Changing Term Grades and Grading Disputes

A term grade, once reported to the registrar, is final. Yale College policy prohibits the registrar from changing that record unless the grade that had been reported proves to be the result of a clerical error. If an instructor believes that there are grounds for an exception to the faculty legislation prohibiting the change of a reported term grade, the instructor should petition the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing with a full explanation of those grounds. The chair of the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing is Dean Mark J. Schenker, 28 SSS, 432-2920.

Students may from time to time approach you to question or even dispute a score or grade they received in your course. It has long been the norm at Yale for instructors to be responsive to such questions, provided, of course, that the student’s request is civil and reasonable. Your goal in such a conversation should be fundamentally pedagogical—an extension of your goals in the course. With good will on all sides, most student complaints about grades on particular assignments or examination questions will result in a frank and nonantagonistic conversation between the student and the instructor. These discussions may be opened up usefully into fuller explorations not just of the standards for grading the particular assignment, but also of substantive matters covered by the course.

For those courses in which there is a grader or other teaching fellow, a student might either first approach the teaching fellow or approach you directly. In a seminar-style course for which there are many sections, such as ENGL 125 or FREN 110, the student may, when appropriate, be directed to speak with the course director. If the student is still dissatisfied after speaking with you or, if there is one, the course director, you should refer the student to the director of undergraduate studies of the department or program in which the course is offered. While the DUS cannot change a grade, he or she might help to settle a dispute that has proven otherwise difficult to resolve.

The faculty legislation that established the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing categorically bars the committee from considering a petition from a student for a change of term grade. A student may, however, petition the committee for permission to submit an assignment or take an examination after end-of-term deadlines. The committee’s decision in such cases will, on occasion, result in an invitation from the committee to the instructor to report a new term grade for the student. Under no circumstances does the committee itself assign grades. The chair of the committee will contact the instructor directly about the outcome of any petitions from students that might result in an invitation to report a new term grade.

A student may formally file an allegation with the Yale College Dean’s Office that the determination of her or his grade in a course resulted from discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, or disability. In such cases, the Dean’s Office will refer the allegation to the Committee for the Dean’s Procedure for Student Complaints. For information about this procedure, see under “Student Complaints” in the Undergraduate Regulations. The liaison in the Yale College Dean’s Office to this committee is Ms. Therese Barbuto, 110 SSSB, 432-2907, teri.barbuto@yale.edu.