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article 3—academic policies and regulations

Part 1. Grades and Grading System

§ 3-107 Procedures for Review of Alleged Capricious Grading

(a) The following procedures are available only for review of alleged capricious grading. They are not to be used: (1) to review the judgment of an instructor in assessing the quality of a student’s work, or (2) in cases involving alleged violations of academic integrity (See §§ 1‑401 to 1‑406). Capricious grading, as that term is used herein, constitutes any of the following: (1) the assignment of a grade to a particular student on some basis other than performance in the course; (2) the assignment of a grade to a particular student by resort to more exacting or demanding standards than were applied to other students registered for the same credit in that course; (3) the assignment of a grade representing a substantial departure from the instructor’s previously announced standards.

(b) A Capricious Grading Committee shall be appointed or elected annually by each unit’s executive officer. If the instructor of the course is a member of the committee, that instructor shall be disqualified from the consideration of any appeal involving the instructor. If a committee member has a significant professional or personal involvement with the facts of, or the parties to, the appeal (a conflict of interest), that committee member shall be disqualified from hearing the appeal. The determination that a conflict of interest exists shall be made by the DEO (department or unit executive officer or designee) or, if the DEO has a conflict of interest, by the dean of the college.

(c) A student who believes that a semester grade is improper and the result of capricious grading should first confer promptly with the instructor in the course or, if the instructor is unavailable, with the DEO. If the student and the instructor (or, in the instructor’s absence, the DEO) are unable to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution, the student may file an appeal with the DEO within six working weeks after the start of the fall semester (for a grade assigned the previous spring); or spring semester (for a grade assigned the previous fall).

(d) The student shall file an appeal by submitting to the DEO a written statement particularizing the basis for the allegation of capricious grading and presenting any available supporting evidence. The DEO shall submit a copy of the student’s written statement to the instructor of the course with a request that the instructor promptly submit a written response thereto.

(e) The DEO shall then submit the appeal and response to the unit’s Capricious Grading Committee. The committee shall proceed to hold a fact-finding session concerning the allegations set forth in the appeal. A quorum consisting of 75 percent of the elected committee is required for this session. Both the student and the instructor shall be entitled to be present throughout this session and to present any evidence relevant to the manner in which the grade was assigned, including testimony by other persons. Both the student and the instructor shall have an opportunity to question or refute any evidence presented. The confidentiality of all evidence shall be preserved. The student and instructor may each be accompanied by a person to assist them in presenting evidence. The session shall not be open to the public.

(f) At the close of the session, the committee shall deliberate privately. If a majority of the elected committee, or a majority of those remaining if the committee member is disqualified under the procedure outlined in subsection (b) above, shall find the allegation of capricious grading not supported by substantial evidence, it shall dismiss the appeal. If the committee finds the allegation of capricious grading to be supported by substantial evidence, the committee shall proceed to determine the most appropriate remedy. The committee may direct the instructor to grade the student’s work anew or to give the student a new examination in the course, or may take such other action as will bring about substantial justice in the individual case. However, except in the most extraordinary circumstances the committee should not award the student a new grade in the course. The decision of the committee shall be reported in writing to the student, the instructor, and the departmental office. Except as provided in subsection (i) below, the committee’s decision is final.

(g) The committee is not authorized to reprimand or otherwise take disciplinary action against the instructor. Evidence put before the committee shall be admissible in any disciplinary proceedings that may thereafter be undertaken against the instructor, but the disciplinary body shall make an independent determination of whether that evidence and any other information before that body constitutes sufficient proof of the conduct charged.

(h) None of the established procedures available to the instructor to raise grievances before the Faculty Advisory Committee or alleged violations of academic freedom before the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure shall be abridged or affected by the actions of the committee.

(i) If the academic unit involved fails to follow the procedures outlined in this section, the student may file an appeal within 30 days to the dean of the college. If the dean (or dean’s designee) finds that the academic unit failed to follow the procedures outlined in this section, the student shall be entitled to a new hearing in compliance with this section.