3.18 Due Process for grade Change


A final grade is a professional educational decision made strictly by the faculty member and must have the complete support and backing of the college. The integrity of the academic standards of the college depends upon the grading procedures of the individual faculty members. A change of a final grade results from a personal and private appeal from the student to the faculty member.  The intent of the following procedures is to keep the ultimate control of the final grade with the faculty member and to protect the faulty member and the college from requests that do not meet a minimum standard. The baseline of a grade change request involves unusual and mitigating circumstances to allow the faculty member to reconsider the decision involving a final grade in question. The following conditions and procedures are required for any grade change request.

Requirements for an Appeal

  1. The student must have written academic materials or written information that supports an appeal. This information must be material that the faculty member could have, by some error, misplaced, overlooked or not included in the final grade. Other materials that assist an appeal would be schedule modification forms or withdrawal from college forms.
  1. The appeal must be based upon documented material and not a gratuitous challenge to the judgment of the faculty member.
  1. The appeal must be initiated within ten (10) college workdays after the start of a new grading semester. Summer is considered a grading semester. An appeal requested ten days after the first class day of the next semester will not be considered. 
  1. The instructor of record for the class must be a continuing full-time or part-time employee of the college. If the instructor of record is no longer an employee of the college, then an appeal for a grade change can only be resolved through the Department Chair.
  1. Only the student who has unusual and mitigating circumstances for the request may initiate the appeal. Other parties may assist but cannot make the appeal or present materials for the student.

Conditions of a Grade Appeal (Final Grade Only)

Conditions for a grade change appeal include but are not limited to the following examples.

  1. The grade was the result of a mistaken identity - a student was given a grade that was intended for another student.
  1. The instructor inadvertently recorded the wrong grade for an assignment or failed to record a grade for a test or for an assignment. 
  1. The grade was based upon the criteria of attendance and the student documents claims to have attended the class sessions as required but the instructor has attendance records that are different from the student’s record. 
  1. A final grade was given after the completion of a paper, test, assignment or class obligation, and the final grade was more than one letter grade level lower than the student’s class average prior to the last obligation. This reduction in final grade is entitled to an appeal. 

Grade Appeal Procedures

Informal Resolution

The student should request a private discussion with the instructor to present the reasons for an informal resolution to the grade change request. The instructor can make the grade change or reject the request without any further action, no written response is required.  

  1. An informal resolution by the instructor must be completed within ten (10) days of the student’s initial request. A non-response within ten days by the instructor of record is considered a rejection of the appeal, unless the instructor of record is unavailable. 
  1. If the student feels the decision by the instructor of record was unfair and was not based upon current college grading practices, then a request for a formal resolution can be filed.
  1. If the college no longer employs the instructor of record, the Department Chair will review the appeal and determine the resolution. No other action is available after the Department Chair has reviewed the grade change request if the instructor of record is no longer employed by NJC.

Formal Resolution for a Grade Change Request

 A formal resolution can occur, but is not limited to, the following: 

  1. If a student has attempted an Informal Resolution with the instructor of record and feels that additional impartial staff need to review the appeal.
  2. If the student prefers not to seek an informal resolution with the instructor for whatever reason and wants impartial staff to review the appeal.

Procedures for a Formal Grade Change Appeal

  1. The student can appeal the decision of the instructor by obtaining a Grade Change Petition from the NJC Records Office. The Grade Change Petition must be initiated within the first ten (10) days of the next grading period; copies of the petition will be filed with the Records Office, the Instructor and the Department Chair. If an informal attempt has been made, the ten-day limit will begin after an informal resolution has been tabled or denied. 
  1. The Registrar will review the appeal and research the files for materials pertaining to the class and grade involved. The Records staff will forward all findings to the instructor of the course and to the Department Chair. The Instructor will provide all grading materials to the Department Chair pertaining to the student and grade involved. Materials from both the Records Office and the Instructor will be forwarded to the Department Chair within five (5) days of the request.
  1. The Department Chair will review all material relating to the appeal and review the best possible resolution with the Instructor. Based upon the Department Chair’s review of all related materials, personal interview of the Instructor and possibly the student, the Department Chair will respond to the Grade Appeal. The Department Chair will give a written response within ten (10) days after receipt of the materials.
  1. The student may appeal the Department Chair’s decision to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.  This appeal must include the Grade Change Petition and significant and mitigating reasons for the continued appeal.  The Vice President of Instruction will confer with the President and will respond in writing within ten (10) days of receiving the Grade petition.
  1. The student may appeal the President’s decision to a President’s Academic Hearing Board.  This board appointed by the President will consist of three (3) faculty representatives, two (2) professional staff and three (3) students – could be ASG Officers or ASG Senators.  The chair of the President’s Academic Hearing Board must be selected from the membership to insure an impartial decision.   This appeal must include the Grade Change Petition and significant and mitigating reasons for the continued appeal.  The Hearing Board will forward a response to the President within ten (10) days of receiving the Grade Petition.  The President will respond to the student’s appeal within five (5) days of receiving the Hearing Board’s recommendation.  The President’s response is final.