SMU Final Grade Appeal

Do you think your final course grade is wrong?

At Saint Mary’s University, there is a system in place to appeal your final grade. The process is relatively straight forward and can be summarized in 4 steps:

Step 1: speak to the course instructor.

You’ll want to explain why you believe your grade should be different. Provide specifics. Refer the instructor to tests or assignments which you feel deserved a higher grade. If your efforts to change your grade are unsuccessful, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: speak to the Dean and the Chairperson of the Department.

Express the reasons for your position as you did with the instructor. Offer the dean or chairperson the reasons provided to you by the professor. This is your opportunity to offer a reply to the professor’s position. The Dean or Chairperson did not teach you the course, so his or her perspective may be of help to you (and the professor). Ultimately, if the grade does not change, proceed to Step 3.

Note: The first two steps must be done within the 90 days of the grade being released.

Step 3:  File a formal appeal

Informal discussions at the department level have been unsuccessful. You are now going to file an appeal with the Committee on Academic Appeals. The appeal must be filed with the Registrar within 90 days of the end of the semester in which the course was taken. The appeal form is available from the Registrar, or here.

This must be done in writing, through the Registrar, within three months from the last day of the semester in which the course was taken. This appeal statement must contain specifics as to when the instructor, the Chairperson, and the Dean were consulted, together with any other information the student considers relevant.

You will note that the form has a Reasons for appeal section. This is your opportunity to express in writing how you believe the grade should be higher. Be sure to include information about your conversation with the professor (Step 1) and with the Dean and the Chairperson (Step 2). Be sure to provide any evidence (e.g., syllabus, marking key, notes, teaching material, etc.) that may assist the Appeals Committee to assess your claim.

The second page of the appeal form asks “State PRECISELY what you expect the upholding of your appeal to accomplish.” The answer here is a higher score – this is why you undertook the process. The question is really seeking to determine how the Appeals Committee could arrive at your outcome. Should there be a recalculation of scores because of error? Should there be a new test and assignment score balancing calculation in your case? In short, you need to state why it is fair for your appeal to succeed.

Be sure to include the $30.00 fee and get confirmation that the Registrar has received a complete appeal package.

Step 4: Attend the Appeal Meeting

You are entitled to participate in the hearing of your appeal. It is a good idea to be there in person and to explain to the Appeals Committee verbally why you believe your appeal should succeed. Students often have an easier time expressing the unfairness of a process or procedure verbally. Also, you will have an opportunity to reply to the evidence presented by the others party (ie. the course professor), or others who have an interest in the hearing. Once the hearing is concluded the Appeals Committee will deliberate and provide an outcome to the parties. The appeal is final and no other process can occur.

The SMU Academic Calendar containing Regulations related to Appeals available here.

Need help?

We have experience with student academic appeals. Should you need assistance please contact Jeff Mitchell for information and advice. Call toll-free: 1-855-670-1345 or 902-702-3452.

We wish you every success with your studies.