Skip to main content Skip to main content
MSU Denver Logo and Provost Policy Statement Heading

Grade Appeal

Academics and Research


PDF Version: AA Grade Appeal Policy


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Roles and Responsibilities
  3. Policy Statement
  4. Procedures
  5. Policy History

I. Introduction

  1. Authority: C.R.S. § 23-54-102, et seq. (2019) authorizes the Trustees of Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) to establish rules and regulations to govern and operate the University and its programs. The Trustees authorize the President of MSU Denver, who subsequently authorizes the Provost, to approve, administer, and interpret policies pertaining to the academic functions of the University.

  2. Purpose: This policy states student rights and responsibilities when appealing a grade received in a course.

  3. Scope: This policy applies to MSU Denver undergraduate and graduate students.

II. Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Responsible Executive: Chief Academic Officer

  2. Responsible Administrator: Associate Vice President for Curriculum and Academic Effectiveness

  3. Responsible Office: Academic Affairs Office

  4. Policy Contact: Associate Vice President for Curriculum and Academic Effectiveness, 303-615-1900

III. Policy Statement

MSU Denver supports open communication as the best means to resolve concerns about grades. If a student believes that a grade received for a course does not reflect the quality of the student’s work, the first step is to meet with the instructor for the course on an informal basis. The following will be the only acceptable grounds for formal grade appeals:

  1. The course grade was assigned on a basis other than performance in the course.
  2. The instructor used standards that were different from those allowed for other students in the same class, or different from those allowed in departmental/college/school policies if specific departmental/college/school grading policies exist.
  3. A substantial and unannounced departure from the instructor’s previously articulated standards was used in assigning the grade.
  4. A permanent “F” has been assigned, and the student wishes to appeal.

Only grade appeals based on one or more of the above criteria will be considered. Outside the regular grade change procedure, only the chair of the Grade Review Committee, with proper written authorization from that committee, may initiate the grade exception process.

If a student has reason to question the validity of a grade received in a course, the student must make the request to appeal the grade before the end of the fourth week of the semester following the completion of the course (the following fall semester if the course was completed in the spring semester). It is the responsibility of the student to initiate a grade appeal within the time limit and to follow the procedures for grade appeals specified below. All decisions of the Grade Review Committee are final.

Exceptions to the Grade Appeal Policy

  1. Discrimination. The Grade Appeal Procedure shall constitute the sole, internal, administrative remedy for a change in grade, except when a grade dispute involves an Office of Equal Opportunity discrimination complaint. If a grade dispute arises from an issue that is covered under the University’s Equal Opportunity policies, which address discrimination on the basis of race, color, disability, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or status, such as Vietnam-era or disabled veteran, the student should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity. The Office of Equal Opportunity process for resolution takes precedence over the University’s grade appeal process.
  2. Grade Change due to Error. Grades may NOT be changed on the basis of revised standards of evaluation, new examinations, or additional work undertaken or completed after grades are submitted to the Office of the Registrar. Grades may be changed on the basis of an error in evaluation, computation, or transcription. Grade changes due to error must be submitted within the first seven weeks of the semester following the completion of the class. Spring semester grades may be changed through the seventh week of the following fall semester. Faculty may submit a grade change online to the Office of the Registrar via the Faculty and Staff portal.
  3. Grade Change due to Incomplete. A faculty member may change an Incomplete (I) notation at any time within three consecutive semesters (including summer semester) after the end of the semester in which the class was attempted. At the end of the third consecutive semester (one calendar year), if the incomplete notation remains on the academic record, it will become an “F.”

IV. Procedures

The Grade Appeal Procedure shall have both an informal and a formal resolution process. The student must attempt informal resolution prior to filing a formal grade appeal.

  1. Informal Resolution Process

    1. Step 1. The informal resolution process must take place before the last day of the fourth week of the semester following the assignment of the grade. The student must meet with the instructor prior to meeting with the chair or proceeding to the formal appeal process.
    2. Step 2. If the instructor is not available to meet with the student or does not respond to the student’s request to meet and/or the student is not satisfied with the result of the informal meeting with the instructor, the student must meet with the chair of the department to attempt to resolve the grade concern prior to filing a formal grade appeal. During the informal resolution process, the student may meet with the dean or the dean’s designee to clarify the grade appeal policy and process. The student may also access Student Conflict Resolution Services for assistance in the process. Students are encouraged to use the informal resolution process to clarify any miscommunications with the instructor or confusion about course expectations.

