Grade Appeal

Grade Appeal Procedure and Process
School of Business Administration
Gonzaga University

(Approved & adopted by the SBA Faculty: 11/5/2010)

Note:  This process is intended to neither substitute for, nor supersede, the scholarly and educational judgment of the instructor except in unusual circumstances.  Students and professional educators recognize that differences of opinion will always exist between the evaluator and the evaluated.  In the university setting, the trained opinion of the instructor will take precedence in all but the most extreme cases of questionable judgment or in cases of fact.   Furthermore, some ambiguity will often exist in coursework, just as it does in the real world, and the context of the classroom and the assigned study materials carry significant weight in the interpretation of this work.   Thus, the existence of ambiguity is routine and is not on its face a matter meriting appeal.  It is a student's responsibility to whenever possible take steps to resolve issues of uncertainty that exist in their minds as part of the normal routine of academic coursework.

Students having appeals or complaints regarding their semester grades or other important instructional matters, should first personally discuss them with the instructor.  It is anticipated that this discussion will resolve most concerns.   (Should the student be unable to contact the instructor after some effort including emails and phone messages, then the student should contact the Associate Dean of the School of Business.)  If the discussion with the instructor does not resolve the concern, and it is a very important issue, then the student should send a formal, written letter of concern (not an email) to the instructor.  This letter should: (a) describe the concern/complaint and the importance of its effect on the student; (b) attest that a verbal discussion with the instructor did take place and did not resolve the concern in the opinion of the student; (c) include the student's ID, contact information, the course number/section and semester; (d) the remedy sought by the student.  This letter must be sent within four weeks after the beginning of the next regular semester (Fall or Spring) following the semester in question.   The instructor will respond to the student in writing within one month of the receipt of the letter.  If the issue remains unresolved to the student's satisfaction, then the student may forward the original letter of concern and the instructor's response to the Associate Dean of the School of Business, within one month of the instructor's response.  The Associate Dean may take steps in order to ensure an informed decision.  These steps may (but not necessarily) include speaking with the instructor, with the student, and with other students and instructors as he or she deems necessary.  The Associate Dean will provide a written decision to both the student and instructor within one month of receiving the forwarded documents.  If either the student or the instructor wishes, they may appeal the Associate Dean's decision to the Dean of the School of Business and, if necessary, to the Academic Vice President, according to the University's policy.

In summary:

If a student has concerns and/or complaints about grades or an important instructional issue, then the following steps are to be followed (in order).

1.      Face-to-face meeting with the instructor in a good faith effort to express concerns and resolve the issue.

2.      If this meeting does not resolve the issue, then the student may send a written appeal to the instructor, delivered within four weeks after the beginning of the next regular semester of instruction following the term in question.  This should be a signed, hardcopy letter:

  • describing the concern/complaint and the importance of its effect on the student;
  • attesting that a verbal discussion with the instructor did take place and did not resolve the concern in the opinion of the student;
  • Including the student's ID, contact information, the course number/section and the semester that the course was taken;
  • describing the remedy sought by the student.

3.     The instructor will send a written response to the student's letter within one month of its receipt.

4.      If the instructor's response does not resolve the issue, then both the student's letter and the instructor's response may be forwarded to the Associate Dean of the School of Business within one month of the instructor's response.  It is up to the student to forward these documents to the Associate Dean.

5.      The Associate Dean will take steps necessary to make an informed decision regarding the student letter and instructor's response.  The Associate Dean's response will be sent to both parties within one month of his/her receipt of the original documents.

If either  the student or the instructor is not satisfied with the Associate Dean's decision, then the matter may be brought, first, to the attention of the Dean of the School of Business and, if necessary, to the Academic Vice President, according to University policy.