Getting good grades while at Mohawk College is an incredibly rewarding feeling – all your hard work has paid off! However, sometimes tests and assignments may not go as well as a student would have hoped. A lot of the time the best solution, in this case, is to learn from your mistakes, see where you went wrong, and try to improve next time. However, if you feel you have received a final grade that you did not deserve there are measures you can take to try and resolve this issue – Academic Appeals.
What are Academic Appeals?
According to the college, the Academic Appeal process is a service function available to all students.
The official Academic Appeals Corporate Policy notes, “The Academic Appeals policy and procedure are designed to ensure that students who believe that they have not received a fair academic decision related to a final grade in a course they have taken will have access to a comprehensive, respectful and impartial review of their concerns.”
Who Should Request an Academic Appeal?
Although any student at the college can request an Academic Appeal, this doesn’t necessarily mean any and every student should. So, who should request an Academic Appeal?
When to Request an Academic Appeal:
· Students who actively attended classes and felt they received an unfair grade
· Students who actively participated in classes and still felt they received an unfair grade
· Students who reached out for additional help and still felt they received an unfair grade
· Those who missed tests, assignments, and/or classes for medical/personal reasons and felt they received an unfair grade
Note: If you do decide to appeal a final grade it is crucial to note that there is no risk in appealing – the appeals process cannot be used to reduce a student’s final grade. In fact, the Policy notes that there are to be no negative implications for students who exercise their right to appeal a grade.
The Different Levels of Academic Appeals at Mohawk College
At Mohawk, there are three different levels of Academic Appeals.
Level 1: Appeal
Students must provide written notice to the faculty member who issued the grade they are seeking to appeal. Then the student needs to provide the faculty member with a well-documented statement of the issue and their desired outcome. The documentation you submit on this form will be a large part of the evidence used throughout the entire appeal process, so fill it out accurately and thoroughly.
The student also is required to deliver a copy of the Appeal to the Associate Dean of the specific course. Following the submission of the Appeal form, the faculty member and the student have to arrange to meet. The outcome of this meeting should be recorded on the Level 1 Appeal form. The original copy of this form must be delivered to the Registrar’s Office. If the issue is not resolved during this meeting, the student and faculty member can meet with a college-appointed mediator – a decision should be reached by the end of this meeting. However, if a decision is still not reached it is the student’s responsibility to decide if they want to proceed to Level 2: Grade Appeals.
Level 2: Grade Appeals
To begin the process of this level, the student is required to submit a completed Level 2 Appeal Form to the Office of the Register. Again, the student will deliver a copy of the Appeal form to the Associate Dean for the course – this will act as the official notice to move to Level 2, and the Associate Dean is responsible for notifying the faculty member of this.
The Registrar (or designate) will then be responsible for putting together a ‘Grade Appeal Panel’ which would have the following structure.
Panel Chair (Voting only in the event of a tie):
• Associate Dean from another School
Panel Members (Voting):
• Faculty Member # 1 (Subject Expert)
• Faculty Member #2 (preferably from another department)
• One Student (typically designated by MSA)
The Office of the Registrar is responsible for distributing the documentation submitted with the Level 1 Grade Appeal to the Appeal Panel- no additional documentation can be added.
Both parties involved in the Appeal are strongly encouraged to attend the panel.
Time will be reserved at the end of the meeting to allow the panel to make a decision regarding the appeal. The Chair of the Grade Appeal Panel is responsible for notifying the faculty member and the Associate Dean of the decision made (and the reasons for it).
Level 3: Procedural Appeal
If the student or the Associate Dean believes that the decision made by the panel was not satisfactory, they can submit a letter to the college mediator highlighting their concerns and requesting a procedural review of the meeting. This request must be made within three business days of receiving written notice of the panel’s decision.
The Time-Frame for Academic Appeals
Students must submit their notice of Appeal within five days of final grades being posted, and all completed Appeal forms must be submitted within five days of giving notice.
A resolution meeting between students and professors should occur within five days of students submitting their appeal. And mediation sessions (if requested) should occur within five days of the resolution meeting.
If required, a panel must hear your appeal within five days of submitting your Level 2 Appeal to the Registrar.
And letters to request a Procedural Appeal must be submitted within three business days of the Appeal panel meeting – investigations will be completed within five business days.
The Academic Appeal Form
Academic Appeal forms can be found at the Office of the Registrar (Fennell Campus), or the Student Services Office at the Fennell, STARRT, Brantford, and IAHS campuses - a copy can also be found on the College’s website. On this form, students must include their name, student number, course name, course number, and program name.
They will then be required to answer the following questions:
· What outcome are you expecting as the result of this review?
· 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?
· Please state clearly the evidence you are bringing forward to support this grade appeal. Use additional pages if necessary and attach any relevant documentation.
Important Facts to Remember
· The college’s Academic Appeals policy is made to change a final grade.
· Appeals must be based on facts.
· Be aware of timelines.
· 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.
· Try to resolve issues with your professor informally as they arise.
· Throughout the Appeal process, be respectful and professional.
The MSA can also help students who wish to appeal a final grade – contact the MSA or stop by one of the MSA offices for more information.
For more information about Academic Appeals, click here.
Written By: Paige Petrovsky