Grade Appeals

The Right to Appeal:

Political science instructors are responsible for determining the grades awarded in their courses. When a student has concerns, questions, or complaints regarding a grade received in a political science course, that student should speak with their instructor as soon as possible. Do not delay. Except in the case of work handed back at the final exam, appeals of term work should normally be initiated before the final exam. When requested to do so, the instructor must provide an explanation of the grade or, when appropriate, a reassessment of the work. If the student is dissatisfied with the instructor's explanation of the grade, an appeal can be initiated with the Departmental Chair or Undergraduate Chair.

Grounds for Appeal:

The Department will not recognize or act on petitions lacking substantive and sufficient grounds for appeal. The following, for example, are not typically recognized as grounds for appeal:

  • Being close to the next highest grade
  • Generally disliking the instructor's grading criteria and grading scheme
  • Generally disagreeing with the evaluation of, or grade assigned to, the work in question

Following the Faculty of Arts Grade Appeal Procedures, the Department recognizes the following grounds for appealing assigned grades:

  • Error in calculation
  • Procedural errors, such as deviating from the course outline
  • Failure to consider all relevant factors, including extenuating circumstances for poor performance
  • Credible claims of instructor bias or discrimination
  • Credible claims of instructor error in interpretation (including misunderstandings of the student's work or different readings of a relevant text or issue)
  • Credible claims of instructor incompetence or unprofessional conduct

Appeal Decisions:

If there are grounds for an appeal based on factors other than how written work was evaluated, the Chair may ask the instructor for an explanation of how the grade was awarded, then decide the outcome of the appeal rather than having the assignment formally reread.

If there are grounds for an appeal based on how written work was evaluated, the Chair or Undergraduate Chair will designate two qualified members of the Department to read the work. If both readers effectively agree on a change of grade (roughly concurring on the direction and magnitude of a grade change) the Chair or Undergraduate Chair will substitute the new assignment grade and recalculate the student's course grade.

The Chair will inform the student and the instructor of the outcome of the appeal. The student will not receive comments from the readers. If necessary, the Chair will submit a Change of Grade or Exam Reappraisal form.

Appealing Departmental Decisions:

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

Final Exam Grades:

Reappraisal of final exams is governed by Faculty regulations under Calendar 23.5.4(2), and is subject to a fee set out in 22.2.12. 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.)