Course Grade Appeal Process
Grade appeals are for final grade decisions. CCCOnline recognizes that grading decisions are solely determined by its instructors. Extenuating circumstances can exist in rare instances where a student wishes to appeal the final grade. Students who have concerns during a course should click on this link to the CCCOnline Student Concern form.
Grade appeals are not:
- a single assignment or lab dispute;
- a midterm or exam grade;
- differences in judgment or opinion concerning academic performance;
- claims made months or years after a course has ended;
The timeline and process outlined in this document provides an escalation path for student appeals. The decision to change a grade will only be made in cases of clearly established procedural error or substantial capriciousness or arbitrariness in evaluation by an instructor or member of the Faculty. Once received, CCCOnline must begin its investigation immediately.
The burden of proof for any appeal rests on the student to demonstrate that one or more of the following occurred:
- The grading decision was made on some basis other than academic performance and other than as a penalty for academic misconduct.
- The grading decision was based upon standards unreasonably different from those which were applied to other students in the same course and section.
- The grading decision was based on an unreasonable departure from previously articulated standards.
The formal procedure must be started within 30 calendar days after the last day of the course. The Grade Appeal Process officially begins on the date the “Academic Appeal” document is received.
Appeal requests shall be submitted via the CCCOnline Student Concern form. Any evidence, and all direct and supporting statements once made, become part of the permanent record of the appeal and must be produced at each level of appeal.
At each level of appeal, a written, dated decision and written reasons for the decision must be provided to the affected party or parties-the student, the faculty member and any person who has rendered a decision at an earlier level of appeal.
Students are permitted to submit evidence in writing. At the discretion of the institution, students may be invited to present their appeal in person.
Grade Appeal Process
First Level: Appeal to the Course Instructor
A student will first attempt to resolve the issue informally with the instructor before filing a written grievance. Should attempts at informal resolution fail, the student may wish to file a formal appeal.
Second Level: Appeal to the Department Chair
If the student elects to continue the appeal, they may appeal to the Department Chair. Once a formal appeal is presented to the Department Chair, the Department Chair may confer with the Associate Dean before making a determination on the appeal.
The Department Chair shall assure that a written decision or recommendation about the appeal is available or delivered with express reasons within 15 calendar days after receiving the appeal. If the student is dissatisfied with the decision, or does not receive a response from the Department Chair within 30 calendar days, he/she may proceed to the third level of appeal. Should the student or instructor fail to act on the Department Chair’s decision or recommendation within 7 calendar days following its receipt, the accepted recommendation of the instructor or new decision by the Department Chair shall be final.
Third Level: Appeals Committee and Dean of Academic Affairs
If the student elects to continue the appeal after the Department Chair’s decision or recommendation has been received, he/she may take the matter to the next level.
The Associate Dean shall establish, within 7 calendar days, whether the appeal procedures at the first and second levels have been duly followed; if procedures have not been followed, he/she will require that they be followed before taking further action. If all procedures were handled appropriately, the Associate Dean and the Dean of Academic Affairs (or designee) will have an additional 7 days to convene an appeals committee.
The appeals committee must convene as soon as possible, but no later than 30 calendar days after a written and dated request for level three appeal has been received and the Dean of Academic Affairs has ascertained that appeal procedures at the first and second levels have been duly followed. The presence of all eligible committee members (the three instructors and the Dean of Academic Affairs or designee) shall constitute the quorum.
The appeals committee will make a recommendation to the Dean of Academic Affairs or designee. The final decision will be made by the Dean of Academic Affairs or designee. All deliberations of the committee will be closed and confidential. All meetings and subsequent decisions will be communicated to the appropriate college representatives.
The decision of the appeals committee is final.