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Academic Regulations

Grade Appeals - General Information

1. Grade Appeal General Information

1.1. The primary authority of the instructor in the assignment of grades must be respected. An instructor's evaluation of a student's work and performance in that instructor's course must not be over-ridden merely because of a difference of opinion or evaluative judgment, provided it is formed in accordance with the generally accepted canons of the relevant discipline and of the academic institution where said course is offered. The university presumes that every instructor wants and tries to be non-prejudicial, objective, and consistent in the assignment of grades. This presumption, however, may be over-ridden by weight of evidence to the contrary.

1.2. Although the university presumes that grades assigned are correct, the university has established this grade appeal procedure both to protect students against academic and administrative evaluations and decisions that are prejudicial, capricious, or arbitrary, and to preserve the authority of instructors to evaluate student work in a non-prejudicial, objective, and consistent way. This procedure, available equally to undergraduate and graduate students, also preserves the rights of instructors to appeal grade appeals committee findings as outlined below. The policy in its entirety constitutes the only grade appeal procedure at California State University, Long Beach.

1.3. The burden of proof rests upon the student submitting the appeal.

1.4. Students may appeal only final grades. Students who believe that individual exams and/or assignments demonstrate evidence of prejudicial, capricious, or arbitrary grading and that those grades had direct bearing on the final grade should include them in the grade appeal file as supporting documentation.

1.5. If a grade appeals committee decides to change a grade, the committee need not grant the student's suggested grade but should assign a grade that is appropriate to the work submitted. The new grade shall not be lower than the original grade.

1.6. Once a student has filed a formal grade appeal, nobody may change a grade until neither the student nor the instructor continues the process or the third and final level has been concluded.
Timelines for filing an appeal and subsequent decisions specified in this policy statement refer to instructional days during the regular fall and spring semesters. In the case of courses that do not follow the traditional semester pattern (such as short-term courses given during a regular semester or programs that require year-round enrollment), students must initiate an appeal within 40 regular semester instructional days of the termination of the course.

1.7. All grade appeal information, whether written or oral, is confidential.

1.8. The student may seek the assistance of an advisor in the preparation of the appeal file. If department and/or college committees permit oral arguments, the advisor may accompany the student to the departmental and/or college hearing and be privy to all confidential information relevant to the case.

1.9. The original file, with all documentation, recommendations, final decisions, and all other materials (including a copy of the grade change, if relevant) shall be kept by the college involved for five years. One complete duplicate set of all documentation shall be kept in the office of the Academic Senate for five years. All other parties must destroy all duplicate materials within thirty instructional days of the final decision.

1.10. Each college dean and the chair of the University Grade Appeals Committee shall provide a written report at the end of each academic year to the president and the Academic Senate on the number of cases heard and the disposition of each case. College deans also shall forward their reports to the chair of the University Grade Appeals Committee.

1.11. If the student's appeal is compounded (or accompanied) by an allegation of unlawful discrimination as defined by federal and state laws, the student has the right to access the university's internal unlawful discrimination process and the processes available through the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and the state of California Fair Employment and Housing Commission. However, grades may be changed only through the grade appeal process.

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