appeals Policy affords recourse to a student who has evidence or believes that evidence exists to show that he or she has been assigned an inappropriate grade. Additionally, a student may challenge the reduction of a grade for reason of alleged academic dishonesty.
      3. A graduate student who wishes to appeal a grade received in regular course work may do so only through the Grade Appeals System of PNW. However, a case involving the decision of a graduate examination committee or integrity in research shall be handled by procedures authorized by the Graduate Council of Purdue University (See section Graduate Student Responsibilities and Rights of Policies and Procedures for Administering Graduate Student Programs published by the Graduate School, Purdue University) rather than the PNW Grade Appeals System.
      4. In appealing a grade, the burden of proof is on the student, except in the case of alleged academic dishonesty, where the instructor must support the allegation of academic dishonesty.
      5. PNW shall establish a Grade Appeals Committee with the authority to conduct grade appeals in accordance with the procedures described in this document.
      6. The only University authorities empowered to initiate a grade change are the instructor of record and the Chairperson(s) of the PNW Grade Appeals Committee.
    3. Organization of the University Committee for Grade Appeals
      1. University Committee for Grade Appeals shall be established by the Faculty Senate with the authority to hear grade appeals. The University Committee for Grade Appeals shall report and be responsible to the Student Affairs Committee of the PNW Faculty Senate.
      2. The committee shall be chaired by a faculty member appointed by the Faculty Senate. The Chair shall be compensated with .25 course release time. The Chair will serve a two-year term with possibility of re-appointment. (During the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years, co-chairs will be appointed, one from each campus.)
      3. The committee shall consist of two faculty representatives from each academic unit, defined as the smallest of a Department, School, or College, whichever exists in the unit. Members shall also shall simultaneously serve on the University Committee for Academic Integrity. The members shall serve staggered two-year terms. (During the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years, each academic unit will appoint one representative from each campus site.) The faculty representatives from each academic unit shall be selected by the Nominating Committee of the Faculty Senate and shall start their terms of service at the beginning of the fall semester.
      4. The committee shall include student representatives from lists provided by the Office of the Dean of Students. These lists shall include undergraduate and graduate students in good standing enrolled at either campus site. The list shall provide each student’s primary campus location and degree-seeking college. Separate lists shall be kept for undergraduate and graduate students. Students on these lists also shall serve as the student representatives for the University Committee for Academic Integrity.
      5. The Chair of the committee may make appropriate temporary appointments to fill vacancies under the following conditions:
        1. when an appointing authority fails to make an initial appointment within the specified time or within seven days of a vacancy.
        2. when one of the panel representatives is unable to serve.
      6. Faculty and student representatives shall be excused in a particular case of potential conflict of interest. In no case shall a panel member (faculty or student) be selected from the same academic unit as the instructor or the student involved. No faculty or student members shall serve on more than one panel involving the same case, including an academic integrity panel. When a potential conflict of interest exists, the Chair of the committee shall select a substitute panel member as necessary.
        1. A Screening Panel shall consist of two faculty representatives and one student representative from the Grade Appeals Committee, selected by the Chair of the Committee. The status of the student representative, undergraduate or graduate, shall correspond to the status of the student involved. The Chair of the committee presides over the Screening Panel without vote.
        2. A Hearing Panel shall consist of three faculty members and two student members, selected by the Chair of the Committee. The status of the student representatives, undergraduate or graduate, shall correspond to the status of the student involved. The Hearing Panel shall elect a Panel Chair from the faculty members of the panel.At the end of each academic year, the Chair of the committee shall submit a report to the Student Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate that includes:
          1. an summary of the result of all grade appeals filed
          2. the number of appeals dropped before being heard by a screening panel
          3. the number of appeals heard by screening panels, including the number of appeals approved and rejected by the screening panel
          4. the number of grade appeals that proceeded to a full hearing, including the number of appeals accepted and the number of appeals rejected. For each hearing, the report will include the date, decision (accept or reject appeal), and panel membership (faculty and student).
          5. any other dispositions of grade appeals cases

          No names of individual students who brought appeals or faculty members whose grades were appealed shall be included in this annual report.

