academic appeals

The Academic Appeal process is designed to ensure that students who believe they have not received a fair academic decision related to a final grade in any course, will have access to a respectful and impartial review of their concerns.

 

If you need to appeal a final grade after exams, you will have until April 30th at 2:00 p.m.

6 Important Facts to Remember

1. Mohawk’s Academic Appeals policy is made to challenge a FINAL GRADE.

2. Appeals must be based on FACT.

3. Be mindful of timelines! See below for an in-depth explanation of the ‘5x5 Rule’.

4. Since a final grade amounts to an accumulation of grades leading up to it; document and keep track of issues you encounter throughout the semester, i.e. questions regarding quiz grades.

5. Try to resolve any issues informally with your professor as soon as they arise, to avoid having to use the formal appeals process at the end of the semester.

6. Be professional and respectful in all your correspondence.

be proactive.

Academic Appeals are about being graded fairly. There are several things you can do to assist you if you ever encounter an issue with a test, quiz or assignment before you get your final grade back. Create a written record at the first instance of errors or lack of clarity.​

If a question is unclear, raise a RESPECTFUL objection, in writing, on the page. This could be as simple as underlining the unclear portion and writing a “?” beside the question.

In a quiz, exam or test, raise your hand and try to obtain clarification. In the margin beside the question, make a note of the response you received and the time that you asked for help.

For assignments, review the outline and rubric in advance. Send a polite email to your professor asking to clarify points where you may be unsure, or issues that are unclear.

If you are leaving a test or exam concerned about a particular question, send an email to the professor about your issue. If the issue cannot be resolved, you can at least have some insight into the stance that the professor will be taking should you eventually need to formally appeal the grade.

For sample emails, please refer to the Student Resources section.

the appeal process

First it is important to understand the following:  

 

  • There is NO JEOPARDY OR RISK in appealing a grade.

  • The appeals process cannot be used to reduce your grade.

  • The Policy specifically states that there are to be no negative implications for students who exercise their right to grade appeal.

  • Possible outcomes:

    • Grade is increased to the extent you requested;

    • Grade is increased partially to the extent you requested;

    • Grade is unchanged;

    • Grade is assigned “I” (incomplete) status while additional work is completed

 

timing of appeals - the 5x5 rule

  • Notice of appeal must be give within 5 days of grades being posted.

  • All completed appeal forms must be submitted within 5 days of giving notice.

  • A resolution meeting with your professor should take place within 5 days of submitting your appeal.

  • A mediation session (if requested) should take place within 5 days of your resolution meeting.

  • A panel must hear your appeal within 5 days of submitting your Level 2 appeal to the Registrar.

student resources

Find all policies, forms and samples that you will need to submit an appeal here:

levels of appeals

level I

INFORMAL APPEALS

  • Notice of appeal must be provided within five (5) business days of your grade being posted

  • Completed appeal form must be provided within five (5) business days of providing notice

  • Meeting to take place within five (5) business days of appeal form submission

  • Request to meet with a mediator must be submitted within five (5) business days of receiving the result of the meeting

level II

FORMAL APPEALS

  • Level II Appeal form must be submitted within five (5) business days of meeting with faculty or mediator

  • Panel review will take place within five (5) business days of receipt of the appeal

  • Decision will be delivered within three (3) business days

 

LEVEL 1 – INFORMAL APPEALS

If you wish to file a Level 1 – Informal appeal, you are required to notify your professor and Associate Dean, in writing:

 

  • Notice must be given within 5 business days of receiving your final grade. 

  • Notice must be given in writing (by email) to both your professor and your program’s Associate Dean.

  • If you do not know who the Associate Dean is for your program, contact the receptionist for your department and request their name and email.

  • Completed appeal forms must be provided within 5 business days of giving notice of your intention to appeal.

  • You will need to attach your Level One Appeal Form to the email, or alternatively, make 2 paper copies and drop them off at your department reception. Address one copy to the professor, and one copy to the Associate Dean.

 

Completing the Level 1 Appeal Form

  • Your appeal must be completed on a form called the ‘Level 1 Appeal Form’. 

  • The form will provide an area for you to outline the concerns you wish to address and will also track your progress through the various stages of resolution

    • The form can be found in the Student Resources section of this site or at the office of the Registrar or the Student services office at the Fennell campus, STARRT, Brantford and IAHS campuses.

 

Important

This form follows you throughout the entirety of the Appeal process. If your documentation is well written, it shows that you clearly care about your marks.

 

AVOID wording that suggests incompetence, lack of knowledge of subject matter or anything that is aggressive. By making your appeal unnecessarily combative, you run the risk of:

  • Making your Professor feel defensive.

  • Making you look unreasonable.

  • Being unnecessarily confrontational.

 

These will all hinder you when you are trying to come to a resolution with your professor in the initial stages.

 

How do I fill out the forms?

 

First, fill out the form with your name, Student number, Course name, course number, program name. You will then be asked to answer the following questions:

 

“What outcome are you expecting as the result of this review?” 

 

This is where you need to state your proposed outcome. Be concise and specific. Examples can include:

 

“I respectfully request that my mark on Quiz #3 be adjusted to 7 out of 10 (70%) to account for the grading discrepancies indicated in this appeal. This would bring my final grade in this course to 80%.”

