APPEALS & ACADEMIC CONSIDERATION
What is academic consideration and when would I ask for it?
In some circumstances, such as illness or unforeseen life difficulties, it may be appropriate to ask for academic consideration such as requesting extensions for assignments or make-up dates for missed tests and exams. (You may also require accommodations for religious observances or because of a disability).
In all such cases you are expected to make arrangements with your instructor in advance, or at least within three(3) days of the missed work. If this wasn't possible you will need to explain why not. If you are not able to resolve an issue with your professor, you can ask the Chair/Program Director for assistance.
You may be reluctant to let others know about your personal problems, however, in order to get the support or accommodations you require you need to let the university know you need help.
For more info. on this topic see Section 1B. of the Undergraduate Academic Consideration and Appeals Policy.
What about re-grading?
If you believe that an assignment, test or exam has been inappropriately graded, or that there is a calculation error, you should speak first with your professor to ask about the possibility of re-grading the work. You may also speak to your Chair/Program Director about re-grading. A formal request for re-grading must be made within ten (10) days of receiving a grade. It is also possible, in some circumstances, to have your work re-graded by someone other than your instructor.
One thing to keep in mind is that if your work is re-graded and you end up with a lower grade that is the grade that will stand and you will not be permitted to submit a grade appeal on merit at the end of term.However if the reassessment of the work was not done or has not been done in keeping with the policy, the ground of the appeal is procedural error.Also, remember that you have the right to see and review all of your graded work in a course, including your final exam (under appropriate supervision).
For more info. on this topic see Section 1C of the Undergraduate Academic Consideration and Appeals Policy.
What can I appeal?
At the end of the semester you can appeal your final course GRADE and/or your overall ACADEMIC STANDING.
Full information about the appeals process is found in the Undergraduate Academic Consideration and Appeals Policy.
Graduate students should refer to the Graduate Student Academic Appeals Policy.
You may also want to review the How to submit a Strong Appeal document and/or the Appeals FAQ
One important feature of appeals at Ryerson is that it is expected you will attempt to resolve the problem in question with your instructor or Chair/Program Director directly as soon as it arises in the term to see if an informal resolution can be reached before commencing a formal appeal.
Should I appeal ?
You will want to realistically assess your situation before deciding whether to submit an appeal. Questions you may want to ask yourself include:
Is there a good reason for thinking that an academic decision or rule should be different in my case (i.e. has there been a mistake? did medical or unforeseen circumstances affect me in some way? is there relevant information which wasn't provided to the decision-maker? is there something unjust about the situation?).
Have I considered the time, energy and risks involved in submitting an appeal?
- What were my responsibilities in the situation? Did I do what I was required to do, and if not, why not?
Also, keep in mind that it is the job of instructors, Chairs, Directors and Deans to make decisions according to Ryerson rules, policies and practice and to be fair and consistent in how they apply the rules. If a fair decision-maker has said "no" to dozens of requests that are similar to yours, saying "yes" to your request would only be fair if you can point out how your circumstances are different.
If you would like to talk about whether you should submit an appeal or not you can call or visit our office and/or you can meet with the Ryerson Student Union Advocate or the CESAR Student Rights Coordinator.
Finally, remember that for your appeal to be heard it must be handed in by the published deadlines.
How do I appeal?***
STEP 1: Check the deadline.
Spring/Summer 2013 Undergraduate and Continuing Education appeals are due on Friday September 13th by 4:00 PM
Spring/Summer 2013 Graduate appeals due on Wednesday September 11th by 4:00 PM
Note that if you miss a deadline, your appeal will likely not be accepted.
STEP 2: Try to find out what happened.
Talk to your professor and find out the reasons for your mark(s) or think about why you have been suspended or withdrawn.You may want to review your course outline and any handbooks produced by your department.
STEP 3: Read the appeals policy and any other relevant policy.
All of the policies passed by Senate are available online. You may also want to consult the Academic Consideration and Appeals section of the Student Guide
In order to appeal a final course GRADE you must have one (or more than one) of the following grounds:
Prejudice. Limited to prohibited grounds as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code
Medical. To appeal on medical grounds a Ryerson Medical Certificate (with the student declaration section completed) or a letter on letterhead from a physician or other relevant health professional must be provided.
Compassionate. This is when there are events or circumstances beyond the control of, and often unforeseen by the student that seriously impairs that student's ability to study, attend classes, prepare papers or write examinations (note: normally this would not include employment related circumstances). Students must submit relevant documentation to demonstrate their circumstances.
Course Management. This is when a student believes that a grade has been adversely affected because an instructor has deviated significantly from the Undergraduate Course Management Policy of the University and/or from the course outline and/or has demonstrated personal bias or unfair treatment.
Procedural Error. This is when a student believes that there has been an error in the application of either this policy or any other policy of the University. Appeals granted on this ground will result in rectifying the procedural error.
To appeal your ACADEMIC STANDING you must provide substantive reasons why your current standing is not appropriate. Standing appeals are generally based on medical or compassionate grounds or on procedural error with supporting documentation.
Note that not every decision can be appealed/reconsidered (e.g. presentations, performances, internships, group projects).
STEP 4: Prepare your appeal or explore other options.
If you decide to appeal, try to submit your appeal in advance of the deadline and make sure you have included the appropriate form and all required documentation.
Your responsibility in an academic appeal is to help the instructor or other decision maker understand your perspective and explain why you should be treated differently than other students given the circumstances. Academic appeals are decided on a "balance of probabilities," which means that after hearing both sides of the story and examining all of the information, the decision maker must be able to say: "More likely than not, the fair decision in this case is ....."
***THANKS TO THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSPERSON FOR THEIR PERMISSION TO USE AND ADAPT THEIR 1998 ARTICLE FROM THEIR WEBSITE.