How to appeal a final grade

The end of exam season is in sight, and soon you’ll be anxiously waiting by the computer for your final grades to come in. But what happens if one of your grades seems off the mark? Luckily, Imogene Roulson and the rest of the smart folks at SAMRU’s Student Advocacy Office are back to share their expertise on the process for appealing a final grade.

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The end of the semester is coming! Whether you’re planning fun vacations, lining up summer jobs, or just planning on hanging out at home, you’ll be awaiting your final grades. Say you get a final grade back and it isn’t what you thought it would be – what do you do? You can make a final grade appeal! If you don’t know how to make a final grade appeal, don’t worry! In this short blog we will flesh out the most important facts for you to know.

Although every student holds the right to appeal a final course grade, you will only have a successful appeal of a final grade if you have what the University defines as grounds to appeal at each level of the process. At levels one and two, there are only three grounds on which a final grade for a course may be appealed:

  1. The final grade calculation is missing required course work as indicated in the course outline, and thus not all your work has been calculated (Level 1)
  2. There was a mathematical miscalculation of the final grade (Level 1)
  3. There is an alleged unfair assessment of academic performance (Level 2)

In all cases, only the final grade of a course may be formally appealed, and you can only apply for an appeal after the final marks for the course have been input into the Registrar’s system. In order to have an appeal considered, you must submit a final grade appeal no later than 20 business days from the last day of the final exam period, in the semester that the grade was awarded in.

The process to appeal a final grade has three different levels:

Level 1: Consultation with your instructor

At this level, you would have an informal conversation about an assignment or element of your course that was not included in the calculation of your grade or was potentially miscalculated on your final course grade. If you’re not sure that either of these grounds exist in your case, the conversation can still take place. You could ask questions of the instructor to determine how the grade was calculated and what course requirements from the course outline were included. Resist arguing about the details and gather facts about the grading instead. Consider reviewing our document on meeting preparation before having this conversation. You must take this step before you try to progress further through the grade appeal or review. If you are unsatisfied with outcome of this level, you can proceed to Level 2.

Level 2: Chair Level

At this level you need to submit a Final Grade Review form to the Registrar’s office. This form will be based on your academic work, with the grounds of an alleged unfair assessment of your academic work. This form must be submitted to the Registrar no later than 20 business days after you have received your final grades for a course. At this level, as at other levels of appeal, the Chair may increase, decrease or not change the final grade. The Chair makes this grade change call by considering a number of actions to investigate alleged unfair assessment and gathering facts. The actions a Chair takes at this point in the process are at their discretion. They consider the student’s requests and will often comply with these requests, when they are reasonable. The Chair must respond in writing to you no later than 10 business days after receiving your request for a review from the Registrar’s office. If you are unsatisfied with this decision you can initiate Level 3, only if you have one of three specific grounds at this level.

Level 3: Deal Level

At this level you must submit a Final Grade Appeal form to the Registrar’s office no later than 10 business days after you receive the decision at Level 2. In this form, you must submit the details regarding the grounds for a final grade appeal. The grounds at this level are very specific; if you wish to escalate to this level, it is highly recommended that you read the Academic Regulations section of the current MRU Academic Calendar for further details (p.34-35).

For more information on Final Grade Appeal, we recommend looking over our FAQ sheet. If you still have questions or wish to speak to someone to know if this the right path for you, you can contact Andrea Davis, the Student Advocacy Coordinator!

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