Student Grade Appeal Procedure for Final Course Grades

Students who believe they have been awarded final course grades improperly by members of the faculty may appeal those grades. Only final course grades may be appealed. A final course grade has been awarded improperly if done in an arbitrary or capricious manner as defined under RCW 34.05.570 (4) (C) (iii).*

The grade appeal process encompasses informal, formal, and appeal steps. Formal grade appeals must be initiated by a student within thirty instructional days, not including summer quarter instructional days, following the official posting of the grade by the college to the student’s academic record.

Faculty members are responsible for retaining, and producing as needed during the appeal process, all relevant materials that have come into their possession. If the faculty member who awarded the grade cannot reasonably be available to participate in the grade appeal process, the division chair will appoint two faculty members, at least one of whom has reasonable familiarity with the relevant course subject matter and at least one of whom does not serve on the Grade Appeal Committee Pool, to act in place of the unavailable faculty member.

Students appealing grades are responsible for retaining, and producing as needed during the appeal process, all relevant materials that have come into their possession. They also are required to make themselves reasonably available to participate in the various steps of the process.

Administrators involved in an appeal will be those associated with the specific academic division through which the grade was awarded. If the grade was awarded through the District’s Extended Learning program, the academic division will be the one designated (with the approval of the Vice President for Learning and Student Success) by the faculty member who awarded the grade and into which that faculty member’s discipline falls. Where necessary or advisable, administrators may act through designees.

Step 1: Informal Process

The grade appeal process is initiated by the student discussing the grade with the faculty member who awarded the grade. This informal process should facilitate good faith efforts by both parties to resolve the matter. At the request of either the faculty member or the student, the chair of the academic division may attend this discussion. For the purpose of this informal process, where the faculty member is unavailable to participate, the grade will be changed only upon the uniform recommendation of two faculty members appointed to represent that faculty member.

Step 2: Formal Process

If an informal resolution has not been reached, the student can initiate a formal grade appeal by submitting a completed Grade Appeal Petition to the chair of the academic division within thirty instructional days, not including summer quarter instructional days following the official posting of the grade by the college to the student’s academic record. These forms are available in the office of the division chair. The student shall indicate on the form why the student feels the grade was improperly awarded, what the student has done to resolve the matter, and what remedy the student is seeking. All documentation relevant to the appeal and within the student’s possession should be provided by the student with the form.

After receiving the Grade Appeal Petition the division chair has ten instructional days to discuss the situation with the student and the faculty member who awarded the grade. Following that discussion, the chair has another five instructional days to provide a written decision to the student, which may include:

  • Denial of the grade change and upholding the grade awarded by the faculty member, or
  • Moving the grade appeal forward by requesting that a Grade Appeal Hearing Committee be convened.

Step 3: Appealing the Formal Decision

If the student wishes to appeal the division chair’s denial of the grade change, the student must submit the Grade Appeal Petition and accompanying documentation, including the division chair’s written decision, to the Vice President for Learning and Student Success within five instructional days after receiving the written decision.

The Vice President will review those materials and will discuss the situation with the student and the faculty member who awarded the grade within ten instructional days after receiving the form. The Vice President will make a written recommendation within five instructional days after meeting with those parties, which may include:

  • Sustaining the decision of the division chair by upholding the grade awarded by the faculty member. This decision is final, or
  • Moving the grade appeal forward by requesting that a Grade Appeal Hearing Committee be convened.

Grade Appeal Hearing Committee Process

The PCFT President**, with the assistance of the Vice President for Learning and Student Success, will form the Grade Appeal Hearing Committee within ten instructional days of receiving the Vice President’s written request to do so or, if the matter was not appealed to the Vice President, within ten instructional days of receiving the division chair’s written request to convene a committee. Thereafter the committee will have twenty instructional days to review all documentation, interview parties (including students who may serve as advocates for the appealing student and/or faculty), and conduct the hearing.

The committee will not conduct the hearing unless its three faculty members, and the Vice President, are in attendance. The student and faculty member parties to the appeal each will have a maximum of 30 minutes to explain their positions during the hearing. The committee may vote to extend the time limit but must provide the same number of additional minutes to both parties.

The committee will make its decision by majority vote. It will make written copies of that decision available to the student, faculty member, and Vice President within ten instructional days following that decision. The decision of the committee is final, and there can be no further appeals.

Grade Appeal Hearing Committee Formation

The voting members of each Grade Appeal Hearing Committee will be drawn from a Grade Appeal Hearing Pool consisting of at least two faculty members from each academic division chosen by the members of the division. Members of the pool will serve on call for one-year terms.

Each Grade Appeal Hearing Committee will include three members of the Grade Appeal Hearing Pool appointed by the PCFT President** and approved by the Vice President for Learning and Student Success. A good faith effort will be made to appoint at least two members to each committee having reasonable familiarity with the relevant course subject matter. Members of the Pool may abstain from any committee if they stipulate that serving will pose a conflict of interest. In that event another member will be selected from the Pool. Each committee will include, as non-voting members, the Vice President and a student representative chosen by the President of the Associated Student Body of the relevant college. Where a grade appeal involves a grade issued through an Extension Site a good faith effort will be made to have faculty and student Grade Appeal Hearing Committee members from that site. The members of the Grade Appeal Hearing Pool serving on the Grade Appeal Hearing Committee will choose one of themselves to chair that committee.

 

 

* Was done with no basis in reason or fact.
** If the grade appeal is against the PCFT President, the PCFT Vice President will perform this duty.

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