GRADE APPEALS

Under California Education Code, grades assigned by instructors are final, except in instances of instructor mistake, fraud, incompetence, or bad faith.

The grade appeal process is lengthy, often taking 4-9 months to resolve. A student who wishes to appeal a final grade must first meet with the College Ombudsperson to discuss the grade appeal procedure and attempt to resolve the grade dispute informally. Failing to meet with the Ombudsperson by the deadline below may result in the loss of a potential formal appeal. The general process for grade appeals is noted below. Students bear the burden of proof and are solely responsible for meeting stated deadlines as these will not be changed.

Step 1. Meet with Ombudsperson By Deadline

Contact the Ombuds Office at 310-434-3986 or at ombuds@smc.edu to set up an appointment by the deadline below:

  • For Fall semester classes:
    Deadline for a formal grade appeal is April 30. Meet with the Ombudsperson before April 15.

  • For Winter session classes:
    Deadline for a formal grade appeal is May 30. Meet with the Ombudsperson before May 15.

  • For Spring semester classes:
    Deadline for a formal grade appeal is October 30. Meet with the Ombudsperson before October 15.

  • Summer session classes:
    Deadline for a formal grade appeal is November 30. Meet with the Ombudsperson before November 15.
Once you meet with the Ombudsperson, there will be an attempt to resolve the grade dispute informally. The Ombudsperson will also advise you on the formal grade appeal process in case you decide to file an appeal. 


Step 2. File a Formal Grade Appeal By Deadline

If you decide to file a formal grade appeal, the Ombudsperson will provide you with a signed referral form to file a grade appeal. You will take this form to Admissions & Records where you will be directed to the staff member responsible for managing grade appeals. You will be given a grade appeal packet that will outline the rest of the process. There will be a petition for grade appeal that you will need to fill out and you must attach a type-written statement of no more than three pages discussing the basis of the appeal (instructor mistake, fraud, incompetence, bath faith)--no other reasons are valid and such appeals will be denied.  

The deadline to submit your formal grade appeal packet to the Admissions & Records Office is:
  • For Fall semester classes: April 30. 
  • For  Winter session classes: May 30. 
  • For  Spring semester classes: October 30. 
  • For  Summer session classes: November 30. 

Deadlines will not be extended.


Step 3. After You File a Grade Appeal

Your grade appeal packet will be reviewed by the Dean of Enrollment Services, the administrator overseeing the grade appeal process. Unless the appeal lacks substantive evidence in support of the appeal, it will be forwarded to the instructor, the department chair, and the Vice President of Academic Affairs for review and comment. Once these comments are received, the Dean's office will contact you to set up an appointment to review their feedback. You will meet with the Dean and you must decide at this meeting if you still wish to pursue the appeal before the Grade Appeals Committee at a closed hearing. You will also be advised on the structure of the formal grade appeal hearing.


Step 4. The formal Grade Appeals Committee Hearing

If you decide to pursue a formal appeal with the Grade Appeals Committee, a hearing will be scheduled at the next possible opportunity. The Committee meets 5-6 times during the Fall and Spring semesters only, but there is a heavy caseload. Thus, your hearing may not occur for several months. The average time for a formal hearing before the Committee is approximately 7 months after the appeal has been filed. Once the hearing is held, a decision will be sent to you and the professor within 10 school days. If the outcome is in your favor, the final grade may be changed to one determined by the Committee based on the evidence presented. The Committee may also find in the student's favor but may determine a grade change is not warranted.


e Grade Appeals Committee is composed of faculty, students, and administrators who participate in the formal Grade Appeal Hearing. Each hearing panel is composed of:

  • 1 Academic Administrator who serves as chair
  • 3 faculty members
  • 3 students
  • The Dean of Enrollment Services--non-voting

Hearings are closed to the public. The student is required to be present.


Contact

For questions, please contact Nicholas Chambers‚Äč in the Admissions & Records Office at 310-434- 4572.