Policy 130.80 - Procedures for Review of Alleged Arbitrary and Capricious Grading

  This Replaces
File: 130.80 130.80
Date: 3/30/11  11/05/01

ORIGINATOR: Senior Vice President forAcademic Programs and Dean, Graduate School of Management and Technology

SUBJECT: Procedures for Review of Alleged Arbitrary and Capricious Grading

  1. Introduction
  2. In accordance with Board of Regents III - 1.20 Policy for Review of Alleged Arbitrary and Capricious Grading, approved January 11, 1990, UMUC has developed procedures to provide a means for a student to seek review of final course grades alleged to be arbitrary or capricious. These Procedures will not be used to review the intellectual judgment of a faculty member or to require another faculty member to re-grade or re-examine a student's work. In every case of alleged arbitrary and capricious grading, the burden of proof rests with the student.

  3. Definitions

    1. "Arbitrary and capricious grading" is defined as:

      1. A final course grade assigned on some basis other than performance in the course; or

      2. A final course grade assigned by resorting to unreasonable standards different from those that were applied to other students in that course; or

      3. A final course grade assigned by a substantial, unreasonable, or unannounced departure from the faculty member's previously articulated grading standards.

    2. The "Appeal Administrator" for undergraduate courses originating in Adelphi is the Vice President and Dean, School of Undergraduate Studies; for graduate courses originating in Adelphi is the Senior Vice President for Academic Programs and Dean, Graduate School of Management and Technology; for courses originating from UMUC-Europe or UMUC-Asia is the respective Associate Dean.

  4. Student Procedures

  1. If the student believes his/her final course grade is arbitrary and capricious as defined in section II.A., the student must first request a conference with the faculty member within 30 days from the date the grade was posted to discuss how the grade was calculated.

  2. If a satisfactory resolution is not reached and the student wishes to continue the process, the student must file a written request to know how the final grade was calculated with the appeal administrator within 60 days from the date the grade was posted.

  3. The appeal administrator or designee(s) will direct the appropriate departmental chairperson, academic director, or area director to review how the final grade was determined and to provide a written explanation within 30 days of the receipt of the written request. The appeal administrator shall be copied on the departmental response.

  4. If after receiving the response the student still believes that the final grade is arbitrary and capricious, or if after the 30-day period the student has not received a response, the student may file a written appeal of the final grade with the appeal administrator within 45 days after filing the written request. The appeal must be confined to information relevant to the allegation(s) and be accompanied by supporting documentation. The faculty member will be notified of the filing of the appeal.

  5. Within 30 days of receipt of the student's appeal, the appeal administrator or designee(s) will conduct a preliminary administrative inquiry. The appeal administrator or designee(s) may communicate with the student and faculty member and give them the opportunity to present any relevant evidence. Upon request, the student may see the information submitted by the faculty member relating to how the grade was calculated. However, the student will not have the right to see any information that violates the privacy rights of other students. The appeal administrator will dismiss the appeal if:

    1. The student has failed to comply with procedure;

    2. The student made allegations that, even if true, do not constitute arbitrary and capricious grading as defined; or

    3. There is no evidence of arbitrary and capricious grading based upon the inquiry conducted by the appeal administrator or designee(s).

  6. Dismissal of the appeal for any of the reasons listed above constitutes the final UMUC action on the appeal and is not itself appealable. The student and faculty member will be notified of the appeal administrator's decision in writing within 40 days of the receipt of the student's appeal.

  7. If the appeal is not dismissed or the student has not received a response within 40 days of the receipt of the student's appeal, the appeal administrator will appoint a three-member ad hoc Arbitrary and Capricious Grade Appeal Committee (known as "Appeal Committee"). The Appeal Committee may be advised by legal counsel during this process. The appeal administrator or designee(s) will instruct this Appeal Committee to review the materials obtained during the inquiry conducted by the appeal administrator or designee(s).

  8. The Appeal Committee will conduct an investigation, which may include a fact-finding meeting, to obtain additional information. The appeal administrator or designee(s) will communicate with the student and faculty member and give them the opportunity to present any relevant evidence.

  9. If a fact-finding conference is held, the student and the faculty member will be entitled to participate. If the student is unable to participate, the student may submit questions in writing for the faculty member regarding how the grade was determined and the grading process. The student and faculty member may be accompanied by a representative, who may be an attorney, at the student's or faculty's own expense. Representatives may advise during the course of a fact-finding conference, but shall not personally participate. Parties who wish to be accompanied by an attorney must inform the appeal administrator in writing at least 5 calendar days before the scheduled date of the proceeding. Representatives may not appear in lieu of persons accused.

  10. After the investigation is complete, the Appeal Committee will deliberate and render a recommendation to the appeal administrator. If the Appeal Committee finds the allegation of arbitrary and capricious grading to be supported by clear and convincing evidence, the Appeal Committee will recommend an appropriate remedy to the appeal administrator. The appeal administrator will review the recommendations and render a decision. Appropriate remedies include:

    1. directing the faculty member to grade the student's work anew;

    2. directing, if the student agrees to the action and the student has been made aware of the implications, that the course registration status be changed such that the grade does not affect the student's grade point average;

    3. directing the cancellation of the student's registration in the course with full tuition refund if no reasonable alternative is available; or

    4. directing that other action be taken.

  11. If the appeal administrator determines that arbitrary and capricious grading has not taken place, the student's appeal will be dismissed. This constitutes the final UMUC action and is not itself appealable.

  12. Within 75 days of the student's appeal, the appeal administrator or designee will notify the student and faculty member of the decision in writing. A copy of the final decision will be filed in the student's academic records and in the faculty member's portfolio.