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How can I appeal a grade in college?

In college, you work hard, you study, and you complete all of your assignments and papers. You log into your student account to check your grades and immediately see a problem. A grade or two seems wrong. The professor must have made a mistake. You email your professor and dispute the grade. They respond with no, they will not change it. Or worse, the professor does not respond at all. What can you do? You can fight by filing a grade appeal or grade dispute.

What is a grade appeal or grade dispute?

A grade appeal is a formal challenge of your course grade. There are a typically a specific set of circumstances in which one can be filed. Many schools have a variation of the following grade appeal categories:

  1. A technical error in grading – Perhaps a test was improperly scored, a test question was unfair or unclear, or you believe the grade was mistakenly entered.
  2. The grade was assigned arbitrarily – meaning the professor gave a student a grade without any reason or system of evaluation.
  3. The grade was capricious – this means that the professor assigned a grade based on other factors outside of course performance.
  4. Discrimination – Unfair grading based on a professors opinion or other factors that were not based on course performance.

What is the procedure when filing a grade appeal or grade dispute?

The procedure for a grade appeal is outlined in the college handbook, policies and/or procedures of the school. There are strict time restrictions that must be followed. Most schools require that a student first meets to discuss the appeal with the professor. If it cannot be resolved with the professor, the student will need to appear before a grade appeal board. The board will be composed of faculty and students.

What evidence should I present to win my grade appeal or grade dispute?

That depends on the category your appeal falls into (arbitrary, capricious, discrimination, technical error). Your evidence needs align with the elements of the category you are filing the appeal under. You must be very clear and concise when presenting your evidence.

If I lose my grade appeal, can I appeal the denial?

Typically no. Once you reach a grade appeal board hearing, the decision is final. Unless the board does not follow the procedure regarding hearings, the appeal board’s decision is final. You only get one shot. This is why I recommend hiring an education lawyer with grade appeal experience. I often help students write their written submissions and outline arguments to present in their appeal. These professionally crafted arguments and submissions will put students in the best position for success.

Click here to read our practice area page on grade changes, appeals, and disputes.

Richard Asselta is an award-winning education lawyer with offices in both Florida and New Jersey and offers services to students throughout the United States. He is experienced in writing student grade appeals and disputes at both the K-12 and college level. Call The Education Lawyers today for a free consultation and protect your educational future. (855) 338-5299

Click here to read what client's are saying about Richard Asselta on AVVO, a lawyer review website.

Categories: Blog, Education Law

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