How To Appeal A Student’s Grade In California

Student grade appeals can be filed

Last Updated on August 5, 2022 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995

Have you ever felt that a student’s grades in a high school, elementary or middle school class were wrong? Or, maybe the student was graded unfairly on their classwork or examinations as the teacher treated them differently from other students?  California law has a solution for parents who want to challenge student grades.

California Law Allows Students to File Grade Appeals

Per California Education Code 49066, the teacher determines the final grade for a student.  However the grade can be challenged for:

– Clerical mistake
–  Fraud
–  Bad faith, or
–  Incompetency

If one of these bases can be shown, the Superintendent or Board of Education for the school can overturn a student’s grade.

Teachers Are Involved in Grade Appeals

The teacher who issued the student’s grade “to the extent practicable” must be included in discussions regarding the grade appeal. Teachers also are allowed to state orally or in writing, the reasons the student’s grade was issued.

Teachers Should Be Spoken to First

Before launching into a formal grade appeal, a discussion with the teacher who issued the grade should be sought. During the discussion, arguments about the student’s grade can be levied, and maybe the teacher will change their mind.

Parents may provide evidence that the grade is wrong or invalid, and may want to format arguments around the legal bases for grade appeals listed above, in case the teacher does not come around.

This teacher meeting on the student grade is also usually listed as the first step in a grade appeal in school board policies.

A grade on report card
Student grades matter and can be challenged if they were wrongly issued

Why File a Grade Appeal?

I have seen many bad teachers in my time, unfortunately, who may issue student grades improperly.  If a student grade is impacted because the teacher was incompetent, is discriminatory, is based on whim or fancy, or another error exists,  it can be appealed via the grade appeal process.  

With college scholarships and university admission on the line, challenging a student grade can be a wise thing to pursue if there is a legitimate basis.

If a parent disagrees with a student’s grade, a challenge can be filed.  The reward may be a correct grade and a higher grade point average (gpa) for the student.

Student lawyer Michelle Ball helps parents and students with unfair grading, grade challenges, and school and college grade appeals. Attorney Michelle Ball has an office in Sacramento, California and can assist parents and students across the state, in Roseville, Folsom, Woodland, Yuba City, Modesto, Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Fair Oaks, Fremont and many other locations.