Grade Grievance Procedure

By law, an instructor is solely responsible for the grades assigned; no instructor may be directed to change a grade except in certain narrow circumstances authorized by the Education Code, section 76224(a), which reads as follows: “When grades are given for any courses of instruction taught in a community college, the grade given to each student shall be that determined by the instructor of the course and its determination, in the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency, shall be final.”

When a student believes that the District grading policy has not been followed, and that the grade received in class was the result of “mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency,” the student MUST discuss this concern with the course instructor by the end of the fourth week of the following semester (excluding summer). Any student who is not satisfied after meeting with the instructor, may choose to pursue a grievance.

FRAUD: A deliberate misrepresentation of the truth or a fact used to take money, rights, or other privilege or property away from a person or persons may be found to be fraud.

BAD FAITH: Bad faith may be found in an instance of intent to deceive, in an act of dishonesty.

INCOMPETENCY: Incompetency may be found in a lack of ability, qualifications, fitness, or performance.

If a student files a grade grievance in accordance with the definitions and procedures described herein, and if, following the grievance procedures, it is found that the grade assigned has in fact been the result of “mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency,” then a new grade will be assigned, and that grade will become the final grade.

The student must observe the following procedures. The procedures must be completed by the end of the following semester (excluding Summer School) during which the cause for grievance occurred.

Please Note: A grade is not a disciplinary action but an evaluation of work, and is not subject to appeal except as provided in the grade grievance procedures outlined below:

LEVEL 1: The student meets with the instructor and the department chair. Prior to filing a formal written grievance, the student must attempt to solve the problem. When grades are available, the student must contact his or her instructor directly to discuss their differences not later than the fourth week of the following semester. At this stage most differences will be resolved. This contact should be conducted in the privacy of the instructor’s office whenever possible, and the pertinent issues should be well defined so that they may be discussed as objectively as possible.

If the problem cannot be resolved at this level, the student may, after informing the instructor that he or she plans to file a written grievance, progress to Level 2.

LEVEL 2: The student submits a written request for a meeting with the instructor’s dean to resolve the grievance. The written request must include, in detail, the student’s basis for initiating the grievance. The student shall initiate this request within five (5) days after meeting with the instructor and the department chair. The dean shall meet with the instructor, department chair and student within five (5) days of reception of the formal grievance accompanied by all supporting data supplied by the student in an attempt to resolve the issue at this level. Any such meeting regarding a grade grievance will be closed to all observers.

At this level, if the issue can be resolved to the satisfaction of the instructor and student, and the action to be taken is to change a grade due to a mistake, fraud, bad faith or incompetency, the incorrect grade shall be removed from the student’s record. Within two (2) school days, the decision and proposed action of the dean will be communicated in writing with copies to the student involved, the faculty member involved, the Vice President of Student Learning or designee, and the Office of Admissions & Records.

If the problem cannot be resolved at this level, the student may, after informing the instructor and dean that he or she plans to file a written grievance, progress to Level 3.

LEVEL 3: The student submits a written request for a meeting with the Vice President of Student Learning or designee  to resolve the grievance. The written request must include, in detail, the student’s basis for initiating the grievance. The student shall initiate this request within five (5) days of receiving the decision and proposed action of the dean. The Vice President or designee shall meet with the instructor, department chair, dean, and student within five (5) days of reception of the formal grievance accompanied by all supporting data supplied by the student in an attempt to resolve the issue at this level. Any such meeting regarding a grade grievance will be closed to all observers.

At this level, if the issue cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the dean, department chair, instructor, and student, the Vice President assumes the responsibility for arriving at a decision regarding the validity of the grievance and appropriate action to be taken. If the action to be taken is to change a grade due to a mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency, the incorrect grade shall be removed from the student’s record. Within two (2) days, the decision and proposed action of the Vice President of Student Learning or designee will be communicated in writing with copies to the student involved, the faculty member involved, the department chair involved, the dean involved, and the Admissions & Records Office. The Vice President of Student Learning or designee’s decision completes and exhausts the Desert Community College District’s Grade Grievance Procedure.  

The Superintendent/President or his or her designee may shorten or lengthen the times specified in these procedures. The intent, however, is to ensure that each and every step will take place as expeditiously as possible. Any changes to the time requirement will be made in writing. Failure of the student to adhere to the time requirements of the procedures will be considered a waiver of the right to proceed further in the grievance process.