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Grade Grievances

The Department upholds the principle that the instructor in a course is always in the best position to determine the quality of students' work. The Department of Mathematics also has confidence in the qualifications and good judgment of its faculty. Nonetheless, where it can be proven that a clerical error, a procedural fault, or a capricious or biased appraisal has resulted in the awarding of an unfair grade, the Department will do everything in its power to correct the error. It must be understood, however, that only the instructor of a course can determine the substantive value of a student's performance in that course and only the instructor can change the grade.

Furthermore, while the Department wishes to see demonstrably unfair grades rectified, it will not automatically invoke the full procedure described below for every grievance. For example a grievance based on the argument that one instructor's grading standards are stricter than those of others will normally not be pursued. Nor will minor imprecision in grading, such as between a B– and a B, normally be considered an appropriate grievance.

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course.  “Lead instructor” is to be understood as the student’s classroom instructor, except in the case of the large multi-section courses math 105,115,116. For these courses the lead instructor is the course coordinator.  The initial inquiry into the accuracy of the grade should take place before the fifteenth University business day of the first full term (Fall or Winter) following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student should contact the Associate Chair for Education of the Mathematics Department by emailing The appeal should be filed (a) by the end of the first eight weeks of classes of the first full term (Fall or Winter) following the completion of the course, or (b) within eight weeks of the issuance of the grade received by making up a grade of "Incomplete." Requests to file complaints at later times will be considered in unusual circumstances.

The student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined. This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Associate Chair will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Associate Chair will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee. If the Associate Chair determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands. In the case when the Associate Chair determines that sufficient evidence does exist, a two-step procedure will be followed: