Process of the Week: Grade Appeals

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

What do you do when you need a grade appeal? Well, we here at The Retort want to help you get on the right path.

Before we give you the steps we must explain that grade appeals cannot be filed after 15 University Business days, roughly 3 weeks, from the official release date of those grades.

All "days" are subject to University Business Days, typically Weekdays from 8 AM to 5 PM.

NOTE: At any point during the process, the resolution may be provided. Not all Appeals will reach the final steps. Also, just because the process is started DOES NOT guarantee a successful appeal.

Everything can be done via email, but trails of the conversation must be kept. Not all meetings need to be in person.

Step 1:

The Student must meet or attempt to make appropriate contact with the instructor and discuss their reasons for the grade appeal. Don't forget to bring appropriate documentation to make available for this meeting. This step must be done within the 15-day time frame.

The University would like to have the student and instructor discuss the details, in a reasonable, open manner, and formulate an agreeable resolution.

Step 2:

If the meeting (or attempt at a meeting) did not provide a resolution, the student must then contact the Student Resolution Officer (SRO) of ASMSUB. This provides the SRO some time to discuss the reasons for the appeal. The SRO can also help schedule a meeting between the student and the instructor. However, if step 1 was not successful, the SRO can help move the grade appeal into step 3.

The Instructor will also submit a formal decision to the student, in writing, within 15 University Business Days, a copy of this letter must also be sent to the SRO.

What to provide to the SRO (Students):

  • Any documentation supporting your claim

  • A copy of the Course Syllabus.

This information should be presented at the meeting with the instructor.

Step 3:

If no resolution is found in Step 1 or 2, then the dispute may be brought before the Department Chair of the relevant department. (Skip to Step 4 if the dispute is with said Department Chair). All documentation (See Below) must be provided to the Department Chair within 10 University Business Days, roughly 2 weeks, of the issuing of the formal decision by the Instructor. The Department will submit a formal decision to the student, in writing, within the 15-day span. A copy of the letter must be sent to the SRO and Vice Provost of Academic Affairs (VPAA).

What to provide the Department Chair (Students):

  • All prior documentation that was provided

  • A letter of Appeal

Step 4:

If Step 3 yields no resolution, the appeal may be brought before the Dean of the relevant college. Again, all documentation and a letter of appeal must be submitted to the Dean within a 10-day span. The student will schedule a meeting with the Dean, where the SRO will also be present. The Dean, as the representative of the relevant college, has the authority to review ALL documentation, discuss the matter with the instructor and Department Chair, and formulate a resolution. The Dean will submit a formal decision to the student within the typical 15-day period. A copy of this letter will also be sent to the SRO and VPAA

Step 5:

The absence of a resolution will force the appeal to appear before the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs. A letter of Appeal and all documentation must be submitted within 10 days of the Dean's decision. The VPAA will review all grade appeal materials and documentation and will determine if the appeal needs to be brought to the Campus Hearing Committee. The Campus Hearing Committee is a group of, at most, three students who are chosen by the Associated Students of Montana State University Billings (ASMSUB), three faculty members chosen by the VPAA, and the VPAA, who will serve as the Hearing Officer. The Campus Hearing Committee will follow prescribed hearing procedures and will make a recommendation to the Chancellor, the final decision-maker. The Chancellor's decision will then be formalized and sent to the student.

All of this information was paraphrased from the Student Handbook's Grade Appeal Policy (Pg. 13-15.)

ALL progression through the steps must be pushed by the student. The faculty/SRO is not responsible for the steps progressing.

The Student does almost all communication with each person as the steps progress. The SRO simply keeps track of everything and helps the student navigate who to talk to next.

For more information about different processes, you can check them out in the Student Handbook

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