Grade Appeals and Academic Appeals

The Right to Appeal Grades

Political Science instructors are responsible for determining all grades awarded in their courses.  Thus, when a student has questions or concerns about a grade, they should first speak with their instructor. (Note: There is no difference here between a “question” and an “appeal”.)  

  1. Instructors are obliged to respond to students in a timely fashion, though a “cooling off” period before taking questions is reasonable and should be respected. 
  2. Students must initiate Grade Appeals with the instructor by the following deadlines: a) No later than February 1 for courses taught during the immediately preceding Fall-term; b) No later than June 25 for Winter-term or full-year courses taught during the immediately preceding Fall/Winter term; c) No later than courses 30 days after grades are posted on Bear Tracks for Spring/Summer term courses.
  3. If the student is dissatisfied with the instructor's explanation of the grade in an undergraduate course, an appeal can be initiated with the Undergraduate Chair or the Chair (or both).  For graduate students, contact the Graduate Chair or the Chair (or both).  It is fine to inquire before asking to appeal.  

Final exam reappraisals are governed by Faculty regulations under Calendar 23.5.4(2) -- Notification of Results (Reappraisals), including an application and the payment of a fee. To initiate a reappraisal of a final exam, the student must ask the Department to submit a Final Examination Reappraisal form. (Note: The fee is refunded if the appeal is successful.)  Be sure to consult the full Faculty of Arts Grade Appeals Procedures.


Grounds for Grade Appeals

Following the Faculty of Arts Grade Appeal Procedures, the Department recognizes that:

  1. While a student is entitled to an explanation of why any grade was awarded, the following do not constitute grounds for an appeal:
    • Disliking the instructor’s marking scheme
    • Coming close to the instructor’s cut-off point for a higher grade
    • Disagreeing with the instructor’s judgment about the quality of submitted work

  2. Only the following may constitute grounds for an appeal:
    • Errors in calculation
    • Procedural errors
    • Failure to consider all relevant factors
    • Bias and/or discrimination

Department Grade Appeal Process

The Department Chair or Undergraduate Chair will ask for: a) all relevant course materials (including the graded work in question) and b) any relevant correspondence.  If the information provided isn’t sufficient to guide a decision, students will be asked if they want the instructor to be contacted.  

Upon consideration of the student’s reasons for the appeal and the instructor’s reasons for the grade, the appeal with be granted or denied. Instructors will not normally be informed of the outcomes of appeals at the Department level. 


Appealing Department Decisions to the Faculty of Arts

To appeal the Department's decision on a grade appeal, whether informally or formally, students must submit a written petition to the Faculty of Arts Associate Dean of Student Services.  

Students should consult with the Office of the Student Ombuds for advice in formulating appeals and to act as advisors at any appeal hearings.  Be sure to consult the full Faculty of Arts Grade Appeal Procedures


Academic Appeal Procedures

The application of Faculty of Arts regulations and decisions regarding students' academic standing may become the subject of dispute and occasionally a formal appeal. 

Students are encouraged to seek early advice from Arts Undergraduate Student Services, and to resolve their problems first through the Faculty's informal procedures for petition. Students should consult with the Office of the Student Ombuds for advice in formulating appeals and to act as advisors at any appeal hearings.  Be sure to consult the full Faculty of Arts Academic Appeal Procedures.