  2. Formal Resolution Process

    1. Step 1: File a Petition with the Dean. After meeting with the instructor and the chair and failing to resolve the grade concerns, the student may initiate a formal resolution process. The student must file a Petition for Grade Appeal with the dean of the instructor’s college or school by the last day of the fifth week of the semester following the course for which the grade was assigned. Deans may designate an associate or assistant dean to act in their places for the purposes of the Grade Appeal Procedure.
      1. Timeline: A Petition for Grade Appeal for a grade assigned in fall term shall be filed in the spring term. A Petition for Grade Appeal for a grade assigned in spring or summer term shall be filed in the following fall term. If the dean determines that it is academically necessary for the grade appeal to be processed during a summer term, they will facilitate the process by developing an appropriate timeline and submitting a copy of the timeline to the chair and the executive vice president of academic affairs or their designee. With the exception of the deadline set for filing the Petition for Grade Appeal, the timelines for the process may be extended by written agreement of the student and dean or by the Office of Academic Affairs if good cause is shown.
      2. Process: It is the student’s responsibility to obtain and file the Petition for Grade Appeal form and to follow the procedural rules for the appeal process. The student is advised to keep a copy of all documents submitted. The Petition for Grade Appeal form is available through each academic dean’s office and the Office of the Registrar. A separate Petition for Grade Appeal must be filed for each course in which a grade is disputed. Access to all documents submitted is restricted to those involved in the grade appeal process or otherwise having a need to know. The student must provide the dean with a completed Petition for Grade Appeal and all material that relates to the disputed grade at the time that the formal Petition for Grade Appeal is submitted. The petition must include:
        1. A statement addressing how the appeal meets one or more of the four criteria necessary for a formal grade appeal.
        2. A description of what occurred during the informal resolution process.
        3. Copies of all graded materials from the course that are in the student's possession.
        4. Any relevant documents the student would like to be reviewed as part of the appeal process.
        5. A copy of the course syllabus/class policies (if the student has a copy).
      3. The dean will forward a copy of the Petition for Grade Appeal to the chair of the department to notify the chair that a formal procedure has been initiated. The chair will be responsible for passing materials regarding the grade appeal on to the instructor. Within 15 working days of receiving the formal appeal, the dean will assess whether one or more of the criteria have been met in the Petition for Grade Appeal. The dean may contact the student, instructor or chair to ask questions and/or request further information or documents in the process of assessing whether the appeal meets the criteria. The dean may request that the instructor provide a written response to the student’s Petition for Grade Appeal and may request any additional documentation necessary to assess the Petition for Grade Appeal at this point in the process. Additional documentation may include graded materials in the instructor’s possession. If any of the material provided by the instructor is confidential, e.g., examinations that may be used in subsequent terms, such materials shall be made available for review but shall not be made part of the Petition for Grade Appeal. The instructor has five working days to provide the response and materials requested by the dean to the dean and chair. A copy of the written response will be provided for the student. In their decision, the dean may:
        1. Deny the appeal and send a letter or email to inform the student, the instructor and the chair of the instructor's department within five working days.
        2. Decide that one or more of the criteria may have been met and continue the formal appeal process. If the dean has not already requested a written response to the Petition for Grade Appeal from the instructor, the dean will make that request. The instructor has five working days to provide the written response and any additional materials requested to the student, chair, and dean. The dean will contact the student, instructor and chair within 15 working days of receiving the Petition for Grade Appeal to convene a meeting of all parties. The purpose of the meeting is to seek resolution of the appeal. Minutes shall be taken at the meeting.
      4. If the appeal is resolved through the process of the meeting, the formal appeal process will end. The dean will write a report summarizing the resolution.
      5. If the appeal is not resolved at the meeting, the dean shall send a copy of the minutes from the meeting, with a written recommendation, to the student, the instructor and the chair within five working days after the conclusion of the meeting.
      6. The dean will send a copy of all materials relating to the Petition for Grade Appeal to the Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs or their designee for record-keeping purposes within five working days after the conclusion of the meeting or after sending a letter stating the appeal does not meet the criteria.
    2. Step 2: File the Petition with the Grade Review Committee. If the appeal is not resolved to the student's satisfaction at the dean's level and the student wants the formal process to continue, the student must send a written request to the Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs or their designee within five working days of receiving either a letter stating that the appeal does not meet the criteria or the recommendation based on the meeting from the dean. The Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs or designee will inform the dean, chair and instructor that the Grade Review Committee will review the appeal.
      1. The members of the Grade Review Committee shall review all documents submitted by the dean and meet to discuss whether to hear the appeal or not within 20 working days. The Grade Review Committee will not conduct a re-evaluation of the student's work and will not change the grade of an individual assignment. The Grade Review Committee will hold a hearing for the Petition for Grade Appeal only if the appeal meets one of the four criteria necessary for a formal appeal.
      2. The Grade Review Committee may decide that they will not hear the appeal because no criterion has been met, or the petition is substantially incomplete. The Grade Review Committee shall send written notification of their decision not to hear the appeal within five working days to the student, instructor, chair and dean, and the formal appeal process is over.
      3. If the appeal is heard, the Grade Review Committee shall notify the student, instructor, chair and dean, and will request their presence at the hearing meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to have all parties to the grade dispute provide answers and clarifications that members of the Grade Review Committee may need in order to make a sound decision on the case.
      4. The decision of the Grade Review Committee shall be in the form of a motion, duly made and seconded, and adopted by a majority of the Grade Review Committee members present and voting, assuming a quorum is met. In its decision, the Grade Review Committee may:
        1. Deny the appeal on its merits, with the effect that the disputed grade will remain on the student's academic record.
        2. Grant the appeal and change the final grade to a grade or grade equivalent that is determined appropriate by the Grade Review Committee.
      5. The Grade Review Committee will inform the student, instructor, chair and dean of its decision in writing within five working days of the hearing. The decision of the Grade Review Committee is final and may not be appealed.
      6. If the Grade Review Committee finds in favor of the student's appeal, then the chair of the Grade Review Committee acquires the authority to initiate the grade exception process. The chair of the Grade Review Committee has five working days to notify the instructor of the decision and to initiate the grade exception process.
      7. The Petition for Grade Appeal and all attachments will be kept in the Office of Academic Affairs for a minimum period of three years.

  3. Grade Review Committee Membership and Procedures

    1. The Grade Review Committee shall consist of eight members as follows:
      1. Two members shall be elected by and from faculty from the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
      2. One member shall be elected by and from faculty from the College of Professional Studies.
      3. One member shall be elected by and from the faculty from the College of Business.
      4. One member shall be elected by and from the faculty from the School of Education.
      5. Two student members shall be appointed by the Student Government Assembly.
      6. One non-voting, ex-officio member from the Office of Academic Affairs shall be appointed by the Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs. Responsibilities of this member shall include staff assistance and record keeping.
    2. The term of membership on the Grade Review Committee shall be two years, with terms staggered, except that the term of the student members shall be one year. Terms shall begin on the first day of classes of the fall semester.
    3. Members may serve successive terms.
    4. Elections of faculty from each school or college shall occur in the spring, and members shall take office on the first day of classes of the fall semester.
    5. The representative from the Office of Academic Affairs shall convene the first meeting of the Grade Review Committee in the fall, at which time the members shall elect a chair.
    6. A meeting of the Grade Review Committee to consider and vote on a Petition for Grade Appeal must have a quorum of voting members.
    7. The Grade Review Committee shall prepare a written summary of the committee's decisions, the rationale for its decisions and the vote tally on the appeal. The summary shall be added to all existing documentation of the appeal.
    8. All documentation in a grade appeal shall be maintained in the Office of Academic Affairs for a three-year period.
    9. The Chair of the Grade Review Committee shall provide a yearly report of appeal activities, including recommendations for amending the Student Grade Appeal Policy, to the Office of Academic Affairs by the last day in June. Copies will be sent to all academic deans.

  4. Definitions

    1. Informal Resolution means informal discussions that lead to the resolution of a grade dispute the student may have with the instructor, the chair of a department and/or the dean of a school.
    2. Grade appeal procedure means the formal resolution procedure.
    3. The time limits refer to weeks, not days of weeks.
    4. The end of day means 5 p.m. on the designated day (i.e., end of a working day).
    5. The last day of the week means the Friday of a calendar week.
    6. Week ordinarily means Monday-Friday. If, for example, classes are not in session on a Monday, the designated week still ends on Friday.
    7. Working day means any day classes or examinations are scheduled, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
    8. Assigned grade means a letter grade (e.g., A, B, C, D or F), grade equivalent (e.g. S/U), or the temporary grade of I (Incomplete).

V. Policy History

  1. Approved by: Provost

  2. Effective: July 1, 2019

  3. Revised: November 2016

  4. Review: This policy will be reviewed every three years or as deemed necessary by University leadership.

Edit this page