Grade Disputes | Office of the University Registrar | Pepperdine University



Pepperdine University values the integrity of the grading processes at all schools. Consistent with this, all policies governing grades (grade types, scales, options, and deadlines) are documented in the catalog of each school. If a student disputes a grade s/he has received, each school also has a documented policy for such a grievance that ensures that the student has the ability to share all pertinent information for the impartial and transparent review of said grievance, based on all available written documentation.

Students who wish to challenge a grade may refer to their respective school's catalog for the specific grievance process, or select the school from the list below.

Graduate School of Education and Psychology

The procedure for the resolution of student academic complaints comprises a four-step process. The first two steps comprise an informal attempt at resolution by a discussion between the disagreeing parties (Step 1) and an attempt to resolve the dispute through meeting with the program director, assistant program director, program administrator, or academic advisor of the student's academic program (Step 2). The student is encouraged to consult with the division ombudsperson throughout this process for advisement on approaching the complaint with the faculty member and clarification of the resolution process. If resolution is not achieved informally, Steps 3 and 4 comprise the formal resolution process. The formal resolution process entails the student submitting a letter of complaint and a form that verifies attempts were made at an informal resolution to the Associate Dean, the Associate Dean reviewing and perhaps requesting additional information about the complaint, meeting with the student to discuss the complaint and hearing process, and requesting information from and meeting with other relevant parties (Step 3); and a hearing by an impartial panel comprised of members of the GSEP Appeals Committee (Step 4). Attempts at informal resolution are required prior to entering the formal resolution process. It is expected that most conflicts will be resolved by the disagreeing parties (Step 1) or through the specific complaint resolution procedures established by the relevant academic program (Step 2). Only rare cases should require the involvement of the Appeals Committee acting as an impartial hearing panel (Step 4).

The four-step procedure outlined above applies to all GSEP academic programs and to all types of academic complaints originating from students. Academic complaints include issues impacting student grades and status in the program.

For the academic complaint protocol and any other grade-related policies, please consult the catalog.

Graziadio School of Business and Management

Petitions must be made within one trimester of completion of the course work on which any petition focuses. A grade appeal must be initiated within 30 days after the grade is posted. To process petitions, students should contact the Program Office personnel.

For any other grade-related policies, please consult the catalog.

School of Law

The procedure for challenging a grade in a particular course is as follows:

A. Professor to Evaluate Student's Examination: It is the policy of the school that the person best able to evaluate the student's examination is the professor who taught the course. This policy is based upon the belief that evaluation is affected by participation in the course, by the course objectives, and by reference to the level of response of the class as a whole.

B. Student Challenge of Examination Grade: In the event that a student believes that the grade given on an examination is a grossly unfair assessment of the student's performance on the examination, the student shall first consult with the professor who assigned the grade unless the professor is unavailable.

C. Review of Challenged Grade by Academic Standards Committee: If, after discussion with such professor, the student still believes the grade given on an examination is a grossly unfair assessment of the student's performance on the examination, the student may submit a timely petition to the Dean challenging that particular grade and stating fully the bases upon which relief is sought. Such petitions will, unless impracticable, be referred to the Academic Standards Committee for evaluation andrecommendation. If the professor in question is a member of the committee, the remaining members of the committee shall decide the issue. In those instances where referral to the Academic Standards Committee is impractical, the Chairman of theCommittee or the Dean may act upon the petition. No petition for re-evaluation will be considered after the time limited for grade correction referred to in Section 6.32.( For all examinations taken during the fall semester, any grade corrections must be made prior to the end of the following spring semester. For all examinations taken during the spring semester or summer session, any grade corrections must be made prior to the end of the following fall semester.)

D. Professor Submits Documentation to Committee: The reviewing party shall next contact the professor whose grade is being called into question and shall ask the professor to submit to the committee the examination in question along with an explanation of the grade given and any other information which may be pertinent to the committee's review.

E. Recommendation of Remedy to Dean: The committee shall consider the petition of the student, the examination, and all relevant information supplied by the professor and shall determine whether there was a gross abuse of grading discretion. The committee shall report its findings to the Dean. Only upon a finding of gross abuse of grading discretion will the committee recommend to the Dean that the grade be changed.

For any other grade-related policies, please consult the catalog.

School of Public Policy

Petitions regarding grades, transfer of credit, or financial and other student issues must be made within one semester of completion of the course work on which the petition focuses to the assistant dean for administration at the School of Public Policy.

For any other grade-related policies, please consult the catalog.

Seaver College

Grades measure student performance and serve as a means of determining graduation eligibility and honors. As such, Seaver College recognizes that a fair and rigorous assessment of student coursework is vital to the mission of the school and wishes to ensure that disagreements arising over assigned grades are handled promptly, fairly, and professionally.

This policy outlines the procedures that students must follow in the event that they wish to dispute the grade received in a course at Seaver College.

This process must be initiated by the student before the midpoint of the next non-summer semester which immediately follows the course in question.

Most grade issues can and should be resolved privately between the student and instructor. This is the starting point with all grade disputes.  In case the matter is not satisfactorily resolved by this means, the following appeals procedure shall apply:

1. The student shall submit a written appeal to the division chair with a copy to the instructor, identifying the course, semester, grade received, and the reason for the appeal.

2. The student shall assemble all relevant class materials (syllabi, returned assignments, tests, papers, etc.) distributed or returned by the instructor to the student. These materials need to be put together within two weeks of the date of the written appeal.

In case the student cannot produce all such documents, the grade dispute ends here with no grade change.

3. Concurrently, the instructor will assemble all relevant class materials retained for this student (final exam, midterms, etc.) within two weeks of the date of the written appeal. A copy of these documents along with the syllabus, gradebook, and the instructor's written response to the student appeal is to be forwarded by the instructor to the division chair of Seaver College.

In case the instructor cannot produce all relevant documents pertaining to the student's work in the course, the grade dispute will be taken up by the instructor's division chair in consultation with the associate dean.

4. The chair will appoint an ad hoc committee of two faculty members within the division who teach the course (or a similar one) in question. This committee will then evaluate the student's course materials based on the following criteria:

  • Have all the assignments and examinations been administered accordance with the guidelines set forth in the course syllabus?
  • Has all student work been graded fairly, consistently, and accurately?

At the conclusion of the committee's evaluation of the course material, it will submit a written recommendation and explanation to the division chair in one of the following forms:

  • Uphold the grade given by the instructor, or
  • Require that the instructor re-grade one or more assignments, followed by a recalculation of the student's grade, or
  • Require that the instructor formulate a repeat of one or more class assignments or assessments, followed by a recalculation of the student's grade, or
  • Recommend a specified grade change

Based on the ad hoc committee's findings, it shall be the division chair's decision, in consultation with the associate dean, as to whether the grade shall be changed.  This decision will be final. No further appeal in possible.