Why a grade appeals policy?

A grade appeals policy put in your syllabus at the start of the semester will save you a lot of headaches later. I tried this in several different ways and this is how I found that it worked best:

Grade Appeals: A grade appeal process is available if a student feels that the instructor may have missed something and can provide a logical argument for why the grade should be reviewed. Grade appeals must be written as logical arguments and submitted to the instructor in writing with the original assignment attached to the appeal (unless the grade was returned electronically). The instructor will respond to the appeal within one week.  Appeals must be filed no more than one week after the assignment is returned. In most cases, appeals will not change a grade by more than 10% of the original grade.

This approach left me some flexibility but also (I hope) offered a sense of fairness. It also helped to reduce angry discussions right after class because I could tell students that a process was already in place to help them.

In addition to the grade appeals policy in the syllabus, I also offered a “how speeches are graded” description at the web site and made sure students knew to view that as well.

Have you had success with a grade appeal policy? Please share your approach in the comments and I will add your ideas to the post and give you credit.


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About teachingpublicspeaking

I believe public speaking can go from most dreaded class to favorite class. I'm a former public speaking college instructor who spent years seeking out activities, assignments and examples to make the class interactive as well as educational -- they are collected here. I welcome suggestions for additions.

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