Index > Student Academic Policies > Grade Appeals

Grade Appeals

Grade Appeals

A student who wishes to challenge a course grade should follow the procedure described here. Note: If the appeal advances to Step 2 in the process, the student must initiate Step 2 within (4) weeks of the start of the semester immediately following the semester in which the course was taken, so students should plan accordingly in advance of the deadline.

  1. Discuss the matter first with the course instructor, doing so as soon as possible after receiving the grade. (In most cases, the discussion between the student and the instructor should suffice and the matter should not need to be carried further.)
  2. Students initiating Step 2:
    • A Fall or Wintersession appeal must be initiated within four weeks of the start of the Spring semester.
    • A Spring or Summer appeal must be initiated within four weeks of the start of the Fall semester.
    If, after discussion with the instructor, or, if the student seriously tried but was unable to establish contact with the instructor, and the student’s concerns remain unresolved, the student should see the instructor’s department head, who, if he or she believes the challenge may have merit, is expected to discuss it with the instructor. In a case where the instructor happens to be the department head or division dean, the student should see the division dean or Vice Provost, respectively.
  3. If the matter still remains unresolved, the student may wish to appeal to the Academic Standing Committee (ASC). Students initiating Step 3 must reach out to the Academic Standing Committee within two (2) weeks upon receipt of the department head response (or division dean or Vice Provost, response respectively). The student should submit a letter of appeal to the
    In a 1-2 page typed letter to the Academic Standing Committee include the following:
    • Your full name, your RISD ID
    • The name of the course in question including the semester, course number, and title
    • The name of the instructor of the course and the grade that is being disputed
    • Indicate the dates that you went through steps 1 and 2 in the grade appeal process
      • The date you had a conversation with your instructor regarding the grade change
      • The date you met with your dept head/division dean regarding the grade change
    • Present all relevant facts as to why you feel a grade change is warranted (what were the issues that are problematic, specific examples, reasons, conversations you had with the instructor, etc.)
    • Attach your syllabus
    • Attach any additional relevant materials in support of your request (do not include any images of work or portfolios). The Academic Standing Committee’s role when reviewing a grade appeal is to determine whether or not the challenge may have merit. The ASC is not reviewing the quality of your work. If they determine your challenge may have merit, they will appoint an ad-hoc committee to connect with you to review your specific work (so make sure you keep the work you did in the class just in case).
    The ASC will verify that the student has been moved through step 1 and step 2 in the appeal process. Upon ASC consideration, if the committee believes that the challenge may have merit, it will ask the instructor's immediate administrative superior to appoint a three (3) person ad hoc faculty committee composed of faculty members in the instructor's department or in closely allied fields. If the ASC determines that the appeal does not have merit, the ASC will notify the student, concluding the grade appeal process.
  4. If the ad hoc committee determines that the grade should not be changed, it will so inform the ASC as well as the person who appointed the committee. The ASC will notify the student of the decision, concluding the grade appeal process.
  5. If the ad hoc committee determines that the grade should be changed, it will request that the instructor make the change, providing the instructor with a written explanation of its reasons. Should the instructor decline, he or she must provide a written explanation for refusing.
  6. If, after considering the instructor’s explanation, the ad hoc committee concludes that it would be unjust to allow the original grade to stand, the committee will then recommend to the instructor’s immediate administrative superior that the grade be changed. That individual will provide the instructor with a copy of the recommendation and will ask the instructor to implement it within ten days. If the instructor continues to decline, that administrative superior will then change the grade, notifying the instructor and the student of this action.

Alternative to the Grade Appeal Procedure - Grade Reevaluation

Once the grade appeal deadline has passed, a student may still request a reevaluation of a final grade with their instructor;however, in order for a grade change to be considered, the instructor must support the change of grade, for the student no longer has recourse to the grade appeal procedure described above in steps 2-6. The deadline for a student to request a reevaluation of a final grade with their instructor is six months after the final day of the semester in which the grade was given.