Grade Appeal

Before you begin…

Before you raise a concern about your grade, please review the course syllabus carefully. The syllabus should specify how grades on assignments and exams are calculated, and it probably explains your instructor’s expectations about deadlines and late work. Keep in mind that Canvas might not contain all information related to your grade, so a review of the course syllabus is important.

The grade appeal procedure is not applicable to grades earned on individual assignments, projects, or exams. Only final course grades recorded on a transcript by the Registrar may be appealed using this procedure.

IAS Advisors are here to help you navigate the grade appeal procedure from start to finish, but they cannot require an instructor to change your grade. IAS Advisors will not review student assignments or exams, grading rubrics, or other course materials related to your dispute.

The grade appeal procedure must always begin with a face-to-face meeting with your instructor (either in-person or through online video conference tools like Zoom). When possible, approach these meetings with a collaborative spirit and try to understand your instructor’s reasoning for the grade. Your instructor worked hard to review your work and assess a grade. Sometimes grade errors are unintentional miscalculations, and can be resolved in a friendly fashion. In cases where you and your instructor cannot come to an agreement about the grade dispute, you will need to understand their reasons for your existing grade in order to file an official grade appeal.

Grade appeal process for IAS courses:

A grade appeal may be appropriate if you have evidence (or you believe evidence exists) that your instructor’s grading of you was arbitrary and capricious, and that they graded you in ways that were not applied when assigning grades for other students in your class. Students should follow these steps to submit a grade appeal for IAS classes:

1. Meet with your instructor

Students should first seek resolution to the grade dispute through a face-to-face conversation with their instructor. Email your instructor to schedule an appointment, or review your course syllabus to identify available office hours.

If your instructor is not responsive to your request for a meeting, please contact an IAS advisor at The advisor will try to connect you directly with the instructor.

2. If needed, prepare and submit your written appeal

If the face-to-face meeting does not result in resolution, you may appeal the grade by writing to the IAS Dean, copying the instructor, within ten days of the meeting. The written statement should describe the action being appealed, the grounds upon which your appeal is based, the resolution you are seeking, and any background information that you think is pertinent to this case.

Within ten calendar days of receiving your written statement, the Dean will review your appeal and consult with the instructor to determine whether the evaluation of your performance was fair and reasonable, or if the instructor’s conduct in assigning the grade was arbitrary or capricious. The Dean will inform you if your appeal has been denied, or if next steps are necessary to move forward with a review. This time frame may be extended by the Dean in exceptional circumstances.

Get additional support

The decision to approve your appeal or move forward with an additional review of your grade depends on the strength of your written statement. Visit the Writing & Communication Center (WaCC) or identify a trusted, impartial peer reviewer who will read your draft and give honest feedback about clarity, tone, and persuasiveness. The written statement should not include name calling, exaggerated generalizations, or hyperbole. Try to remain objective in presenting your case.

View our list of frequently asked questions to review additional information about grade appeals. You can also consult with an IAS advisor to discuss the steps of the university Grade Appeal Procedure and how to move forward toward resolution.

University of Washington Grade Appeals Policy

The School of IAS upholds the UW policy for grade appeals. For a detailed description of this policy, see the UW Scholastic Regulations, Chapter 110 “Grades, Honors, and Scholarships,” Section 2B. The Grade Appeal Procedure is outlined on the UW Bothell Registrar webpage, and copied below:

In accordance with The University Handbook/ UW Policy Directory (Chp 110.2), UW Bothell outlines the following procedures for the Written Appeal of Grade Error:

A student who believes he or she has been improperly graded first discusses the matter with the instructor. If the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s explanation, the student may submit a written appeal to the dean or director of the student’s academic unit (or their designee) with a copy of the appeal also to the instructor. The dean or director consults with the instructor to ensure that the evaluation of the student’s performance has not been arbitrary or capricious. Should the dean or director believe the instructor’s conduct to be arbitrary or capricious, and the instructor declines to revise the grade, the dean or director, with the approval of the voting members of his or her faculty, shall appoint an appropriate member, or members, of the faculty of that department, to evaluate the performance of the student and assign a grade. The Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs should be informed of this action.

Once a student submits a written appeal, this document, and all subsequent actions on this appeal, are recorded in written form for deposit in a department or college file.