Course Grade Appeal Policy for Graduate Students
Step One: Appeal to Instructor
- Students seeking to contest the grade received in a course should contact the instructor and attempt to resolve the matter amicably and informally. It is suggested that the students and the instructor discuss the matter synchronously (by phone, video, or in person).
- If the matter is not resolved informally, the student should submit a formal appeal to the instructor. The appeal must be initiated within 20 business days after the grades were posted.
- The appeal statement must formulate arguments in favor of a higher grade. Appendix with supporting evidence should accompany the statement.
- The instructor must respond within 10 business days to the student argument in writing. The response will either present the reasons for rejecting the student’s argument or an agreement to change the grade.
- If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the instructor should initiate the Change of Grade process. The instructor’s decision is then subject to approval by the School Dean, and the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
- If the instructor rejects the student’s appeal, the instructor should inform the student that an appeal to the Dean is possible.
Step Two: Appeal to the Dean
- If the instructor is not available or has not responded within 10 business days from receiving the initial written appeal, the student may direct their initial appeal to the Dean.
- If the appeal to the instructor does not lead to a satisfactory resolution, the student may appeal the instructor’s decision to the Dean within 10 business days. To do so, the student submits a letter rebutting the instructor’s response. Attachments should include the initial appeal statement, the instructor’s response, and supporting evidence.
- These documents may be sent electronically via email.
- The Dean may appoint a designee to review the appeal. The Dean, or designee, may require additional documentation.
- The Dean should respond within 10 business days from the receipt of the appeal. The Dean will communicate the decision to both the student and the faculty and inform them about possible further steps in the appeal process. The Dean’s decision may be appealed to the Graduate Affairs Council.
Step Three: Appeal to the Graduate Affairs Council
- The Dean’s decision may be appealed to the Graduate Affairs Council within 10 business days after the Dean’s decision was communicated.
- The appeal should include a letter rebutting the Dean’s decision. Attachments should include the initial appeal statement and its supporting evidence, the instructor’s response, the appeal to the Dean and any additional evidence submitted during this step, the Dean’s response, and any further evidence.
- The appeal package should be addressed to the Graduate Affairs Council (Attn: Director of Graduate Studies) and may be sent electronically or via the postal service.
- The Director of Graduate Programs, or designee, will convene a Graduate Affairs Council Grade Appeal Committee within 10 business days of receipt of the grade appeal package. This committee shall consist of three faculty members of the Graduate Affairs Council who are not directly related to the case.
- The Grade Appeal Committee reviews the appeal considering all relevant material. The Committee may require additional documentation. The committee may contact anyone relevant to this process or request additional documentation.
- The Grade Appeal Committee will render a decision within 15 business days of being convened, and will communicate their decision to the student, the faculty member, the Dean and the Director of Graduate Studies. The Director sends a certified letter to inform the student of the final decision. The letter is also sent electronically.
- The decision and relevant documents will be filed with the Indiana University East Office of Academic Affairs and will be archived for 10 years unless directed otherwise by University Counsel.
- The decision of the Graduate Affairs Council Grade Appeal Committee will be final.
Grade Appeals Checklist
As you prepare your appeal, use the following checklist:
[ ] Is the appeal statement written in the form of a business letter and addressed to the correct person?
[ ] Did you date the letter?
[ ] Does your appeal contain your name, student ID number, current mailing address, the course full number and title, instructor's name?
[ ] Did you file the appeal on time?
[ ] Did you clearly lay out all possible arguments? It helps to label them in an enumerated list, such as Argument 1, Argument 2, etc. each followed by your argument. You will not be able to add new arguments later, so make sure you list all possible arguments at the initial level of appeal.
[ ] Does each argument rely on statements of fact, that you connect in a logical sequence to arrive at a conclusion that says "Therefore, my instructor is required to assign a grade of X for this course"? We sometimes receive appeal letters that list many true facts, but do not connect those facts to arrive at the conclusion that a better grade is warranted. You must make this case because your instructor, the Dean, or the Graduate Affairs Council Grade Appeal Committee will not make the case for you.
[ ] For each statement of fact, refer to at least one evidence. This may be a document such as the course syllabus, or a witness that could describe an event, or paper that you submitted in the class, or a reference to the literature.
[ ] Create an appendix in which you provide all the evidence that you referenced (and nothing else). Do not include any documents that are not used as a piece of evidence. If relevant, list contact information of witnesses.
[ ] Sign and date your letter. If sending by email, save the "Sent" copy to your files for future reference.