Informal Grade Dispute Guidelines

1. Before a student initiates the formal grade dispute process, s/he must complete the informal grade dispute process.

2. A student who disputes a grade should discuss the reason for the grade with the faculty member who assigned the grade prior to initiating any formalized grade appeal.

3. No student should discuss any grade-related complaint with the Dean or with any other faculty member or committee, except his or her advisor, until the informal grade dispute process has concluded (the completion of step 2b under “Procedural Steps”). If necessary, the student may request the assistance of his or her advisor. If the student’s advisor is the faculty member responsible for submitting the grade, the student should contact the School of Nursing Associate Director of Advising, Admission, and Student Support to request that an alternative advisor be assigned to act as his or her advocate.

4. The difference between the disputed grades must be one full letter grade or higher, with the exception of those grades that could result in dismissal from, or delay in, the nursing program. (Examples: A- vs. A, no dispute; B vs. A, can be disputed; C- vs. C, can be disputed.)

5. Grounds for grade disputes should arise from documented incidents of discrimination and/or harassment based on race, religion, age, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or disability∗∗, and/or arising from non-compliance with established PLU and/or School of Nursing policies and procedures.

6. The grade must be disputed within twenty (20) working days after the grade has been officially posted, and prior to beginning the first day of any courses for which the disputed course/grade is prerequisite.

7. A student who has completed informal efforts at resolution, has a disagreement amounting to at least one full letter grade, and wishes to invoke the formal grade dispute procedure should understand that in the course of pursuing the dispute, his or her coursework may, with the faculty member’s consent, be referred to qualified external graders, most likely the faculty member’s school colleagues
who teach in the same area. The student should understand that external referral may lead to a recommendation for lowering the grade as well as to a recommendation for raising the grade or to no change at all.

∗∗ Documented, proven discrimination and/or harassment based on disability will not be tolerated. However, certain physical and psychological expectations exist for those students enrolled in nursing courses, per the Essential Qualifications of Nursing Students Preparing for Professional Nursing Practice. A student’s inability to fulfill program requirements, due in part or in whole to physical and/or psychological limitations, may affect the student’s grade in a nursing course or courses. Such grades do not necessarily imply discrimination and/or harassment on the part of the faculty member assigning such grades.