Policies + Disclosures

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Grade Changes and Appeals

Once an instructor files the grades for a class (via WebAdvisor) with the Registrar’s Office, the grades are recorded on the student's permanent record and may change only by following the grade change rules and procedures outlined below. A student who is not satisfied with their grade may appeal it by following the grade appeal procedure.

Grade Changes

If a grade change is requested by an instructor, the following policy applies:

A. The acceptable reasons for a grade change on a student’s record include:

  1. Clerical error (the grade as reported was not the grade which the student had earned and which the instructor intended to give).
  2. Incomplete or misleading information (the grade as reported was based on information which later proved to be misleading or incomplete).

B. In the event that a grade change is requested by an instructor, a Grade Change Form must be forwarded to the Registrar. When an incomplete grade is replaced by a regular final letter grade the instructor’s signature alone is sufficient. When a regular final letter grade is replaced by another, the signature of the instructor’s department head must accompany the instructor’s signature.

C. No regular letter grade may be changed more than 60 days after the last day of the semester for which it was awarded without the approval of the instructor and the head of the department and the Dean of the division within which the course was offered.

Grade Appeals

A student who wishes to challenge a course grade should follow the procedure described here. Step two must be initiated within six (6) weeks of the start of the semester immediately following the semester in which the course was taken. For example, a step two appeal of a grade received in a Fall or Wintersession term must be initiated within six weeks of the start of the Spring semester.

    1. Discuss the matter first with the course instructor, doing so as soon as possible after receiving the grade. (In most cases, the discussion between the student and the instructor should suffice and the matter should not need to be carried further.)

    2. If, after discussion with the instructor, or, if the student seriously tried but was unable to establish contact with the instructor, and the student’s concerns remain unresolved, the student should see the instructor’s department head, who, if he or she believes the challenge may have merit, is expected to discuss it with the instructor. In a case where the instructor happens to be the department head or division dean, the student should see the division dean or Vice Provost, respectively.

    3. If the matter still remains unresolved, the student may wish to appeal to the Academic Standing Committee (ASC). If the committee believes that the challenge may have merit, it will ask the instructor’s immediate administrative superior to appoint a three (3) person ad hoc faculty committee composed of faculty members in the instructor’s department or in closely allied fields.

    4a. If the ad hoc committee determines that the grade should not be changed, it will so inform the ASC as well as the person who appointed the committee. The ASC will notify the student of the decision.

    4b. If the ad hoc committee determines that the grade should be changed, it will request that the instructor make the change, providing the instructor with a written explanation of its reasons. Should the instructor decline, he or she must provide a written explanation for refusing.

    5. If, after considering the instructor’s explanation, the ad hoc committee concludes that it would be unjust to allow the original grade to stand, the committee will then recommend to the instructor’s immediate administrative superior that the grade be changed. That individual will provide the instructor with a copy of the recommendation and will ask the instructor to implement it within ten days. If the instructor continues to decline, that administrative superior will then change the grade, notifying the instructor and the student of this action.

Alternative to the Grade Appeal Procedure - Grade Reevaluation

Once the six week grade appeal deadline has passed, a student may still request a reevaluation of a final grade with their instructor, but the instructor must support the change of grade, for the student no longer has recourse to the grade appeal procedure described above in steps 2 - 5. The deadline for a student to request a re-evaluation of a final grade with their instructor is six months after the final day of the semester in which the grade was given.


Graduates let loose at the close of RISD's colorful outdoor Commencement.