Grade Changes and Appeals
The assignment of grades and symbols is the responsibility of the instructor. Any change in an assigned grade or symbol must be recommended by the instructor who assigned the original grade or symbol and be approved by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Basis for Grade Changes
A final course grade may be changed only if there is unequivocal evidence that one or more of the following applies:
- It was a direct result of arbitrary and capricious conduct on the part of the instructor;
- The instructor discriminated against the student on the basis of a protected classification as the term is defined by Federal Law, Georgia State Law, or the Administrative Code of the City of Dalton;
- The grade was incorrectly calculated;
- A clerical error occurred in recording the grade; or
- A mitigating circumstance prevented the student from completing a final assignment or attending the final examination. In such cases, a grade may be changed to either a "W" or "I" pursuant to the rules governing these grades.
Initial Challenge of Grade and Appeal
A student may file a formal challenge to a grade on any of the grounds set forth in subsections a. through e. of Section 1 above. The student must present positive, detailed, and specific evidence in support of his/her claim.
The student must notify the instructor in writing no later than two days after the deadline for posting grades. The instructor must confer with the student and notify the student in writing whether he/she will change the grade by the end of regular registration of the upcoming term. In the event Dalton State College, no longer employs the instructor, a student's challenge shall commence with the chair/assistant dean. In such cases, the student must notify the chair/assistant dean and all rights and responsibilities otherwise assumed by the instructor will be assumed by the chair/assistant dean.
If the instructor or chair/assistant dean, acting in place of the instructor, agrees to change the grade based on the appeal, the instructor or chair/assistant dean shall send a Change of Grade Form, with the appropriate documentation, to the Office of Academic Affairs.
If the instructor declines to change the grade, or has not met the deadline, the student may appeal to the chair/assistant dean, and the chair/assistant dean will meet with the instructor and the student and attempt to mediate the appeal by the first day of classes. Where the chair/assistant dean has attempted but failed to mediate the appeal within that time period, the chair/assistant dean shall notify the student immediately and promptly send a written report regarding the mediation to the instructor and the student.
If after the chair/assistant dean attempted mediation, the student remains dissatisfied with the decision, the student may submit the appeal in writing to the Dean's office within two days, with copies to the instructor and the chair/assistant dean.
Where the chair has not taken steps to mediate the appeal within the allotted time, or where the chair has acted in place of the instructor and has declined to change the grade, the student may appeal the grade directly to the dean.
The dean shall convene a meeting of the ad hoc Grade Appeals Committee as soon as possible to resolve the issue within two weeks of receiving the grade appeal letter. The committee's decision is made on the day of the meeting and communicated verbally to the student, followed by a written confirmation of the decision by the VPAA or a designee.
Grade Appeals Procedure
Each student challenging or appealing a grade may be allowed to continue with his or her program of study until a final decision is made on the appeal, depending upon the policy of the program. This policy may vary among Schools, and the student is directed to the School handbook for further information.
Grade Appeals Committee
The committee shall consist of a) the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) or designee; b) the Dean of the School involved in the appeal who shall chair the meeting; c) the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee--a non-voting member of the committee; d) three faculty members: two from any of the School's other departments that are not directly involved with the appeal and one faculty member from another school; and e) one student representative within the School but not in the program. In the School of Education, the two faculty members selected should not currently be teaching the student appealing the grade, and the one student representative from within the School should not be in the same block as the student who is appealing the grade. The committee shall be deemed to have a quorum when the dean (or designee), the VPAA (or designee), the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee), and two additional committee members convene to review a grade appeal.
Meetings of the Grade Appeals Committee
The Grade Appeals Committee meeting shall be convened by the dean as needed. The committee shall invite the instructor and student to the meeting and consider any evidence which the student, the instructor, or the committee deems relevant. Should the student or instructor or chair/assistant dean, if the instructor is no longer employed by Dalton State College, not be available or decline to meet with the committee, the committee may determine cases on the basis of the submitted written arguments and supporting documents alone. Throughout the process, the respondent shall have the right to use an advisor of his or her choosing, and at his or her own expense, for the express purpose of providing advice and counsel. An advisor can be, but is not limited to, a parent, fellow student, faculty member, coach, or attorney. The advisor may be present during meetings and proceedings at which his or her advisee is present. The advisor may advise his or her advisee in any manner, including providing questions, suggestions, and guidance on responses to any questions of the advisee, but shall not participate directly. The institution shall not prohibit family members of a party from attending if the party requests such attendance in addition to another advisor; however, the College may limit each participant to two (2) family members. Delays will not be allowed due to scheduling conflicts of advisors or family members. Every effort will be made to keep the committee's investigation confidential.
Report and Determination of the Grade Appeals Committee
The committee will vote after its deliberation, and a final decision will be made by simple majority. In case of a tie, the decision will be determined by the VPAA. The Office of the VPAA will issue the committee's decision in writing to the student and instructor and provide copies to the chair and the academic dean. If the committee determines that the grade should be changed, a copy of that determination will be forwarded to the Office of Academic Affairs, which will direct the Registrar to change the grade. The decision of the Grade Appeals Committee may be appealed to the President of the College.
Written Signature of the Instructor Required for Other Grade Changes
Other than specified in this policy, no grade maybe changed by the Registrar without the instructor's signature on a Change of Grade form, provided, however, that when the chair/assistant dean acts in place of the instructor and decides to change the student's grade, the signature of the chair/assistant dean shall be sufficient.