Academic Senate Regulations (system-wide and individual campus) provide that grades are final when filed with the Registrar. A grade can be changed only if a “clerical” or “procedural” error can be documented.
All grades except Incomplete or In Progress are final when filed by the instructor in the end-of-term course report. The correction of clerical and procedural errors shall be governed by guidelines established by the Davis Division and shall be under the supervision of the Davis Division Grade Changes Committee. No change of grade may be made on the basis of reassessment of the quality of a student’s work or, with the exception of Incomplete or In Progress grades, the completion of additional work. No term grade except Incomplete may be revised by re-examination. Students who believe that their failure to submit work subject to grading was due to circumstances beyond their control, resulting in a grade of F may petition the Grade Changes Committee for removal of the grade.
The student or an appropriate faculty member must submit a petition to the Davis Division Grade Changes Committee or, for professional faculty or students in professional courses in their own professional schools, to the grade change committee of that school. Approval or denial shall be governed by working guidelines that are consistent with the provisions of Davis Division Regulation A540.
Grade Change Guidelines
The Grade Change Committee (GCC) is composed of the University Registrar (ex-officio member), four to five faculty members, a representative from the Academic Federation, and a student representative. Together they take under consideration petitions for retroactive withdrawals, drops, adds, and other changes of grades.
The committee meets approximately once a month and notifications are sent to students regarding the decisions.
If a “clerical” or “procedural” error in the reporting of a grade by the instructor can be documented, the student may request a change of grade. To request a grade change, a student must do the following:
- Speak directly with the instructor.
- Have the instructor complete the grade change
petition (available in the department office or see Grade Changes) and get the department chair's signature before returning it to the Office of the University Registrar. (The completed petition must be sent to the Office of the University Registrar via campus mail. The student may not deliver it.) If the instructor refuses to fill out the petition, the student should speak to the department chair. If the chair will not intervene, then the student should call the Grade Change Deputies in the Office of the University Registrar.
- The petition is reviewed by the Grade Change Deputies. If the Deputies cannot approve the change, it is forwarded to the Grade Change Committee.
Following are select guidelines prepared by the Davis Division Grade Change Committee.
Grade Change Committee Authority
The GCC is charged in DD By-Law 79 with administering grade changes, in accordance with the DD regulations on grades, in particular DD regulations A540 through 550. The GCC also has the authority to approve or deny retroactive drop and withdrawal petitions (those submitted after final exams) by DD regulation 549. The above rules are in the Manual of the Academic Senate (available in the Academic Senate Office, in the library, and in some professors’ and departmental offices). No grade except I or Y can be changed or removed from the transcript without the approval of the GCC. To change an I to the appropriate grade, the student obtains a Petition for Incomplete Grade Change from the Office of the University Registrar.The student should present the petition to his or her instructor who, after entering the grade, will mail the petition to the dean’s office of the student’s college, division, or school for approval. DD regulations A540 (C) allows a maximum of three academic quarters to convert an I to a regular letter grade. After three quarters, an F grade replaces the I grade. An instructor can change a Y grade to a letter grade by submitting a form after the Student Judicial Affairs referral is resolved.
General guidelines include the following:
- Any retroactive petition must be submitted within three academic quarters in residence after the quarter in which the retroactive action is sought. Petitions submitted after this time period must explain and document why the retroactive action being sought was delayed.
- Once a student has graduated, the individual record is closed and no changes can be made to the record.
- Petitions based on medical problems will not be approved unless accompanying medical documentation is provided to indicate that the medical problem was likely to have significantly affected the student's academic performance at a crucial time in the academic calendar (e.g. the week of final examinations), or the problem extended over a significant period.
- Petitions for retroactive drops for academic reasons or due to simple failure to drop a course prior to the drop deadline will not be approved.
- The I notation will not normally be dropped. It is awarded only if a student’s work is passing but incomplete for good reason. It is a contract by which, because of extraordinary circumstances, the instructor allows a student extra time to complete work. In accepting the I, the student obligates himself or herself to complete the work. The NG notation must be removed from a student’s academic record within one quarter or the NG will automatically change to an F.
