School of Policy Studies

School of Policy Studies
School of Policy Studies

Review of Academic Decisions

These procedures supplement, but do not replace, the general regulations for the review and appeal of academic decisions as set out by the University Senate in the Student Appeals, Rights & Discipline document. Any academic decision may be appealed. Procedures for appealing a grade in a course are set out below. Appeals of other academic decisions should first be made informally to the instructor or to the MPA Program Director. The student must ensure that the Program Director is aware of all the facts that the student believes should bear upon the reconsideration of the decision. This should be done within two weeks of the receipt of the decision. If the student is unable to resolve the problem by informal discussion, an appeal may be lodged with the Program Director of the School of Policy Studies, who will normally respond to the appeal within two weeks. If the student is still not satisfied, s/he may invoke the procedures in of the School of Graduate Studies regarding Appeals Against Academic Decisions.

Initial inquiries about a grade assigned to a student should be directed to the course instructor. The student should make clear to the instructor the reasons for his/her concern and communicate all facts that the student believes relevant to the determination of the grade. The instructor should make clear to the student the reasons for the evaluation.

If the student and instructor are unable to resolve the matter and the student deems the grade academically improper, the student may formally appeal the grade in writing to the Program Director. If the course instructor is the Program Director, the appeal should be made to the Director of the School. The request to appeal a grade should be done as soon as possible and normally within one month of notice of the grade to the student. Within two weeks of receiving written notice of the appeal, the Program Director (or Director of the School) will have 7 days to request and then 7 days to receive from the instructor:

  • a copy of the course requirements;
  • a copy of the instructor's directions to students for the course element being appealed;
  • an unmarked copy of the paper or examination question, the grade of which is being appealed;
  • the instructor's reasons, in writing, for awarding the grade which is being appealed.

Within three weeks of receiving written notice of the appeal, the Program Director will choose a second reader from the School's faculty or from within the University's faculty and provide the new reader with a copy of the instructor's directions for the relevant assignment(s) and a clear unmarked copy of the student's submitted work. The grade and any significant written comments by the instructor will be removed from the assignment(s). The second reader will normally be asked to make a recommendation within three weeks.

If the second reader recommends that a substantially different grade (i.e. more or less than 3 marks) is warranted or the new grade crosses a threshold (i.e. 65 or 80), the Program Director may recommend a change in grade. The result of the appeal will be reported to the student and the course instructor.