    4. University Grade Appeals Procedures
      1. A student who wishes to appeal a grade must file a written notice of intention to appeal with the Chair of the University Committee for Grade Appeals. This written notice must be filed by the twenty-first calendar day from the start of classes of the semester session following the session in which the grade was given. The written intention to appeal must include the date, course, section, semester, name of the course instructor, and a statement as to why the grade given was inappropriate. The Chair shall forward a copy of this written notice to the instructor.
      2. In preparing a grade appeal, a student may seek assistance from the Student Advocate(s) in the Office of the Dean of Students or from the Chair of the Committee for Grade Appeals.
      3. If the basis for the grade appeal is an issue of academic integrity, the appeal must follow the procedures listed in the Academic Integrity Policy prior to the Grade Appeals Screening Panel meeting.
      4. The student is expected to meet with the instructor and/or the head of the academic unit through which the course was offered to attempt to resolve the grade appeal. These meetings should take place by the thirty-fifth calendar day from the start of classes.
      5. If a mutually acceptable solution between student and instructor cannot be reached, then the student must submit to the Chair a detailed written statement of allegations, facts, and circumstances justifying their grade appeal. If the detailed statement is not submitted by the thirty-fifth calendar day from the start of classes, then the case is closed and the grade shall stand.
      6. After receipt of the student’s detailed written statement, the Chair shall promptly forward a copy of the statement to the instructor involved. The instructor may prepare a written response to the student’s allegations and submit it to the Chair. If a written response is prepared by the instructor, the Chair shall promptly forward a copy to the student.
      7. The Chair shall convene the Grade Appeals Screening Panel within seven calendar days of the receipt of the student’s detailed statement.
      8. The Chair shall submit a copy of the student’s detailed statement and evidence, and the written statement from the instructor to the panel.
        1. Evidence exists that the grade assigned to the student is inconsistent with those of other students in the class performing at the same level;
        2. Evidence exists that there has been mechanical error in the determination of the final grade;
        3. Evidence exists that the grade assigned is contrary to formally stated initial criteria;
        4. Evidence exists that course requirements or procedures violate University policy or regulations.The panel shall decide if the appeal is valid based on Items 1 through 4 of Section IV.J, which are:
        5. If any panel member deems that the appeal meets any of the cited items, then the Chair will schedule a formal hearing.
        6. If the panel unanimously determines that the appeal is not valid based on any of the cited items, then the appeal is closed and the grade shall stand.
        7. A Screening Panel may consider only evidence respective to a specific appeal for a single course. Other courses of the student or of the instructor shall not be accepted as evidence.
          1. If the Screening Panel determines that the appeal appears to be valid, then the Chair shall schedule a hearing. The hearing must not be scheduled earlier than seven calendar days from the receipt of the student’s detailed statement. The hearing must be concluded by the fifty-sixth calendar day from the start of classes.
          2. Once the Hearing Panel has been selected, the Chair shall promptly give written notice of the hearing to the parties involved. The notice shall specify the time, date, and location of the hearing, as well as the procedures and sequence of events to be followed in conducting the hearing.
    5. Grade Appeals Timeline
ActionAllotted TimeDue By
Notice of Intention3 Weeks21st Day
Student-faculty discussion2 Weeks35th Day
Screening Panel meets1 Week42nd Day
Appeals Panel meets2 Weeks56th Day

This time line applies to the regular session (exclusive of summer) following issuance of the appealed grade, beginning from the first day of classes. All time spans are exclusive of university holidays or other times when the university is closed for classes.

All deadlines listed here occur on the same day of the week on which classes began. When a given deadline falls on a university holiday or other day when the campus is closed, the deadline extends to the next regular weekday when the campus is open. Under extraordinary circumstances, the Chair may extend a deadline.