OCCC changes student grade appeal process
The President’s Cabinet voted to approve changes to “Procedure 4030: Student Appeal of a Grade” at a meeting April 11. Academic Affairs Vice President Felix Aquino said the change will take effect immediately, although earlier reports said changes would likely not take place before fall.
“Part of the issue was that new policies go into the student handbook, and the student handbook has to be printed.”
The new appeals process now allows for a committee to make the final determination in changing a final grade that a student disagrees with, whereas the former process gave the professor who gave the grade the final say.
According to the revised policy, the first step in a grade appeal is for a student to meet with the instructor who assigned the final grade within 90 calendar days to attempt to resolve the matter.
If the grade is not changed and the student continues to disagree with it, the student may submit a completed “Student Appeal of a Grade” form to the appropriate division office.
The division dean will then request information from the instructor and review the case before meeting with the student.
The dean will make a recommendation to the instructor based on the findings and notify the student in writing by certified mail of the instructor’s decision.
If the student still believes the grade is incorrect, then the student may request an appeal hearing before a Grade Appeal Committee in writing, directed to the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. The request must be within five working days of receipt of notification about the instructor’s decision.
Under the new policy, the committee is composed of six faculty members, one from each division, not to include the instructor involved, and three students, selected by the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services.
The committee will listen to the student and the instructor and request any relevant information before coming to a decision in a private meeting following the hearing.
If the committee unanimously votes it is ‘highly probable that the assigned final grade is incorrect,’ according to the official policy, the grade will be changed.
The Vice President of Academic Affairs will notify the student and instructor within five working days of the committee’s decision.
Some students shared their thoughts on the changes.
Lindsey Huddleston, psychology major, said students should get whatever grade the professor feels they earned but that it should be an unbiased decision.
“The teacher shouldn’t be able to decide, ‘well, I’m just going to give you this grade or this grade because I just don’t like you or something.’”
Brandon Roberts, Computer Aided Technology major, said he likes the revised process because it will weed out any biases.“I think if you got a bad grade and it wasn’t one you deserved, it should be changed. But if you earned a bad grade, it should not be changed.”
Dansi Rushing, premed major, said he liked the old way.
“I think it probably should be the teacher’s final say,” he said. “I guess it just depends on the situation, on how it should be handled.”
Timara Williams, computer programming major, said it may make a difference for those who get a bad grade under circumstances that can’t be helped.
“My sister had to appeal a grade once and they denied her appeal. It was a different school but they wouldn’t even accept her doctor’s note and she’d had surgery.”
Daniel Köehlor, mathematics and biology major, said he believes it levels the playing field for students.
“Yeah, I think that would be a little more fair, depending on if the student thought the teacher was being a little biased or playing favorites,” Köehlor said. “However, I think it might cause a little controversy with students who are maybe a little more disagreeable.
“I think that the way that [teachers] grade is fair for the most part and grades are generally a reflection of the student’s ability. I can see how there might be the rare case where that gets skewed.”
Aquino said he agrees with all of the changes made on the policy.
“[I want to] thank the [Instructional Administrative Procedures Committee] for their hard work on this. They struggled with this for the better part of this academic year.”
The full policy can be found at www.occc.edu/policy/4030.pdf.