Grades and Grading Policies
The University of Maine has formal procedures by which students may appeal the assignment of grades by an instructor, accusations of cheating or plagiarism, or certain aspects of classroom procedure.
Cheating or Plagiarism
The student should discuss the concern with the appropriate faculty member. If the concern persists, the student may consult with the chairperson of the department (or the dean of the college if there are no departments) who attempts to resolve the complaint. Failing this, the faculty member may bring the complaint before the conduct officer under the provision of the Student Conduct Code. The student may appeal any disciplinary sanction imposed by the conduct officer to the Conduct Committee.
Problems of Classroom Procedure
If a student alleges the guidelines for class procedure have not been followed and harmed the student in some way, that student should discuss the concern with the appropriate faculty member. If the concern persists, the student may consult with the chairperson of the department (or the dean of the college if there are no departments) who attempts to resolve the complaint. Failing this, the student may write to the dean of the college where the course is offered requesting a review of the situation. Following this, and if there is lingering dissatisfaction on the part of the student, the student may make a final appeal in writing to the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.
Evaluation of Work and Grades
If a dispute arises over a grade or evaluation of a paper or work, the student should discuss the concern with the appropriate faculty member. If the concern persists, the student may consult with the chairperson of the department (or the dean of the college if there are no departments) who attempts to resolve the complaint. Failing this, the student may request the use of a departmental ad hoc committee composed of three members:
- Faculty member chosen by student;
- Faculty member chosen by the involved faculty member;
- Faculty member chosen by the department chairperson with the agreement of student and involved faculty member.
Both the student and faculty member will prepare a written brief and appear before the committee. Any witnesses desired by either person may be called. The student and/or the faculty member may be represented by a person of their own choosing, such person being acceptable to the committee. If the student is not satisfied with the committee decision, he or she may write to the dean of the college where the course is offered requesting a review of the situation. If the appeal concerns the awarding of an F grade as a consequence of cheating or plagiarism, and if the departmental committee declines to support the instructor’s accusation of cheating, the Dean has the discretionary authority retroactively to drop the student from the course in question without penalty, and to recommend a corresponding tuition credit or refund.
Following the review by the dean, and if there is lingering dissatisfaction on the part of the student, the student may make a final appeal in writing to the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. However, the faculty member has the ultimate responsibility for determination of grades.
The foregoing steps must be made in order of progression and all information, recommendations, and decisions made available to the next level of appeal. Maximum efforts and attempts should be exerted toward resolution of concerns without the necessity of appeal. (Council of Colleges, 12/8/76)
The overall policy of the University is that students are responsible for attending all class meetings for courses for which they are registered. Each instructor determines the specific attendance policy for the course and makes it known to students through the course syllabus and in class during the first week of classes. Instructors may assign a lower letter grade for failure to adhere to the attendance policy. Students sometimes miss classes because of ill health, family emergency, or other reason beyond their control. It is the student’s responsibility to notify instructors of the reasons for missing class and to make arrangements for making up missed work. If absences are extensive, even for legitimate reasons, it may be impossible to meet the objectives of the course. In such instances the instructor may assign a grade of Incomplete.
The University of Maine uses a letter-grade system ranging from A to F. Faculty members have the option of adding + (no A+) and – grades to the basic letter grades, but such fine distinctions may be inappropriate for many courses. There is no University-wide equivalence between percentage grades and letter grades. Each instructor makes these determinations according to the grading system described in the course syllabus.
I, for “Incomplete.”
This grade means that, in consultation with the student, the instructor has postponed the assignment of a final grade to allow the student to complete specific work not turned in before the end of the semester. Instructors assign the “I” grade only when they are persuaded that events beyond the student’s control prevented the completion of assigned work on time and when the student has participated in more than 50% of the class. If the incomplete work is not submitted within the time allotted by the faculty member, the grade will automatically be changed to an “F” grade. Students receiving an “I” grade are not allowed to re-register for the same course until the incomplete has been made up or converted to an “F” grade. A student receiving an “I” grade may not make up missed work by sitting-in on the course the next time it is taught.
Upon selecting the “I” grade during the grade input process, the instructor will be prompted to provide information related to the incomplete grade including:
1. A description of the assignment(s) needed to complete the course requirements and have the “I” replaced by a regular grade.
2. Grade reflecting quality of the work submitted to date.
3. The date by which work is to be completed. The maximum time allowed is 160 days from the end of the semester in which the class was held. The “end of the semester” is defined as the final day that grades may be submitted. [Exceptions to this rule are rare and allowed only with the formal approval of the faculty member, the faculty member’s department chairperson or school director, and the associate dean of the faculty member’s college. The formal process for requesting extensions requires the completion of the Extension for Incomplete form. The extension is not to exceed one year from the original end of the semester in which the course was taken.]
Once the grade is posted the details of the Incomplete Contract are available to the student in MaineStreet.
Incomplete grades, unless made up during the period before the degree is awarded, will remain as I’s on the student’s transcript. Each department offering a course may establish additional requirements for alteration or completion of an incomplete grade. Official grading policy information for Graduate students is available in the Graduate Catalog at http://gradcatalog.umaine.edu/
L, Failure for lack of participation.
This grade indicates that a student participated in less than 50% of the class, but did not formally withdraw from the course. This grade counts the same as an F.
Students occasionally miss a class because of participation in an authorized, official function of the university (e.g., varsity athletics, band, drama, etc.). Instructors should allow students the opportunity to make up work missed as a result of authorized absences. Students must notify instructors in advance of such absences, and should provide them authorized-absence slips signed by the appropriate director or academic dean.