Grade Changes

Each semesters work is an entity and grades are to be assigned for work completed during the normal period of the semester. As a matter of equity, grades must not be changed after the end of a semester because a student may have subsequently done additional work.

Only the instructor of the course has the responsibility and authority to judge the quality of a students work and assess the appropriate letter grade. No one can overrule instructors and require them to go against their judgment of the work.

A grade must not be arbitrary or capricious or influenced by illegal discriminatory considerations. It must not contain a punitive element for an offense against academic integrity if the student has been found innocent by a duly constituted board.

To avoid the influencing of grades by improper consideration or student pressure, a grade, once given, may only be changed if an error in the original grade is claimed by the instructor. The instructor should be willing to review the basis of an assigned grade with an inquiring student and correct the grade if an error is found.

After a letter, incomplete, or S/U grade issued by an instructor of record to a student in a course has been posted to the student’s transcript, on rare occasions a college will have reason to consider removing the grade from the student’s transcript and replacing it with a course withdrawal (W) or expunging the student’s course enrollment altogether.

When such a transcript change is necessitated by circumstances involving Cornell Health, the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX, or the Office of University Counsel, the student’s privacy interest limits the information that college officials may share with the instructor.  In such cases, the college associate dean for academic affairs (or equivalent position) will inform the instructor of the impending transcript change before it is made and explain to the instructor that the action was warranted due to a matter involving one of the three offices named above, and that university protocols, including appropriate consultation, were followed.

In cases not involving these three offices, where a retroactive transcript change is under consideration, the college associate dean for academic affairs (or equivalent) must inform the instructor of the reasons for making the change and obtain the instructor’s approval before making it.

If the instructor of record is no longer employed by the university, then the head of the unit offering the course  is the appropriate contact.

Any individual who believes that a grade change has been made improperly may communicate their concerns to the proper authorities via the Cornell Hotline. Faculty also have the option of sharing a grade-change concern with the Dean of Faculty.

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