English Department Policy for Student Grade Appeals
(For complaints/appeals involving discrimination or sexual harassment, see TCNJ’s policies on discrimination and sexual harassment.)
The English Department’s grade appeal policy is based both on the principle of fairness (i.e., on an acknowledgement of the students’ right to appeal a grade) and on the premise that, when a student’s appeal is denied, the process should be a learning experience.
A student wishing to appeal a grade in a course in the English Department should first read the College’s official policy on Grade Appeals http://policies.tcnj.edu/policies/digest.php?docId=9302
Note that the policy specifies:
- That the student must have valid reason for appealing a course grade (and grades for the individual assignments may not be appealed).
- That the student must appeal within a specific time, and
- That the student must follow all steps, including first discussing the course grade with the instructor. See below how the steps work within the English Department.
A student who wishes to appeal:
1) discusses the grade with the instructor and requests a grade change within the deadline specified by TCNJ policy; then, if the student wishes to appeal the instructor’s decision on the grade, 2) makes a written request for a hearing by the department chair (or designee); and then, if the student wishes to appeal the matter further, 3) makes a written request for a hearing by the department grade appeal committee. (If the student wishes to appeal further, see the College policy for the next step.)
None of these steps may be skipped or ignored.
For hearings by the department chair, the student submits a written grade appeal with supporting documents to the department chair. Documents may include syllabus, assignments, relevant graded exams and papers, etc. The department chair shares the student’s written appeal with the instructor. If the instructor wishes to respond, the instructor attends the hearing. Within 5 business days after the hearing, the department chair provides the student and instructor with a decision in writing. Either party may appeal this decision and request a hearing by a grade appeal committee. Such appeals must be made – in writing – within 10 business days of the department chair’s decision.
For hearings by a grade appeal committee, 1) The grade appeal committee is formed on an ad hoc basis and consists of three tenured faculty members and one student who has agreed to participate in the process:
- the student filing the appeal chooses one tenured English Department faculty member and notifies the chair in writing of the choice;
- the department chair maintains a list of faculty members and students who have agreed to serve on a grade appeal committee and populates the remaining seats on the committee with individuals from the list, notifying the student in writing of the committee’s full membership;
- the department chair designates one of the faculty members on the committee as committee chair;
- The committee will me within the 1st two weeks of the semester following the student’s appeal submission.
- all four members of the grade appeal committee (including the committee chair and the student member) have an equal vote in the committee’s final decision.
2) The materials provided by the student for the hearing by the department chair are provided to the grade appeal committee. The student may also submit additional materials (e.g., a statement in response to the department chair’s decision or supplementary documentation).
3) The department grade appeal committee informs the instructor of the date of the hearing. If the instructor wishes to respond, the instructor submits a written statement and attends the hearing. The student may bring one adviser to the meeting, but the adviser is not permitted to address the committee. After the hearing, the grade appeal committee considers the case privately and, within 10 business days, provides the department chair with a written statement of its decision. Overturning a grade requires a minimum of three votes out of the four.