George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Procedure for Students Appealing a Grade

First ask the instructor in writing (email is acceptable) to reconsider the grade and include a rationale for the grade appeal. The claim must deal with the fairness of grading policies or how procedures were applied to all students in class. Student preferences for certain teaching styles, testing methods, or faculty feedback will not be considered as a basis for appeal. It is important to note that the purpose of an appeal is not to regrade any student work within the course.

In the case that you and the instructor are unable to agree, you may appeal the case in writing to the head of the academic unit (department chair, director) using the CHHS Grade Appeal Form. Contact the CHHS Office of Student Affairs to request the CHHS Grade Appeal Form.

Complete the CHHS Grade Appeal Form and submit it to the CHHS Office of Student Affairs with all of the required documents: a typed statement explaining the merits of this appeal, the syllabus, relevant graded work from the course in question, and the written appeal to the instructor. The CHHS Office of Student Affairs will forward the form and documents to the appropriate academic unit head to begin the review process. It is the goal that the grade appeal review process be completed in 4 – 6 weeks. If you do not submit the CHHS Grade Appeal Form and required documents, there will not be a review process and the grade will remain.

Grade Appeal Review Process

Step 1. Academic unit head decides whether there is sufficient merit to warrant a review by a faculty committee.

If the unit head decides that there is sufficient merit to warrant a faculty review, they will form a review committee of three faculty members who are peers of the instructor who assigned the grade. The instructor and the student may each challenge and have replaced one of the three members of the review committee without giving a reason for the challenge. Go to Step 3.

If the unit head determines that the appeal does not have merit, go to Step 2.

Step 2. Associate Dean of Student Affairs decides whether there is sufficient merit to warrant a review by a faculty committee.

If the Associate Dean feels there is merit to the complaint, a review committee will be formed as above and then the process continues from Step 3.

If the Associate Dean of Student Affairs concludes the student’s appeal does not have merit, no review is conducted and the grade remains.

Step 3. The Review committee issues a recommendation.

The review committee will meet separately with the instructor and the student to explore the full particulars of the case. One nonparticipating observer of the student’s choice may attend the meetings. The committee’s review of the case will deal with the fairness of grading policies in the syllabus or how procedures were applied to all students in class. After the committee has reviewed the case thoroughly, it will issue a written recommendation and reason for its findings about the matter to the unit head (with a copy to the faculty member).

If the review committee supports the appeal, go to Step 4.

If the review committee does not support the appeal, go to Step 5.

Step 4. The faculty member takes the recommended action, if any.

If the faculty member takes the action recommended by the review committee, a new grade is submitted and the review process ends.

If not, go to Step 5.

Step 5. Unit head submits their recommendation to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. 

If the matter is not resolved at this point, the unit head will consider the review committee’s recommendation and forward his or her own recommendation to CHHS’ Associate Dean of Student Affairs. Go to Step 6.

Step 6. Associate Dean reviews the appeal and makes a final decision. The decision of the Associate Dean is not subject to further appeal.

If the Associate Dean decides that a change of grade is appropriate and the faculty member refuses to make the change, the Associate Dean may direct the Registrar to do so. A new grade is submitted and the review process ends.

If the Associate Dean decides that a change of grade is not appropriate, the grade remains and the review process ends

The process is summarized in the following flow chart.

Flow chart summarizing grade appeal process

Adopted by CHHS Administrative Council 12/18/2018

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