Grade Appeals

A grade appeal is your opportunity to appeal a grade in a particular course. You can file multiple grade appeals at the same time if necessary. Remember that you have the right to appeal.

Grade appeals are submitted to the department/program that the course is related to. For example, if it's an Accounting course grade you are appealing, then submit your appeal to the Accounting/Finance Department.

Download the Grade and Standings Appeal Information Package below for a comprehensive guide to filing your grade appeal.

  1. Is a Grade Appeal Right for You?
  2. First Steps: Informal Resolution & Policy Understanding
  3. Appeals Process/Levels
  4. Appropriate Resolutions
  5. Hints and Tips
  6. Forms/Links

A key element in the policy is that in order to effectively exercise your rights, you must normally act as soon as possible. Failure to do so may jeopardize your appeal.

Contact: Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator | advocacy@rsuonline.ca | 416-979-5255 ext. 2322

▼ Download
 

All students encounter issues during a semester that impact their academic performance and although these issues may be significant to you, they may not apply in the context of Ryerson Policy. Therefore, before you decide to submit an appeal, you must assess if you will qualify under Ryerson University grounds for appeal.

There are five grounds that you can submit a grade appeal on:

  1. Medical: Must be submitted with a completed Ryerson Medical Certificate. Make sure that your medical situation was relative to the assignment of grades and performance in the course. (ie. you were sick)
  2. Compassionate: Generally, means that there should have been unforeseen circumstances that have interfered with your ability to well in the class. Generally, employment commitments are not included under this ground. It is recommended that documentation or letters of support are accompanied with compassionate grounds. (ie. a family member died)
  3. Course Management: Claims that Policy 145: Course Management (Undergraduate) or Policy 151: Course Management (Graduate) was violated. (ie. course outline was not followed properly or professor was personally biased or unfair)
  4. Prejudice: You experienced discrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, and other grounds covered under the Ontario Human Rights Code. If you are filing on the grounds of prejudice, your case will be postponed until a report is filed by the Discrimination and Harassment prevention Services.
  5. Procedural Error: Procedures were not followed and this has effected your grade or appeal (ie. a remarked assessment was never updated)
With the exception of procedural error, no grounds can be added to any subsequent level of the appeals process (ie. you cannot add course management as grounds for appeal at the Senate Level if it was not listed as the grounds for appeal at the Department Level). However, you can list multiple grounds in one appeal.
 

2. First Steps

INFORMAL RESOLUTION:

Before considering submitting an appeal, you should consider trying to informally resolve the issue with your professor. If you are unable to resolve the situation with your professor, or are unable to reach them, contact the chair or director of the course's home department (ie. HST119 would be the History Department). Informal resolutions can sometimes provide better resolutions that can avoid a formal appeal altogether.

Even if an informal resolution is not possible, by taking these steps you are indicating that you are being proactive in approaching your appeal. By not taking these steps, your appeal may not be as strong. Remember to follow up meetings, discussions and outcomes via email. Keep a paper trail and ensure that you are following up with your professor.

POLICY UNDERSTANDING:

Become aware with the relevant policies. Particularly:

Knowing policies and procedures that may have been violated can be essential to determining if you have grounds for appeals. The RSU Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator can help guide you through the Ryerson Policy. Also, check out the Policy Guidance tab to help guide you through the various policies.
 

3. Appeals Process/Levels

There are three levels of appeals that you can go through.

  1. Department level 
  2. Faculty level 
  3. Senate level 

1. Departmental Level: Your appeal goes to the department that the course is housed in. The chair or director of the program reviews the appeal and investigates the issue before they make a decision. Your appeal includes:

  • Department Appeal Form Undergrad & Graduate
  • Appeal Letter 
  • Supporting Documentation

2. Faculty Level: Your appeal goes to the faculty that the department is housed in. The appeal includes:

  • Faculty Appeal Form Undergraduate & Graduate
  • Appeal Letter
  • New Supporting Documentation (if applicable)
  • Decision Letter from Department Level
  • Entire Department Level Appeal Package

3. Senate Level: Your appeal goes to the Secretary of Senate to be reviewed by a panel of two faculty members and one student. Upon submitting your Senate level appeal, the faculty will be given an opportunity to develop a response to your appeal. A hearing will be scheduled with at least ten (10) days notice, where you will be able to pick up the complete appeals package (with the Faculty response included), normally five (5) days prior to hearing. The hearing will usually be schedule for two (2) hours to allow for opening and closing statements and a series of questions. Students will be able to ask questions and be asked questions. You will be allowed to have a Student Advocate or Legal Council at a hearing if desired.

Your appeal includes:

  • Senate Appeal Form Undergraduate & Graduate
  • Senate Appeal Checklist
  • Appeal Letter
  • New Supporting Documentation (if applicable)
  • Decision Letter from Faculty Level
  • Entire Faculty Level Appeal Package
  • Decision Letter from Department Level
  • Entire Department Level Appeal Package

Please note that appeals are most successful at the lowest level of appeal. Students should make appeals as strong as possible in each level of appeal. The Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator is here to help you with your appeals and your understanding of Ryerson policies and procedures.