Grade Changes Solicited/Supported by Instructor
Request for Grade Change petitions can be obtained from department advising staff. The petition must be completed and signed by the instructor, and the department chairperson. The instructor must provide a description of the circumstances resulting in the incorrect grade to indicate the nature of the error; for instance, an error in entering grade or incorrect addition of points. Grade changes determined to be for “clerical” reasons are automatically granted.
Instructors can now also use the Online Grade Change Tool to submit Grade Change petitions. Please note that grade changes are still subject to the same policies and regulations as before, and, depending on the circumstances, may require review by the Academic Senate Committee on Grade Changes; these petitions may still be submitted using this tool. Grades are available for review and change after final term processes have been run, usually about a week following the last final exams.
The only other justification for grade change is procedural error, and the committee requires a full account before deciding if a case qualifies. Each case is judged on its merits. In general, a procedural error would be a mistake by someone other than the student, in the conduct of a class or the grading procedures, and that results in an incorrect evaluation of a student. For example, if an instructor arranged with a student to allow credit for certain nonstandard work, later forgot the arrangement and graded the student as if no agreement had been made, the GCC might determine that a procedural error had been committed. The grade would be changed upon petition by the instructor.
Academic Senate regulations prohibit a change of grade based on reevaluation of a student’s work or upon the submission of additional work (I excepted). However, the distinction between reevaluation and correction of a procedural or clerical error is not always clear. For instance, an exam item marked wrong but later found to be clearly correct would constitute a procedural error. In some cases, the GCC may insist that for equity, the entire class be reevaluated. It is thus appropriate to remind faculty that under DD regulations 538 (H), they are required to retain all final examination materials not returned to students until the end of the next regular term, during which period, students shall have access to their examinations. Errors are often detected by students looking over their examinations.
Requests to interchange P, NP, S, or U and normal letter grades, based upon student need (e.g., P to B for entrance to professional school, etc.) do not involve clerical or procedural errors; these petitions are denied automatically.
The Committee may authorize a retroactive change of grade mode if the grade mode change is the only thing preventing a student from satisfying graduation requirements. In such cases, the student is expected to provide documentation of this situation, including that an exception by the graduation certifying authority is not possible. The Committee expects students to pursue grade mode changes for this reason only as an avenue of last resort. Thus, students should exercise their P/NP or S/U option with extreme caution.
Grade Changes Opposed by the Instructor
If the GCC finds that a clerical or procedural error has resulted in a student receiving an incorrect grade, it may authorize a change even if the faculty member who awarded the grade is opposed, if an appropriate grade can be determined. Generally, the GCC will require the student to have discussed the matter with the faculty member and the department chairperson. The latter has no authority to change a grade, but may assist in finding an informal solution that prevents adversarial procedures. If this fails, the student should discuss the situation with the GCC deputy in the Office of the University Registrar. The student will normally be expected to bear the burden of proof.
Faculty have authority to evaluate student academic work and assign grades as part of their professional responsibilities. The GCC recognizes that some grade changes are necessary and is guided by the principle of fairness to the individual student, the student body in general, and the faculty. Unfortunately a number of grade changes are needlessly and futilely sought. Faculty are reminded of their responsibility to be knowledgeable of the regulations regarding grades, and to inform students of what is expected of them. Students are reminded of their responsibility to be aware of the procedures and regulations contained in the General Catalog, to verify their schedules via SISWeb, and to familiarize themselves with the expectations of their instructors. For further information, contact the GCC Deputies in the Office of the University Registrar at email@example.com.
Bona fide appeals of final decisions from the GCC may be referred to the Student Petitions Subcommittee of the Executive Council of the Academic Senate. However, appeals are limited to confirming that the GCC did not act in an arbitrary or capricious manner in making its determination and that the decision was based on substantial evidence. The Student Petitions Subcommittee will not substitute its judgment on the substantive merits of the case for the judgment of the GCC.