Original Date: 3/19/2019 * Last Revision Effective:
Policy Contact: Provost for Academic and Student Affairs
The following procedures are established for students who wish to contest grades for work submitted during the quarter and final class grades.
Students should refer to 1440P, Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation, for complaints related to possible discrimination; and to 1450P, General Complaint Resolution, for general complaints about a college employee.
Students who wish to dispute a grade may start the process as soon as the grade in question is issued, but, no later than two quarters (including summer quarter) after the college posts the final grade to the student’s transcript for the class in question. This timeline ensures availability of instructor records for review if needed. The college may dismiss a grade dispute if the stated timelines in this procedure are not followed.
Step One: Contact course instructor
Students must first contact their instructor by email to see if the dispute can be resolved at this level, either through a correction or an explanation.
- Students must contact their instructors using their BC email accounts.
- The email must clearly state the issue the student wishes to address or resolve.
Students can expect (step one):
- During the regular academic year, fall quarter through spring quarter, instructors should respond with a determination regarding the dispute within ten (10) instruction days.
- Instructors may not be available during the breaks between quarters and during the summer.
- Students may go directly to step two below under the following circumstances:
- During the summer if the instructor is not available.
- If the instructor no longer works for the college or is off campus for an extended period.
- If the instructor does not initially respond or acknowledge the email within ten (10) instruction days.
- If a student is unable to successfully resolve the grade dispute after communicating with the instructor.
Step Two: Contact the department chair
Students who believe their instructors did not satisfactorily resolve their grade dispute may contact the appropriate department chair by email. Contact information can be found through the department webpage or Student Central. Student Central can provide students with the contact information for the department chair for the class in question. If the department chair is also the instructor, go directly to step three below.
- Students must contact the department chair using their BC email accounts.
- The email must clearly state the dispute and steps the student took to resolve the issues with the instructor.
- Students should provide any documentation that may help to explain their dispute about the issued grade. At a minimum, documentation must include emails exchanged with the instructor in an attempt to resolve the dispute, but may also include copies of assignments, course syllabus, or other items.
Students can expect (step two):
- During the regular academic year, fall quarter through spring quarter, the department chair must respond within ten (10) instruction days. The department chair may do one or more of the following:
- Contact the instructor to discuss the issue and the concern.
- Facilitate a meeting between the student and the instructor.
- Contact the division dean to discuss the dispute.
- Make a non-binding recommendation to the instructor regarding a course of action or a resolution.
- Refer the dispute directly to the division dean.
- Department chairs may not be available during the breaks between quarters and may have limited hours during the summer.
- Students must go directly to step three below under the following circumstances:
- If department chair does not initially respond or acknowledge a student’s email within ten (10) instruction days. After acknowledging the student’s initial email, the department chair may take up to an additional ten (10) instruction days to make a recommendation regarding the dispute.
- If a student is unable to successfully resolve the dispute with the department chair within ten (10) instruction days after initial contact is confirmed they may proceed to step three.
Step Three: Contact the division dean
The division dean may recommend a resolution for a student’s dispute or refer the dispute to the next step. Student Central or the relevant department can provide students with the name and contact information of the division dean, or the division office for the class in question.
- Students must contact the division dean using their BC email accounts or contact the division office and request an appointment with the dean.
- The email must include the following, or the student must provide the following to the division office prior to meeting with the division dean:
- A written account of the dispute, the steps taken to resolve the dispute, and the student’s desired resolution.
- Copies of emails between the student and the instructor and, if applicable, the department chair.
- Other documents that support the dispute, including a copy of the course syllabus.
Students can expect (step three):
- The division dean informs the student of an approximate timeline regarding when the student can expect to receive a recommendation regarding the dispute.
- The division dean responds with a non-binding recommendation to the instructor after meeting with the student or receiving the documentation. The division dean may also take one or more of the following steps:
- Contact the instructor to discuss the dispute.
- Facilitate a meeting between the student and the instructor.
- Refer the issue directly to the Student Academic Grievance Committee (step four).
- Students may go directly to step four below under the following circumstances:
- The division dean does not respond to the student.
- The division dean does not provide a recommendation by the stated timeline.
- The dispute is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction with the division dean.
Step Four: Division dean contacts the Student Academic Grievance Committee
If the division dean does not resolve the student’s grade dispute to the student’s satisfaction, the student may request that the dean refer the issue to the Student Academic Grievance Committee, or the division dean may also initiate contact with the committee. The Student Academic Grievance Committee convenes and holds grade dispute hearings during fall, winter and spring quarters, and may not be available during the summer.
The committee includes the following members:
- One (1) faculty member elected by the Bellevue College Association of Higher Education (BCAHE), who serves as committee chair for the academic year.
- Two (2) faculty members selected from the same or related academic department as the class with the disputed grade.
- One (1) faculty member selected without regard to the class in question.
- Two (2) student representatives appointed by the Associated Student Government (ASG) president.
Students can expect (step four):
- The chair of the Student Academic Grievance Committee provides written notice of the date and time of the hearing to the student’s BC email and the instructor of the class in question within ten (10) instruction days (fall through spring only) of the division dean’s request.
- The committee reviews documentation and correspondence related to the grade dispute.
- After the review, the committee holds a closed hearing with the following participants:
- The student.
- The instructor.
- Others deemed relevant by the chair of the committee.
- The student may also invite a student support college employee and one other person chosen by the student.
- The committee chair provides a written recommendation and information supporting the recommendation to the college’s chief academic officer within ten (10) instruction days after the hearing.
- The chief academic officer reviews the recommendation, consults as needed with the parties involved, and provides a final decision within ten (10) instruction days after receiving the recommendation from the committee.
- Students may not appeal this final decision.
- If the result is a change to the disputed grade, the chief academic officer notifies Student Central to update the grade.
Student Support Employee
Students may request that a college employee or an elected member of the Associated Student Government (ASG) assist with the grade dispute process and be present for any meetings that take place. The college does not require students to obtain a support employee or an ASG representative to initiate the process.
Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), parents, friends, or other non-college affiliated individuals may only participate in meetings with advance approval from the college employees identified in steps one through three. If approval is given, the student must complete a separate or new Student Information Release Authorization form prior to the scheduled meeting and submit the form to Student Central for processing at least 24 hours before the meeting. A parent or other individual not affiliated with the college may attend the Academic Grievance Committee hearing with the student’s permission.
Instruction days: Days the college is open and holding classes. Breaks between quarters, weekends, holidays, or non-instructional days do not count. Consult the academic calendar for details.
Last Updated April 8, 2019