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Academic Appeals

a) Be proactive

At RU it is expected that students will deal with issues that affect their Academic Performance as soon as they arise.

In other words, you need to be proactive about bringing issues that are affecting your academic performance (e.g. personal, medical, financial etc.) to the attention of your instructors and/or your Chair or Program Director, to see if an informal resolution to the issue can be reached.  If the issues were unforeseen (e.g. sudden illness or life difficulties), it is expected that you would advise your instructors and/or your Chair or Program Director as soon as is reasonably possible.

Please keep in mind if you are reluctant to let others know about your personal problems that are affecting your academic success that you do not need to provide all the details of your personal life. However, in order to get the support or accommodations you need to be successful, you need to let an academic advisor or your instructors know that you are dealing with some issues and may need some assistance in making other arrangements.

b) Be practical

Remember that you can only receive grades which reflect your knowledge of the course material. Think about what you are seeking from an appeal (i.e. what is the solution you are proposing) or from a request for academic consideration.

"It should be understood that students can only receive grades which reflect their knowledge of the course material."

c) Be prepared and be clear

Make sure that you have reviewed the policy and rules beforehand and submit all appeals forms and supporting documentation by the appropriate deadlines.  Make sure you have included the right forms and all required documentation.

Your responsibility in an academic appeal is to help the decision maker understand your perspective and explain why you should be treated differently than other students given your particular 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 ..."

There is a distinction in RU policy between an “academic appeal”, “academic consideration” and a “grade reassessment”

Throughout the semester (until you get your final grade) it may be appropriate to ask for PDF fileAcademic Consideration such as requesting an extension for an assignment or a make-up date for a missed test or exam, because of unforeseen health or compassionate circumstances, not related to your academic accomodation.

Students are permitted to request Academic Consideration with documentation and in limited circumstances once per term without documentation.

In all such cases you are expected to submit your request for Academic Consideration in advance of the missed work, and contact the relevant course instructor. Any additional documentation, if required, should be provided via the online system within 3 days of the missed work.

The Academic Consideration Request (ACR) online form must be used by all Undergraduate students, Graduate, Continuing Education and Law students.

If it was not possible for you to make this request within the normal time frames, you will need to explain why not. If you are not able to resolve an issue with your instructor, you can ask the Chair/Program Director for assistance.

To arrange academic accommodation for religious observances or due to a disability you need to make arrangements in advance.

This is the link to the form for PDF filerequesting accommodation for religious observance.

If you have a disability and need accommodations you need to be registered with the Academic Accommodation Support (formerly Access Centre). Once you are registered with the Academic Accommodation Support, you will need to activate your accommodations each semester. You do this by sending electronic accommodation letters to your course Instructors via the online system. Your medical documentation will not be given to anyone outside of the Academic Accommodation Support Office.

At the end of a semester you may decide to file an ACADEMIC APPEAL of a final course grade or academic standing if you believe you were not given academic consideration during the term or something was handled incorrectly at the end of the term.  The formal appeal process is set out in PDF fileSenate Policy 168 (Fall 2020) replacing PDF fileSenate Policy 134 for undergraduate students and continuing education students and PDF fileSenate Policy 152 for graduate students. You must meet the deadlines for filing an appeal.

There are 4 grounds for a grade appeal:

Prejudice: This is limited to prohibited grounds as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code like gender, sexual orientation, place of origin, etc.

Extenuating Circumstances:  Appeals are filed on Extenuating circumstances when students believe they have been occurences of reasonable significance that:

a) Are outside of the students immediate control; 

b) Could not have been reasonably forseen or avoided;

c) Significantly affect the students ability to fulfill their academic requirements (impaired your ability to study; attend classes; prepare papers or write examinations).

This does not include normal employment related circumstances. Relevant supporting documentation is often required.

Course Management:  This is when a student believes that a grade has been adversely affected because an instructor has deviated significantly from the Undergraduate or Graduate 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 the Academic Consideration or Appeals 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 of ‘Required to Withdraw’ (RTW) or 'Permanent Program Withdrawal' (PPW), if you are an Undergraduate student or your ACADEMIC STANDING of ‘Provisional’ or ‘Withdrawn’, if you are a Graduate student, you must provide substantive reasons for why your current standing is not appropriate. Standing appeals are generally based on health or compassionate grounds or on procedural error, with supporting documentation being provided.

PDF fileGrade Reassessment and Grade Recalculation Policy 162

This policy applies to all full-time and part time Undergraduate, Graduate and Chang School of Continuing Education Students who are enrolled in a course at Ryerson University

Students can request to have a graded course component reassessed if they believe that the grade does not reflect the academic merit of their work, or they can request a recalculation if they believe an error or omission has been made in the calculation of grades.

These requests should be processed and assessed in a fair, timely, transparent, objective and consistent manner, as outlined in the Procedures.

The University expects Instructors to provide timely and constructive feedback in response to a students work, and recognize the need to reconsider evaluations in some instances.

The University expects students to review written feedback and seek additional feedback, if necessary, to understand evaluation procedures on course components, and respect the Instructors'  subject matter expertise.

If you find that a graded course component has not been properly graded, you may consider asking your instructor for a reassessment of that piece of work. Students may be required to submit written rationale to the Instructor, explaining why they believe the work deserves a higher grade.

If students request partial reassessment, the Chair/Director will determine if such a partial reassessment is appropriate. In Graduate courses, partial reassessment is not permitted for a graded course component.

In some instances the Instructor may ask students to review their concerns with the TA/GA prior to requesting a reassessment by the Instructor. In such cases, Instructors must inform students of this process in writing.

Where the GA/TA reviews the graded work and their reassessment results in a different grade they must advise the Instructor and provide the rationale for their decision.

If you do not believe your instructors’ reassessment of your academic work was done fairly or you have not heard back from your instructor regarding your request for reassessment within ten (10) business days, or if you do not feel comfortable raising the issue with the instructor, you may reach out to the Program Director or Chair and submit a written request explaining why you believe this piece of academic work should be reassessed.

You need to contact the Program Director or Chair of the program or school or department (or the Program Director for graduate students) that the course is offered in, (e.g. English Program Director if it’s an English course even though you are in the Business Management program).

In that request you need to outline why you think the original grade was not correct (or the reassessed grade) and provide evidence for how you came to this conclusion (such as information from your text book or instructor’s PowerPoints, or information in the course outline).

In some instances, students may request a Formal Grade Reassessment by an Independent Assessor.

Reassessment, therefore may be a multi-stage process commencing with an informal review by the TA/GA proceeding to a request for reassessment to the Instructor, and thereafter to the Chair/Director of the Department/School offering the course, if the expectations specified in the Procedures are satisfied.

Please note that not every assignment can be reassessed independently (such as oral presentations or performances). Also keep in mind that when an assignment is being reassessed, the grade can go up, go down or remain the same. The grade you received through the reassessment is the grade that counts for your academic record. This is so, even if the grade went down after a reassessment. If Reassessment and Recalculation was not done in compliance with the Grade Reassessment Policy and its procedures, an Appeal may be submitted on the grounds of Procedural Error.

It is also very important to keep in mind that your grade is earned based on the academic merit of your work. You cannot just ask for a better grade without rationale for why your work should have been graded differently. Merely asserting that the work deserves a higher grade, or that you disagree with the grade or that the work was a result of a great deal of effort is insufficient rationale for a grade reassessment.