You can also choose to resolve the issue through informal resolution (prior to the appeal) and contact the Ryerson Ombudsperson if you feel that policy and procedures have not been followed and/or you feel that you have been treated unfairly.

Check out the Downloads & Resources Tab for useful templates.

Ryerson policies that dictate process:

Some information listed may vary for Graduate Students. Check Policy 152 to ensure process is correct.

For more information on the appeals process, check out the FAQ section.

4. Appropriate Resolutions

Your grade appeal should indicate what resolution you are ultimately seeking. In other words, if your appeal is successful, what do you hope to achieve. Here are several tips for appropriate resolutions (remember that each appeal is unique and circumstantial, there is no perfect resolution that fits every case).

  1. Your resolution should be related to the grounds that you are filing an appeal on. For instance, if you are filing an appeal on medical grounds, you would not request a neutral third-party to regrade your work. However, if you are claiming that there has been unfair bias in the grading of your assignment (under course management) than a neutral third-party regrade may be appropriate.
  2. Your resolution should be reflective of the time period that you have filed grounds on. For instance, if you have filed a grade appeal on medical grounds for a condition that only affected you on your final exam; you would not request a retake of an assignment that was due prior to the medical situation.
  3. Offer multiple resolutions and indicate a preference. You can always indicate more than one possible resolution; however it is important that you indicate the resolutions you deem appropriate and suited to the situation. For instance, for a course that you are failing you may want to ask for a retake of the final exam, or if deemed inappropriately, a retroactive drop of the course. Again, make sure that the resolution matches the grounds and accurate reflect a solution to the issue.
  4. Remember that not all resolutions are positive. A formal regrading by a neutral third-party will sometimes result in a lower mark than the initial assessment.
  5. Under no circumstances can you request a grade-bump. Ryerson University is strict in its policy that marks are earned, not rewarded. You cannot request additional marks or increases of grades without indicating that they are earned. The alternative to this request may be retaking an assessment or regrading an assessment. Again, the resolution must match the grounds that you are filing an appeal on.
  6. All resolutions must follow Ryerson policy. You cannot request a resolution that violates Ryerson's, faculty or department policy.

Determining the appropriate resolution can sometimes be a difficult task. If an informal resolution from the professor or chair is unavailable, they can sometimes provide helpful hints on appropriate resolutions to appeal on. Additionally, the RSU Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator is here to help guide you through the appeals process to determine the most appropriate resolutions.

Some possible resolutions (not exhaustive):

  • Retaking or resubmission of test, exam, assignment
  • Reassessment of test, exam, assignment
  • Reassessment of test, exam, assignment by neutral third-party
  • Completing a supplementary assignment to indicate comprehension of course work
  • Retroactive course withdrawal
  • Redistribution of graded weights
  • Etc.

5. Tips & Hints

Be Proactive: Remember that if an issue arises, it is best to deal with it as soon as possible. Talk to your professor(s) and/or department chair sooner so that they can best accommodate you. When you reach the stage of filing an appeal, do it as soon as possible while being mindful of deadlines. This will demonstrate that you are proactive and have taken every measure to fix your situation.

Take Responsibility: As a student, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the guidelines for academic conduct set out by your professors in your course syllabi and the senate policies set out by Ryerson University. These policies can be found at www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies. Visit the Policies Guidance tab [internal link] for more information on policy understanding.

Attend a Workshop: The RSU and CESAR offer a range of workshops that will help you prepare your appeal and understand the process. Attend one of the Letter Writing workshops to prepare your appeals letter, or attend a U201 session to better understand the appeals process, the University and students' union services and the resources you have available. Check the workshops and seminars section [insert internal link] for more information.

Leave a Paper Trail: It is always important to have clear communication with your instructor, and other members of university. You might often trust the people you deal with on a day-to-day basis, but sometimes our memories can get the best of us! Speaking to your instructor and receiving verbal affirmations are good (whether it is to confirm a date to do a make-up exam, or to let them know you will be absent and need accommodations, etc.), and shows that you are a proactive student. However, it is also useful in the long run to have follow-up correspondences over e-mail. The reason for this is that if later something comes up, whether your instructor is being unfair or simply forgot that you have spoken to them, there is the proper documentation to demonstrate what actually took place.

Explain: Be sure to include the following (if it applies to your situation):

  1. Why you didn't drop course(s) before the deadline
  2. Why you did not seek help from your instructor(s)
  3. Why appropriate documentation is not available.
 

6. Forms & Links

APPEALS PACKAGE

Click Download to access the Fall 2017 Grade and Standings Appeal Information Package.

▼ Download

Relevant forms can be found on the Senate Forms page. Remember that each level of appeal has a different appeals form and checklist.

USEFUL LINKS

Contact: Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator | advocacy@rsuonline.ca | 416-979-5255 ext. 2322

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