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Notes on Grade Appeals and Maintaining Civility in the Process


Good morning SPS students, faculty and advisors!

I am writing to all of you in response to some of the grade appeals that I have been copied on recently. I must tell you that I am disappointed in the lack of professionalism that I have seen in many of them. At all times, SPS students, faculty and staff should remain cordial and civil in their communication. Making unreasonable demands, speaking in a disrespectful manner, and ignoring legitimate concerns is not allowed. We are all adults who should expect consideration and respond with the same.

At Trinity, the process for grade appeals logically begins with the professor. A student can appeal a grade up until the end of the third week after the subsequent semester  begins. This means that, if you received a disputed grade in Fall 2010, you have until the end of the third week after classes begin in Spring 2011 to dispute the grade. This is ample time for you to view the grade and your own work product before making a decision to move forward.

To appeal a grade students should submit, in writing, a request for reconsideration or clarification of the grade to the professor. The professor then has three weeks to respond to the student. Professors should review with students all of their graded materials, the syllabus, and their process for calculating the grade. This process resolves most disputes and it is why we also stress the importance of loading all of the grades into the Moodle gradebook for transparency.

We are all human and sometimes students don’t understand the weight of their assignments/quizzes/exams. Sometimes, professors miscalculate grades or miss an assignment. It happens. Having civil communication at this point ensures that both parties are willing to work together to come to a fair conclusion. Sometimes the grade is changed, but that is not the ultimate desired result. Making sure that the student gets the grade that they have earned is paramount.

If there can be no meeting of the minds on the grade at this point, then the student should direct their appeal to their academic advisor, who has three weeks to respond. There are differences in the appeals policy for graduate and undergraduate students, so you should refer to those policies directly at

 and I have also taken the opportunity to post the policies on the SPS webpage under “Student Resources” for your convenience.

We will graduate over one hundred students today, so we will see the positive culmination of an academic experience here at Trinity. I fully expect the ceremony to be lovely and warm at the Trinity Center and can’t wait to congratulate our new alums. If you are not graduating today, take heart in the occasion and know that your graduation day will also be special and treasured (although, perhaps less snowy). Happy holidays!

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