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Section 5: Grade Appeal Process

Academic Regulations

A student may appeal the final grade for a course if there are grounds to believe that:

  • Evaluation criteria for the course were changed from those articulated;
  • Evaluation standards are substantially unreasonable or different from those applied to other students; or,
  • Evaluation was determined on some basis other than performance.

Please note that grades related to participation, contribution or oral work are not subject to appeal, effective for courses starting after December 5, 2012.

Appeals Process

Royal Roads University is committed to the success of our students. All efforts are made to ensure evaluation criteria are clearly explained and that students receive feedback from their instructor as to their grades. Before launching a formal appeal, a student should make every effort to resolve the issue informally with the instructor(s) involved.

Following an informal process, should a student still disagree with his or her final grade, he or she may request a formal review.

STEP 1

The student must request that the instructor (or designate, such as the head of the academic program in the instructor's absence) review the assigned grade with the student before a formal appeal is launched. This request must be received by the instructor, in writing, within five business days of the student's grade being posted to his or her online Statement of Grades. The instructor must discuss the matter with the student and confirm his/her decision to the student, in writing, within five business days subsequent to receiving the request for an informal review. Should the matter take longer than five business days (for example, due to the time required to co-ordinate a meeting or discussion), the instructor is to notify the student of an extension, in writing, and specify a date by which this review step will be completed.

STEP 2

In the event that the matter is not resolved informally with the instructor, the student may request a review by the head of the academic program (if applicable). This request must be received by the head of the academic program, in writing, within five business days of the student's receipt of the instructor's written decision, per Step 1.

The head of the academic program must discuss the issue with the student and instructor(s) in an attempt to reach resolution. The decision of the head of the academic program shall normally be given in writing to the student not later than 10 business days subsequent to receiving the request for an informal review. Should the matter take longer than 10 business days, the head of the academic program is to advise the student, in writing, that an extension is required. Should the head of the academic program determine that the final grade should not be changed, an explanation and rationale for the decision is to be provided to the student.

STEP 3

In the event that the matter is not resolved informally with the instructor or the head of the academic program (if applicable), the student may request a review by the head of the academic unit, e.g. Associate Dean or School Director level. The head of the academic unit must receive this written request within five business days of the instructor's or (if applicable) head of the academic program's written decision, per Step 2.

The head of the academic unit must discuss the issue with the student and instructor(s) in an attempt to reach resolution. The decision of the head of the academic unit shall normally be given in writing to the student not later than ten business days subsequent to receiving the request for an informal review.

STEP 4

In the event that the matter is not resolved with the head of the academic unit the student may then request a formal review by the Dean. The student must notify the Registrar's Office of his/her intent and complete the grade appeal form (pdf). The student must submit the completed Grade Appeal form to the Dean within five business days of the head of the academic program's written decision with a copy to the Registrar's Office. At this point, any changes to the student's academic records will be suspended, pending resolution of a formal grade appeal.

The formal Grade Appeal request must state clearly:

  1. the student's name and student number;
  2. the course, course dates, and grade received;
  3. the basis for the appeal;
  4. the rationale for the student's belief that a better final grade is warranted;
  5. the steps that have been taken to resolve the issue per Steps 1, 2 and 3.

All relevant information and documentation should be attached. Pleas on compassionate grounds should not form part of the statement.

The Dean or designate (such as the Associate Dean), must discuss the issue with the student and the head of the academic unit and/or instructor and (if applicable) head of the academic program in an attempt to reach resolution. In some cases, the Dean (or designate) may request an independent review by a third party, in which case the student is to be advised and provided with an estimate of the length of time this process will require, which will not normally exceed one month.

The decision of the Dean shall normally be given in writing to the student not later than 10 business days subsequent to receiving the request for a formal review. Should the matter take longer than 10 business days, the Dean is to advise the student, in writing, that an extension is required. Should the Dean determine that the final grade should not be changed, an explanation and rationale for the decision is to be provided to the student. The Registrar's Office is to be advised, by the Dean, of his/her decision.

STEP 5

In the event that the matter is not resolved with the Dean the student may request a formal review by the Vice President Academic. The student must submit the completed Grade Appeal form to the Vice President Academic within five business days of the Dean's written decision with a copy to the Registrar's Office.

The Vice President Academic must discuss the issue with the student and the Dean as well as, if appropriate, the head of the academic unit, head of the academic program and/or instructor. In some cases, the Vice President Academic may request an independent review by a third party, in which case the student is to be advised and provided with an estimate of the length of time this process will require, which will not normally exceed one month.

The Vice President Academic and Provost may either:

  1. raise the grade, lower the grade, or leave the grade unchanged. The decision of the Vice President Academic and Provost is final, however, an explanation and rationale for the decision is to be provided to the student. OR
  2. convene a Grade Appeals Committee to review the matter and make a decision.

STEP 6

The Grade Appeals Committee will be convened and a meeting scheduled at a time when the student and instructor (or head of the academic program or unit) are both available. In the event of a non-resident student or instructor, the committee may, at its discretion, choose to hear the appeal through alternate means such as teleconferencing.

Should either the student or instructor wish to bring a witness(es) or advisor(s) to the hearing, the Chair of the Committee must be informed at least 48 hours in advance. In keeping with the principles of due process, both parties will be afforded a period of time (normally two weeks) and access to relevant information to prepare for the hearing. The deliberations of the committee are in closed session and those appearing before the committee should consider their participation to be confidential.

The Grade Appeals Committee shall consider the request for a formal review and consult with anyone it deems necessary, including the use of an independent assessor.

The decision of the Grade Appeals Committee may be to:

  1. raise the grade, lower the grade, or leave the grade unchanged; and/or,
  2. recommend other courses of action that are appropriate, given the individual circumstances.

The Chair of the Grade Appeals Committee shall provide the committee's decision in writing to the student , the instructor, the Dean, the Vice President Academic and the Registrar. The Grade Appeals Committee may also, at its discretion, make recommendations to the Vice President Academic regarding evaluation standards or grading procedures that may result from the grade appeal process.

Composition of the Grade Appeals Committee

The Grade Appeals Committee consists of a minimum of three members appointed by the Vice President Academic and include: at least one, and preferably two, faculty members (selected from academic programs other than the student's), at least one student (at the same level, i.e. undergraduate or graduate, as the student selected from academic programs other than the student's), the Director, Student Services, and, if appropriate, one other member to be appointed by the Vice President Academic.

The members of the Grade Appeal Committee will select a chair by majority vote and shall determine its own procedure, having regard to its duty to act fairly toward the student. Decisions of the Grade Appeal Committee shall be final and not subject to further appeal.