I think my grade is wrong. What do I do?
Questions about a grading decision should be addressed to your course instructor first. Decisions on final course grades involve many detailed considerations, and your instructor is in the best position to explain them. Start with a respectful communication that makes clear you would like to better understand the process by which the grade was determined.
I understand how the grade was calculated, but I disagree with how many points I got on assignment X
Decisions about how much each assignment contributes to an overall grade, how many points are earned by a particular answer or assignment, final grade boundaries, and related issues of section-specific grading are entirely up to the instructor. There is no University process for appealing these type of instructor-discretion decisions. You can reasonably expect an instructor to explain a grading choice, but in the end the choice is up to them, using their best professional judgment. You can also expect that the process of calculating the grade is clearly described in the syllabus and/or in class announcements.
I have tried to communicate with my instructor about my grade, but I can’t get an answer or the one I got is incomplete
The next step is to contact the Associate Chair, Professor Alan Kennan (firstname.lastname@example.org). Understand that the Associate Chair is not empowered to change instructor grading decisions. Instead, the Associate Chair is another resource who may be able to help explain the decision from a second perspective.
Should I contact the Department Chair about my grade complaint?
No. The Chemistry Department Code delegates supervision of the academic appeal process to the Associate Chair. The Department Chair will not give you a different answer, and will instead simply refer you to the Associate Chair. You can get a quicker answer by contacting the Associate Chair directly.
I understand all of the explanations, but I want to file a formal grade appeal. What kinds of things can be appealed using the University process?
The University policy on grade appeals can be found on this page. Importantly, it applies only to a limited number of situations involving serious grading inequities. To paraphrase the policy (please see the official page for full details), a grade may be appealed if a grading decision was
(1) based on things other than academic work (e.g., “I don’t like people named Steve”),
(2) applied differently to some students than to others (e.g., “Only people named Steve can turn in this extra credit assignment”), or
(3) calculated in a way that was substantially different from the way it was described on the syllabus and/or in class announcements (e.g., “After the course was over, I decided that I didn’t really like the questions on the second exam, so I’m not counting that”).
What kinds of things cannot be appealed using the University process?
None of the following things are grounds for a grade appeal: “I was really close to the grade cutoff and I worked really hard and I deserved the higher grade” or “My answer to question 4 on the Final is really worth 15 points and I only got 8” or “My homework assignment was only a day late and I shouldn’t have gotten a 0 on it.” These sorts of things are solely at the discretion of the instructor.