Grade Appeals

Faculty members are vested with the authority to establish course requirements and standards of performance. It is the responsibility of faculty to articulate and communicate course requirements and standards of performance to students at the beginning of each course and apply all grading criteria uniformly and in a timely manner. Final grades submitted by faculty to the Registrar’s Office are presumed to be accurate and final. A student who has questions about a grade received in a course should ordinarily seek to resolve the issue by first consulting with the instructor. If the issue has not been resolved after consultation, and the student believes there are grounds for appealing the grade, the student may invoke the grade-appeal procedure outlined below.

Grounds for a Grade Appeal

Students can appeal a grade only when they can document that one or a combination of the following has occurred:

  • An error in calculating the grade
  • Failure of the instructor to notify students clearly and promptly of the criteria for grade determination
  • Assignment of a grade based on reasons other than the announced criteria and standards
  • Assignment of a grade based on factors other than student achievement, e.g., personal bias
  • Inconsistent or inequitably applied standards for evaluation of student academic performance
  • If the student believes that the grade received is based upon unlawful discrimination, or sexual harassment, as defined in these policies and procedures, the student should proceed with the process under “Complaints Relating to Discrimination and Sexual Harassment.”

The Appeal Process

When students believe that they have grounds for appealing a grade issued by an instructor because of an occurrence of one or more of the above mentioned circumstances, the following procedures must be followed:

The student must submit an e-form electronically via the student portal to the School Dean within forty-five (45) days of the submission of the grade for the course. The student must attach to the e-form clear substantiating documentation that demonstrates the occurrence of one or more of the above-listed grounds for appeal. Documentation may be in the form of e-mail correspondence, graded assignments, proof of timely submission, etc. The student must also attach documentary evidence of the level of achievement in support of the particular grade that the student believes he/she should have been awarded. If the evidence meets the criteria, the Dean forwards the student’s e-form to the instructor for a response, which the instructor must provide within fifteen (15) days. The dean then refers all documentation to the grade appeals committee.

Grade Appeals Committee

A standing committee within each school in San Diego, the grade appeals committee consists of three or more faculty members (full-time or associate) appointed by the appropriate school Dean. The grade appeals committee considers the documentation and may decide either to change or uphold the grade.

The grade appeals committee will render a final decision within thirty (30) days of receiving the grade appeal e-form information from the Dean. This decision is then forwarded to the School Coordinator who notifies all of the following via an e-mail communication: the student, the instructor, and the Registrar’s Office.

The decision of the grade appeals committee on these matters is final and cannot be appealed.