Grade Mediation and Adjudication Procedures

Grade Mediation and Adjudication Procedures

University Faculty Senate Policy 47-20 Basis for Grades

Grades shall be assigned to individual students on the basis of the instructor’s judgment of the student’s scholastic achievement as set forth in Section 47-60. The instructor should provide written (paper or electronic form) notification of the basis for grades to students on or before the first class meeting. Any changes in that basis should likewise be presented to students in writing.

For grade assignments related to cases of academic dishonesty, refer to Section 49-20 (sanction on grades) and G-9 academic integrity procedures.

AAPPM — G-10: Grade Mediation and Adjudication

  1. Occasionally, a disagreement arises in the assignment of a grade. A student who wishes to question or challenge the grade assigned in a course must first discuss grading practices and assignments with the instructor. It is expected that the student and instructor will try to eliminate any misunderstandings and will attempt to work out any disagreements over grades. Some examples of the basis for a legitimate disagreement could include, but are not limited to the following:
    • The instructor did not inform the student of the basis for calculation of grades as required in 47-20.
    • The instructor did not calculate the student's grade in accordance with the instructor's stated policy for calculating grades.
    • There is an error in the computation of the grade that was not corrected.
    • The student, through no fault of his or her own, was not provided with the same opportunity to complete the requirements for the course in terms, for example, of time, access to materials, or access to the instructor as the other students.
  2. If the meeting with the instructor fails to resolve the issue, the student contacts the appropriate Division Head to arrange mediation. The Division Head will arrange a meeting with student and instructor to mediate dispute.
  3. If the issue is still not resolved, the student is directed to the Associate Dean. The Associate Dean will request that the student to put his or her concerns about the grade into writing, and will also request information from the instructor, including a copy of the syllabus, an indication of any changes to the syllabus and whether or not they were made in writing (with copies of written notification), a list of the student's grades for each assignment with indication of their relative weight and the final grade, and a statement about any other factors which impacted on the grade, such as attendance, late assignments, participation, academic integrity, etc. The Associate Dean will also request a statement from the Division Head about efforts to mediate dispute, including an indication of key issues or problems. A meeting will then be arranged with the Associate Dean, student, and instructor to mediate the dispute.
  4. If the issue is still not resolved, the student must complete the Grade Adjudication Petition Form and turn this into the office of the Associate Dean. This form must be turned into the Associate Dean's office no later than the Friday of 5th week of the semester following the semester in which the disputed grade was received. To obtain a form, please contact Peter Moran, W110 Smith, 814-949-5283, plm150@psu.edu.
  5. The Associate Dean will review the petition to determine if the student's complaint provides evidence that the instructor's assignment of the grade is in violation of Senate Policy 47-20 and may decide that the petition does not meet the criteria for grade adjudication. In such cases, the grade will stand.

    If the Associate Dean believes that the student's petition does meet the criteria for grade adjudication, the Associate Dean may solicit additional information from the instructor. If upon review of the instructor's response the Associate Dean concludes that the grade assignment does not conform to Senate Policy 47-20, the Associate Dean will determine a course of action that may include a recommendation for an amended grade. The instructor must respond within ten days. The Associate Dean will then provide the student and the instructor with notification of the instructor's response and a brief summary of the reasons for the decision.
  6. The student or the instructor may appeal the recommendation of the Associate Dean to the Chancellor of the College within 10 days of receipt. If neither the student nor the instructor wishes to appeal the decision, and the grade assignment was found to conform with Senate Policy 47-20, the grade will stand.

    If neither the student nor the instructor wishes to appeal the recommendation, and the grade assignment was found to violate Senate Policy 47-20, the Associate Dean will determine an appropriate grade or appoint an ad hoc committee of 2-3 faculty with appropriate disciplinary expertise. The ad hoc committee will recommend a grade. The Associate Dean will notify the student and instructor of the recommended grade change and the supporting rationale in accordance with Senate Policy 47-20. The recommended grade change will be provided by the Associate Dean to the Dean of the college for transmittal to the University Registrar.
  7. If either the student or instructor wishes to appeal the recommendation of the Associate Dean, however, the petition and any relevant findings of the Associate Dean will be forwarded to the Chancellor of the college offering the course.

    If the Chancellor finds that the grade assignment does conform to Senate Policy 47-20, the original grade assignment will stand.

    If the Chancellor finds that the grade assignment does not conform with Senate Policy 47-20, the Chancellor will appoint an ad hoc committee of 2-3 faculty with appropriate disciplinary expertise to determine and recommend a grade. The Chancellor will then determine the grade and transmit it to the Registrar.