Anonymous Grading Policy
Course grades assessed by exams are prepared by the faculty anonymously. Each semester new examination numbers are given privately to students. Spring exam numbers are used for the following summer session exams.
When finished assigning grades to exam numbers, the faculty member gives the list of exam numbers and matching grades to his/her support staff member who transposes the numbers to names and records letter grades on the grade roster. In order to ensure anonymity of grades, faculty members do not have access to the student name/exam number list until after all grades are submitted for the semester.
Pass/Fail Grades for Graduating Students
Although faculty members are not required to submit letter grades for any graduating seniors prior to commencement, faculty members must submit pass/fail grades for students scheduled to graduate by 10:00 a.m. on the Friday before Commencement.
To the extent it is both feasible and practical, faculty members shall give priority in grading to courses that include students scheduled to graduate. Honors at graduation will be announced tentatively based upon the information available at the conclusion of the fall semester. The final determination of Honors will be made only after all grades have been submitted after Commencement.
In order to determine whether any student scheduled to graduate will have to enroll in a summer session course, faculty members will receive prior to the beginning of the examination period a list of examination numbers for those students for whom letter grades must be submitted by 10:00 a.m. on the Friday before Commencement.
After faculty members turn in their grades, staff members enter the grades on MyWashburn and the law school posts them on two dates, which are announced to students each semester. The first date is approximately three weeks after the end of the examination period and the second date is approximately two weeks thereafter. The second date is for faculty members who have more than 100 students in all courses.
Faculty and staff members are reminded that it is crucial to double-check all clerical aspects of determining and entering grades, including all mathematical computations as well as the translation from a student's exam number to the student's name. If a clerical mistake is discovered within 30 days of the posting of a grade, the grade is subject to upward or downward revision.
Once grades for a class are posted, the faculty member teaching the class may not change a grade for a student in the class without the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Request for Change of Recorded Grade forms are available in the Dean's Office.
A faculty member may change a posted grade:
- if there was a posting error,
- if the grade originally assigned was based on an arithmetic or other calculation error, or
- if a mistake was made in grading the exam or paper that does not reflect merely a change in judgment by the faculty member after rereading the exam or paper. E.g., if a faculty member failed to read part of an answer (written on the back of a page so the faculty member did not see it the first time), a grade change based on reading the overlooked part is permitted. However, if a faculty member concludes that a paragraph in an exam answer which was originally assigned 1 point could have been assigned 2 points, resulting in a change in the overall grade on the exam or paper, the initial judgment cannot be changed once grades are posted.
Grade Review Procedure
Should any student wish to challenge a grade received in any course the procedure shall be as follows:
- The grading system is one which normally involves a judgment determination. Students who want to go over their papers meticulously to discover one or two points may just as frequently find they have received undue credit elsewhere. Grade review is designed to prevent major deviations from appropriate grading standards and to process substantial complaints.
- The student must first discuss or attempt to discuss the reasons for the grade received with the faculty member (s) who determined that grade as a condition precedent to the filing of a petition.
- Should the faculty member refuse to discuss the grade with the student, or the faculty member be unavailable for such a discussion, or the student, having discussed the grade with the faculty member, is still not satisfied with it, then within thirty (30) days after posting of the grade, the student shall file with the dean in writing a petition requesting a review of the grade in question stating briefly and specifically the reasons for the complaint. On a showing of good cause by the student, the dean may extend the time limit for filing the petition.
- Upon receipt of a properly filed petition, the dean shall appoint a member of the faculty with the concurrence of the student and faculty member (s) to act as hearing officer. In the event the student and faculty member (s) cannot agree on the first two proposed officers, the dean will appoint an officer without the concurrence of the faculty member (s) and student. The hearing officer shall, without delay, furnish a copy of the petition to the faculty member or members involved and set at that time a date and place to meet with the student and faculty member or members involved.
- At this meeting which shall be informal, the hearing officer shall attempt to reconcile or adjust the complaint between the student and faculty member. Should the complaint be reconciled or adjusted, the hearing officer will report in writing to the dean the substance of that reconciliation or adjustment.
Should such a reconciliation not be possible, the student shall submit a written summary of the grounds on which the student relies and the relief requested. The professor shall then furnish a written statement of the criteria used in grading the disputed material. The statements shall be furnished to the other party (ies) and to the hearing officer. The student's summary must present a prima facie case or raise a substantial question as to the appropriateness of the grade received or the appeal shall be dismissed by the hearing officer.
If a prima facie case has been presented, or the student contests the hearing officer's finding of lack of substance, the professor (s) shall be notified of an appeal.
- The hearing officer shall report the impasse to the dean who shall nominate five (5) faculty members to hear the matter. These five nominees shall be made known only to the hearing officer. The hearing officer will then contact the student, who may challenge one of these; the hearing officer shall then contact the faculty member (s), who may strike one of the four remaining faculty members. Should either party fail or refuse to exercise a challenge, the hearing officer will, without consultation, strike such nominees by lot until three remain. These three shall constitute the Grade Review Committee.
The hearing officer will reduce to writing the exact points in controversy between the parties and indicate his findings forwarding these to the Grade Review Committee and to the parties involved. The Review Committee shall also be furnished the written statement of the parties referred to in paragraph two of this section.
- The Grade Review Committee shall select one of its members as chairperson and shall determine by majority vote whether a prima facie case is presented. If it determines that such a case has not been presented on the evidence before it, the chair person shall forward the Committee's finding to the dean and to the parties involved. This shall terminate the proceedings. A dissenting opinion may be filed. If the Committee finds that a prima facie case has been made by the student, the chairperson shall without delay, set a time and place for a hearing.
- The hearing shall be had before the full Committee and the rules for such hearing shall be as follows:
- In such proceedings there will be presumption of regularity as to the grade bestowed and the student shall bear the burden of proving that the grade is improper by clear and convincing evidence.
- Oral testimony need not be received except to explain and amplify the written offerings.
- The proceeding will be informal. The amount of time allotted and the direction of the questioning shall be at the discretion of the Committee.
- An electronically recorded transcript of the proceedings may be made by the Committee for its use. This transcript will be erased after a decision is reached.
- The Committee may in its discretion ask either party (ies) to furnish additional evidence and all parties shall have the right to inspect such materials (except those of a confidential nature). A continuance may be obtained at the request of any party at the discretion of the Committee.
- The Committee shall then meet and determine the issues by a majority vote. The Chairperson will reduce the decision to writing and furnish copies to the parties. A dissenting opinion may be filed. The decision and any recommendations shall be forwarded to the dean and be binding on all parties.