Policy on Grading, Assessment and Review

  1. GENERAL: Assessment of student work is one of the fundamental obligations of law professors.
    1. Grading should be done in a timely manner and faculty should provide an explanation of the basis upon which assessments have been made.1
    2. Examinations and papers must be either returned to students (directly or through the Registrar) or retained by the professor (or the Registrar, as applicable) for one calendar year. In the case of examinations or papers not returned, the professor must provide the student a timely opportunity to review the examination or paper.
    3. Judgment regarding standards of evaluation for a student's academic performance is within the purview of the faculty member.
  2. INFORMAL REVIEW PROCESS: In the course of academic life, a student may wish to request further feedback about a professor's assessment of his/her work.
    1. It is the policy of the school to encourage informal discussion and consultation between the student and professor as part and parcel of the professor's obligation of assessment and the educational process.
    2. If, for any reason, a student has concerns about approaching a professor to request a consultation, the student may request the Dean of Student Affairs Office to assist in facilitating a meeting.
    3. The school encourages informal processes to respond to student's questions and concerns regarding assessment and grading.
  3. FORMAL REVIEW: Because judgment regarding standards of evaluation of a student's academic performance is a faculty responsibility, the exercise of that judgment is not subject to a grievance procedure.
    1. If, however, after being furnished the basis for assessment and after thoroughly exhausting the informal consultation review process, a student believes that a faculty member's assessment of his/her work:
      1. failed to comply materially with the professor's stated policies/requirements of the course, or
      2. was the product of a grossly arbitrary grading process, or
      3. was the product of systematic discrimination in the award of grades not related to the student's course performance, the student may initiate a grievance with either the Vice Dean or the Sr. Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs ("Sr. Assoc. Dean").
    2. A grievance may be filed no later than 10 business days after the last date on which attempts at informal resolution have failed, but in no event later than September 25, in the case of the immediately preceding spring and summer terms, or February 15, in the case of the immediately preceding fall term.
    3. The grievance shall be in writing and state with particularity the grounds and any documentation upon which the student relies in asserting a grievable matter.
    4. The Vice Dean or Sr. Assoc. Dean may dismiss any complaints failing to state a grievable matter.
    5. The Vice Dean or Sr. Assoc. Dean shall refer to the Standing Hearing Committee (“SHC”) any complaint that arguably poses a grievable matter within 10 business days of receiving the complaint and shall provide notice thereof to the student and affected faculty member.
    6. The SHC is charged with determining whether the complaint is a grievable matter and, if so, shall give the affected parties the opportunity to be heard within 10 business days of receiving the referral from the Vice Dean or Sr. Assoc. Dean.
    7. The burden is on the student to show clearly and convincingly that a grade or assessment resulted from conditions described in III.A. 1, 2, or 3.
    8. The SHC will not undertake to substitute its judgment for that of the professor.
    9. The SHC shall conduct a hearing unless the student waives the right to a hearing.
    10. The hearing shall be in closed session. The student and the faculty member shall have the right to be heard by the SHC. Parties to the proceeding may present evidence, including witnesses.
    11. SHC proceedings, deliberations, and decisions shall be confidential.
    12. The SHC shall render its decision in writing within 7 calendar days of the hearing and may state therein or otherwise provide its rationale. Committee decisions shall be by majority vote.
    13. The time periods set forth in preceding sections E., F., and L. may be extended by the Dean of the Law School (“Dean”) for good cause.
    1. The SHC shall be the Committee appointed by the Dean for the Academic Year or such other term as the Dean may designate. The Committee shall consist of at least three faculty members and at least one student member. The student member will usually be the student honor code prosecutor but, at the discretion of the Dean, may be another designee of the Student Bar Association.
    2. In the absence of an appeal of the SHC decision, the SHC decision shall be forwarded to the Dean of the Law School for action in accordance therewith.
    1. Appeals
      1. Either Party may appeal an SHC decision to the Dean within 10 business days of the decision being issued. Grounds for appeal shall be limited to: (1) improper SHC procedure adversely affecting the resulting decision, (2) newly discovered evidence unavailable at SHC hearing and susceptible of changing the outcome, or (3) inappropriate remedy.
      2. A student may also appeal a decision by the Vice Dean or Sr. Assoc. Dean to dismiss a grievance under Section III. D. hereof within 3 business days of receiving notice of such dismissal.
    2. The Dean may request such information as he/she may need and shall render a final and binding decision within 10 business days of receipt of the matter.
    3. Following the conclusion of the appellate process or expiration of the time for filing an appeal without the filing of an appeal, the Dean shall notify the concerned parties of the outcome.
    1. If the Dean determines that one or more members of the SHC or any other faculty member in any given matter has or appears to have a conflict of interest, the Dean may substitute an alternative faculty member to take on the role of the member so conflicted.
    2. If any required procedures remain unaddressed in this policy, the default provisions shall be those found in the University's Academic Regulations, specifically, Section 50.00.02.
  1. This obligation may be satisfied in many different ways including, but not limited to: furnishing a model exam answer, furnishing an example of an excellent student answer, furnishing written comments on exams and assignments, holding an exam review session, etc.