A Review of Grade Appeals Informing Productivity and Efficiency in Teaching

A Review of Grade Appeals Informing Productivity and Efficiency in Teaching

Dina Pacis (National University, USA), Cindy Sytsma (National University, USA) and Penelope Keough (National University, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0347-7.ch004
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Productivity and efficiency are critical aspects to effective teaching and quality learning for students. Nationwide demands for school accountability in the United States has placed a heavy focus on ways to improve the quality of teaching. One area explored to inform effective teaching is the process of grade appeal grievances. The very existence of the grade appeals process implies a lack of satisfaction on the part of the students resulting in decreased teaching efficacy on the part of instructors, who must then problem-solve the grade issues. This chapter will provide a history of how grade appeals are perceived by students, instructors and the United States legal system, in addition to why students file grade appeals and the various ways these issues can be resolved. An examination of why students file the appeals aligned with best instructional practices for online teaching to avoid grade appeals will be provided.
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The process of how students appeal a grade varies from university to university. The preferred route for contesting a grade is for a student to speak with the instructor finding resolution and avoiding a grade appeal grievance altogether. However, if no resolution comes from the conversation between the student and the instructor, a formal grade appeal grievance may ensue. Most universities begin the grade appeal process with the student filing a grievance (Berkeley Division Regulation, nd; University North Carolina Charlotte Policy 410, p. 2014). It is then reviewed by the college or university approved faculty or committee and a decision rendered based on the policies of the organization. Most organizations consider this a final decision and no further appeals can be made.

The process for filing a grade appeals grievance is grounded in the rights of students to due process. This process will vary depending on the university or college and is generally found in a school’s catalog. It allows students a method to dispute a posted grade. This occurs when a student believes their instructor has posted the wrong grade. For example a student may believe a failing grade should have been passing, or that a “B” assignment really was an “A” assignment. These processes vary somewhat from institute to institute but ultimately the goals are the same, they provide students a voice and due process.

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