What would you do if one day you woke up feeling that your college professor did you wrong over a grade or two? Well, you know, most students dread grade appeals, right? They get mad at college life, or worse still, want to go for the tutor’s jugular.

Or practically, threaten the Prof that they risk facing legal action. Neither of these options can solve the problem. To worsen things, you might face undue embarrassment or disciplinary action should the rage go overboard.

Then the bad grade will become your least worry. Instead, you should find a way to fix a grade dispute without litigation or harming someone physically.

It all goes down to following the right procedure for grade appeals and grade disputes. 

Reasons to Appeal College Grades

At many colleges and institutions of higher learning, learners have due process privileges and rights. One of those rights is the right to appeal college grades. If you have never been involved in a grade appeal, you should never get worried at all. Work to ensure that you never are.

So, when does a grade appeal arise? Well, it arises when circumstances cause a grade to be disputed by a student. Certain procedures limit the grades appeal process.

What are some of the most common reasons to appeal college grades, it’s worthwhile noting that all kinds of appeals are usually based on something. But the most obvious reason is that most students want higher grades. Think of the college grade appeal procedure like a civil lawsuit.

You see, any person can sue another person for anything. The outcomes are: the lawsuit may proceed to the trial level, or get thrown out of court. No matter the outcome, all citizens are entitled to file the suit. Students at most colleges have similar rights. But before submitting their appeals, students must clearly state the reason (s) for their appeals. 

That said, here are some of the reasons to appeal college grades;

reasons to appeal college grades

Grading Ambiguity

This is the most common reason to appeal college grades. It happens when a student disagrees with a professor or faculty member on the interpretation of required course content. In this case, the student ends up unsatisfied, and that’s quite obvious.

If the issue cannot be solved even after conversations and consultations with the involved parties, the affected student can file a formal appeal to the Chair of Department (COD) under which the professor falls.

If the case becomes difficult for the COD, the student can request the chair to form a 3-member appeals committee, which will make the final decision. So, as a student, there’s no point of fearing to make a grades appeal, at least if you feel that yours is a case of grading ambiguity.

Instructor’s Failure to Stick to Syllabus

This is yet another weighty reason for a student to appeal college grades. Students are entitled to special considerations if a professor changed assignments, dates, and any other thing that might have impacted on the final grade, such as the changing the number of tests.

At most colleges, there are no tentative syllabi. A professor is required to issue a syllabus that clearly states what a student should do in order to be graded, or to receive a given percentage.

This means that before the start of any class, an instructor should make sure to inform students about what is required of them throughout the unit. They don’t have to list the materials they will use to teach, nor should they make it known how the tests will look like, but they should at least make the grading criteria known to the students.

Making an appeal based on this reason is certainly a battle not worth fighting, as you could easily create a bad reputation of yourself with the department. However, if you can field a strong case, it’s advisable to argue.

Inequity in Awarding Marks

We all have heard horror tales of biases behind grading in colleges. We’re talking about some teachers awarding students marks on non-academic achievements, for example, based on whether assignments were typed or had proper headings. Or for such jokes as participation, effort. You know, and truth be told, some tutors stray off course and create space for inequitable and inconsistent grading. Such strange criteria are always infused with biases. When this happens, grades lose their validity and meaning.

That being said, a student can make a claim that a fellow student was awarded more credit for similar tests, or based on non-academic effort.

Hard Work

It goes without saying that achieving success in college is not always an easy feat, as it takes some decent time and perseverance to make it through college.

You have a lot of homework assignments, research work, many class hours, and yet still, you’re required to make time for your self-improvement.

Or make time to do some washing or catch up with the latest movies in town. You know, college comes with an insane amount of stress, but at the end of it all, you’ll be glad that you put in so much effort to achieve your academic goals.

Often, we feel that we deserve more credit for our effort and hard work. But if you realize that you were awarded lesser marks than what you looked forward to, then you’re left with no choice but to dispute that. If this rings true of you, you should consider making an appeal to the professor’s department to get a chance to argue your case and why you feel you deserve a better grade for your hard work.

Unique Circumstances

An appeal based on this reason presents special circumstances that precipitated a student’s ability to perform better in tests. You know, most college students are faced with the risk of dropping out of school due to lack of finances, food, emotional support, etc.

Other students are battling stress, depression, family issues, and lack of accommodation, among other challenges. Such situations preclude a student’s ability to attend classes, complete assignments and adequately prepare for tests. Students faced with challenges might feel entitled to a chance to make up the coursework or be offered an additional credit assignment.

For Graduation Purpose

A student can present an appeal to plead for better grades because passing grades are among the requirements students must fulfill before graduating. Obviously, no student wants to stay in school longer than the years a course should take. As such, a student may want to request for more credit, especially if the difference between the pass mark and the student’s score is only a few marks. 

Less Credit

In cases of partial or full credit disputes, a student feels that they deserve extra credit on top of what they got.

The Instructor Can’t Assign a Grade

This rings true of students who have had a beef with a professor. At times, some instructors may clearly deny students the marks they deserve, for reasons best known to them. In other instances, the instructor just cannot assign grades. Presenting an appeal to a faculty member can help reveal the reasons behind being denied a grade.

Computational or Clerical Error

Would you allow a small computer error to deny you the chance to graduate? You can’t. But such errors can keep you out of the graduation list if you’re not willing to take action. You know, at times, an instructor may not be available to correct possible computational errors, which may force an affected student to lodge an appeal.

Now What? Appeal College Grades

It’s fundamental to note that a grade appeal case MUST be based on a specific reason and graded item. You must support your argument with necessary documentation such as assignments and graded tests. This is to mean that evidence is required to back up your claims, instead of the usual ‘’I feel I deserve more credit’’ narrative.

Also, note that an appeal can be rejected in case the affected student does not have a basis for filing the appeal. Before filing an appeal, it’s important to the dean of students or an advisor who can help you to figure out where you need to appeal. Appeals based on sexual, racial, age, religion, sexual orientation, color, or disability should be made to the human resources department or to the Office of the Dean of Students, not through the grade appeal protocol.

reasons to appeal college grades

Please note: If you are considering appealing a grade, it’s imperative to understand that a faculty member has full responsibility and rights to award grades based on a method they choose, which should be professionally acceptable. These grading criteria should be communicated to all students beforehand, after which it should be applied to all class members equally throughout the course.

Prejudiced or biased evaluation is a gross violation of a student’s rights and it’s without a doubt a valid ground on which a grade appeal can rest.

What’s next? Make your appeal because you deserve better grades! See this blog if you want to study something else unrelated to your degree.


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