Policy: Grade Appeal (3.8.1)

See PDF copy of this policy.

 (System Policy 3.8)

Rochester Community and Technical College faculty have the responsibility and authority to establish the requirements and standards for course expectations and the evaluation of student performance. Faculty have the right to determine their own grading policy, which shall include grading criteria and procedures used to determine final grades. The faculty’s grading policy shall be included in the class syllabus. Grades submitted by faculty to the Registrar’s Office are presumed to be accurate.


If a student believes, for the reasons of arbitrariness and/or error, the criteria and procedures were not followed as described in the class syllabus, the student shall have the right to appeal the final grade and seek remedy. Students who choose to appeal a final grade assume the burden of proof concerning any believed error in the grade assigned.


Part 1. Definitions:

Arbitrariness: the final class grade awarded represents a departure from accepted academic norms as to demonstrate that the instructor did not exercise proper professional judgment, or the instructor deviated from the evaluation criteria established by the grading policy described in the course syllabus.


Error: the final class grade awarded reflected an error of fact (calculation error, omission, etc.), or the instructor failed to give the student in the course adequate notice of grading policies and procedures in the syllabus or other form of communication.


If the student believes that the grade received is based upon discrimination or prejudice, the student should follow the RCTC Student Grievance policy/procedures.


Part 2. Procedure:

Step 1:    Prior to filing a grade appeal, the student, within thirty (30) calendar days following grades being posted, must contact the instructor about the grade awarded to discuss the specifics of the perceived incorrect grade and to seek resolution. Every effort should be made by both parties to resolve the matter as expeditiously as time and circumstances permit. The instructor, at his/her discretion, may consult with the appropriate Program Leader/Division Chair. If the instructor is no longer with the College or is unavailable to the student, the student shall proceed to step two.


Step 2:    If resolution is not achieved in meeting with the instructor, the student may file a formal grade appeal within ten (10) class days of meeting with the instructor. To do so the student must:

    • Submit a written Grade Appeal Form to the appropriate Dean.
      • Grade Appeal Forms can be obtained from the office of the Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs and are located in RCTC e-forms.
    • Provide clear documentation that demonstrates grounds for an appeal. (Documentation may be in the form of email communications, graded assignments, proof of timely submissions, the class syllabus, etc.)
    • Provide written evidence of first meeting with the instructor, or evidence that the instructor was unavailable to complete Step 1.


If the documented evidence appears compelling, within ten (10) class days, the Dean will forward the student’s written statement and documentation to the instructor for a formal response. Within ten (10) class days, the instructor will provide a written response to the Dean supporting or denying the appeal request, or request to meet with the Dean and/or student.


If the documented evidence is not compelling, the Dean will provide a written response to the student within ten (10) class days and will also notify the instructor that the student’s appeal was received and denied.


The Dean may request an appeal meeting that includes the student and the instructor, however the instructor is not obligated to participate in such a meeting. The instructor is entitled to union representation or a witness during such a meeting. In the event that a meeting is requested by either the instructor or Dean and is scheduled, the student may invite an advocate to sit in, but this individual may not participate except to witness the meeting. The Dean will render a decision in writing within ten (10) class days of the appeal meeting with the student and instructor.


The Dean’s decision will be documented on the RCTC Grade Appeal Form and provided to the student, instructor, the Academic Standards Committee, and the Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs.


Step 3:    If the decision of the Dean does not satisfactorily resolve the issue, the student or instructor may, in writing, request an Appeal Review by the Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs. This request must be made within ten (10) class days of the date of notification of the appeal decision by the Dean in Step 2.


The written request for an Appeal Review must not simply restate the original appeal, but must provide additional evidence that the grade appeal process was not completed properly or that not all the evidence submitted was fully considered in the appeal process.

New evidence cannot be added in the request for an Appeal Review.


  • The Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs will review the request for Appeal Review to determine its merit. The Executive Vice President may schedule a meeting between any combination of the student, the instructor, and the Dean, but the instructor is not obligated to participate in such a meeting. The instructor is entitled to union representation or a witness during such a meeting. The student is entitled to bring an advocate, but only as a witness to the meeting.
  • Within ten (10) class days of the Appeal Review meeting, the Executive Vice President will render a decision in writing to the student, instructor, Dean and Academic Standards Committee. The decision of the Executive Vice President is final.


Part 3. Limitations: Students may only use the Grade Appeal policy and procedures for final course grades. Concerns and complaints about individual tests, quizzes, papers, and project grades cannot be appealed; however, efforts to resolve these concerns and complaints may become part of the evidence used in a Formal Grade Appeal.


Part 4. Maintenance of Records: All formal grade appeal documents, and relevant evidence, will be scanned and electronically stored with the Office of the Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs for the period of ten (10) years.

File name sequence for storage of formal appeal documents: GradeAppeal_StudentName_ID_Course_Semester


Date of Implementation: Immediate
Date of Adoption: 2/13/2008

Revisions Adopted: 2/13/17