 

“I respectfully request that my mark on Assignment #1 be adjusted to 96% to account for the discrepancies raised in this appeal. That would bring my final grade in this course to 75%.”

 

“Please explain why you believe your final grade in the above course should be reviewed, and why your expectations about a change in grade are reasonable.”

  • This will be the body of your appeal.

  • Your appeal must be based in FACT.

  • Cite course materials such as textbook pages, course lectures, slide shows or other learning materials to support your argument and articulate the reason you believe your grade should be adjusted.

  • Through the rest of the process, you will be limited to the materials you submit in this area of the appeal. BE THOROUGH.

  • Number your paragraphs for easy reference later on.

  • Finished samples are included in the Student Resources section of this site.

 

“Please state clearly the evidence you are bringing forward to support this grade appeal. Use additional pages if necessary and attach any relevant documentation.”

 

  • This is where you will list the materials you are citing in your appeal, such as lecture slides, textbooks, etc.

  • The materials should support the reasons for your appeal.

  • Any materials should be either photocopied, scanned, printed, or electronically attached to your appeal.

  • When copying excerpts from textbooks, photocopy both the cover page of the textbook, and the page from the text you are specifically referencing.

  • List the quiz, test or assignment that you disagree with, even if your professor has retained it.

  • Samples of materials cited could look like:

    • Completed Quiz #2 and answer key (not in student possession).

    • Submitted essay/assignment (not in student possession).

    • Pages 5-7, 30-32 and 45 from textbook: “Fundamentals of Potatoes” by Jim Tatero.

    • Course lecture slides from: Week 3.

 

Initial Meeting

  • Once you’ve submitted your notice of appeal and your completed Appeal Form, your next step is to meet with the Professor for informal discussions to resolve the issue.

  • The policy states this should be scheduled within 5 business days (from providing your completed forms).  While the request for the meeting should be sent within 5 business days, the date of the meeting may have some minor flexibility if either party is able to meet.

  • The goal of this meeting will be to come to a mutually agreeable resolution in a RESPECTFUL AND COURTEOUS way.

  • Bring a copy of the Level 1 Appeal Form to the meeting, as you will need to fill out on the form the outcome of the meeting. Both parties must agree to the outcome of the meeting.

mediation

 

Not Satisfied with outcome of the meeting?

  • If you are not satisfied as to the result of the meeting, you may request an optional session with a college-appointed Mediator. If you choose to meet with a Mediator, this must take place within (you guessed it…) 5 business days!

  • If you are still disappointed in the results of the preceding stages and you still believe you are owed more credit for your work, there is one final stage left (Level 2).

  • Simply indicate on the Level 1 form that you wish to proceed to Level 2.

 

Final steps in the Level 1 process

  • The outcome is recorded on the Level 1 form the student and faculty member will retain a copy of the completed Level 1 form. The student is responsible for forwarding the original to the Office of the Registrar.

  • If the issue is not resolved, the student may progress to the level 2 Academic Appeal process (Grade Appeal Panel Review). See Level 2 – Formal Appeals.

 

LEVEL 2 – FORMAL APPEALS

Within 5 days of your meeting with your Professor (or mediation), you must complete a Level 2 Appeals form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar along with all the information you initially submitted with your appeal.

 

Another copy of the level 2 form (only the form) must be sent to your Associate Dean.

  • The form can be found in the Student Resources section of this site, or at the office of the Registrar or the Student services office at the Fennell campus, STARRT, Brantford and IAHS campuses.

 

Panel Review

Within 5 days of submitting your form to the Registrar, a panel will be convened to consider your appeal. The panel will consist of:

  • Associate Dean from another department (Only votes to break a tie)

  • Faculty Member (Subject Expert)

  • Faculty Member (from another department)

  • Student (Designated by MSA)

 

NOTE: Although you are required to represent yourself to the panel, you can bring another person to the Appeals Panel for support. Consider reaching out to the MSA Board of Directors to receive peer-to-peer support during this process.

 

The panel will hear your case and make a decision within 3 days.

 

Procedural Appeals

  • If you, a faculty member or the Associate dean have concerns with the conduct of the grade Appeal, a letter to the college-appointed mediator must be submitted within 3 days of the Appeal panel meeting. The letter must outline the issues with the panel.

  • The mediator will decide if an investigation will be conducted based on the merits of the potential challenge.

  • If the mediator concludes there should be an investigation, the Vice President, Academic will start an investigation regarding the conduct of the panel.

  • The investigation will be completed within 5 Business days.

  • If the investigation concludes there was no procedural flaws, the decision of the appeal will stand. However, a procedural issue is found, a new panel will be made to re-examine the Grade Appeal.

need help?

The Mohawk Students’ Association assists students who wish to appeal their final grade.

 

Contact the MSA or stop by the MSA offices for more information!

 

STUDENT RESOURCES

Our Offices

Fennell Campus (Hamilton)

135 Fennell Ave W, Room G109

Hamilton, ON  L9C 0E5

905.575.2393
 

Institute of Applied Health Sciences (IAHS - McMaster)

1400 Main St West, Room 112
Hamilton, ON  L8S 1C7

905.575.1212 ext 6411
 

Stoney Creek Campus

481 Barton Street, Room A125
(Fitness Centre) Stoney Creek, ON  L8E 2L7

905.575.1212 ext 5005

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