Grade Appeals

GRADE APPEALS

Grades are awarded for an individual student’s academic work during each semester based on that individual’s mastery of the course content. Grades are determined by faculty through the exercise of their considered academic judgment, and the School of Education’s administration will not override an instructor’s considered academic judgment when it comes to grade award decisions. Mere disagreement or dissatisfaction with an instructor’s evaluation of a student’s academic work is not sufficient basis for a grade appeal. Nor may a student appeal an instructor’s decision not to grade an assignment that was submitted past the specified submission deadline or if the work was submitted after the instructor has inputted the final course grade in SIS. Students who wish to appeal a grade must follow the steps in the order outlined below.

At each review level, consideration of a grade appeal is limited to an evaluation of whether or not the grade awarded was determined in accordance with the policies/standards outlined in the course syllabus. A course instructor’s failure to follow the policies/standards outlined in the course syllabus—for example, a grade calculation error—may be considered evidence that the final course grade was not so determined.

A student who disagrees with the award of a grade on a particular assignment or with the final course grade must discuss the matter with the course instructor as the first step of the appeals process. If the matter remains unresolved following this initial discussion with the course instructor, the student is encouraged to ask his/her faculty adviser (or division director in the case of PSL students) to assist as a mediator to resolve the dispute. [Note: In the event that the course instructor is also the student’s faculty adviser, an alternative mediator, such as the program lead, should be identified.]

Where final course grades are concerned, if the matter still cannot be resolved, the student may appeal the course instructor’s decision to the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs (or designee). Only final course grades may appealed to the Vice Dean’s level—students may not appeal grades for individual assignments to the Vice Dean’s level.

Any appeal to the Vice Dean must be submitted in writing within thirty (30) calendar days after the final course grade has been posted in SIS using SOE’s Course Grade Appeal Form. When submitting an appeal, the student must provide a thorough rationale for the basis of the appeal, detail the steps that have been taken thus far to resolve the issue, and include supporting materials as evidence. The following materials should be included (where applicable) along with the appeal form: copy of the course syllabus; disputed assignment(s) in question; and correspondence between the student, the instructor, and adviser.

The grade appeal form and supporting materials can be mailed with a postmark no later than thirty (30) calendar days after the final course grade has been posted in SIS to the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Office of Student Affairs, (6740 Alexander Bell Drive, Columbia, MD 21046) or emailed to Jenny Eddinger (at Jeddinger@jhu.edu).

The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) will review the documents to determine whether the appeal falls within the parameters established above and that it includes appropriate supporting materials. The OSA may contact the student, instructor, or adviser for additional materials or clarifications.

If the OSA is not satisfied that the appropriate conditions have been met, it will send a letter informing the student of this finding and will notify the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs of this action. A decision by the OSA to reject an appeal on this basis may not be appealed.

If the OSA is satisfied that the appropriate conditions have been met, it shall forward the grade appeal form and supporting materials to the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (or designee), who will appoint a faculty hearing committee to review the case. The hearing committee must consist of at least three faculty members drawn from the Student Affairs Committee, plus a representative from the OSA. Following review of the body of evidence, the committee will render a decision within thirty (30) days of receiving the appeal. The OSA will submit a written letter outlining the hearing committee’s decision to the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (or designee).

The Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (or designee) will deliver the hearing committee’s judgement in writing to the student, the instructor, faculty adviser, and the program lead within seven (7) days of receiving the hearing committee’s decision. A copy of the letter will be placed in the student record maintained by the Registrar’s Office.

A student may, as a final action, appeal the hearing committee’s decision in writing to the Dean of the School of Education within seven (7) days of receiving the decision. In such cases, the Dean (or his/her designee) will determine if the case warrants further consideration. Review of grade appeals at the Dean’s level will focus solely on procedural considerations, assuring that internal appeal processes have been followed in accordance with stated policies. At the discretion of the Dean (or designee), a new hearing committee may be appointed to review the case and make a recommendation to the Dean (or designee). Any decision rendered by the Dean (or designee) is final and cannot be appealed further.

For appeals that reach Dean’s level review stage, the School of Education shall notify the student in writing that the student’s grade appeal has been received. Notification of the final decision by the Dean (or designee) concerning a final course grade appeal will be communicated to the instructor, the student’s faculty adviser, and program lead, and placed in the student record maintained by the Registrar’s Office.

Note: School of Education records are sealed thirty (30) days after the conferral of a degree. After this date, no changes will be made to a student’s academic record.