Grading: Appeals, Grievances, and Integrity


Academic Appeals

Students have a right to know how they are being evaluated and graded in a course and to know what is being required of them. The following are the policy and procedures allowing students to seek review of their grades on the Silver exams, their GIAC Gold grades, their Community Project Requirements Grades, and other matters.

Grievance/Appeal Policy

SANS Technology Institute actively seeks to foster a collegial and cooperative atmosphere among students and faculty. All faculty members and students are expected to act in a supportive and understanding manner. In this spirit, the Institute expects that open communication between students and faculty will be the norm, and that this will help to avert misunderstandings. However, there may be occasions when contention arises between students and faculty members. In these cases, students may file grievances/appeals as described below.

Grievance/Appeal Procedures

Grievances/Appeals about Silver Exams:
The exam technology allows students to mark any Silver exam question they feel is marked wrong which should have been marked right. At the completion of the exam, these marked questions are displayed, and there is an opportunity for the student to comment. If the GIAC Director or Deputy Director reviewing the comments validates that a question was marked wrong that should have been marked correct, the student will be awarded the points for that question and the student's test score will be updated. If the student is not satisfied with that decision, then the student can appeal. The detailed procedures are described here:

Grievances/Appeals about GIAC Gold Papers:
The procedures for grievances/appeals concerning GIAC Gold Papers are described here:

Grievances/Appeals about (1) "Community Project Requirements" grades, or (2) Other Matters:
This section applies to the Community Project Requirements Grades; or (2) when a student wishes to seek redress for other types of acts or omissions of individual SANS Technology Institute faculty or staff members, the Institute's academic departments, or the Institute's administrative units. Within 30 days of the date the grade was posted or when the act or omission occurred, a student can contact the Department Chair by e-mail providing reasonable details so that steps may be taken to reconcile the matter. Normally, this will consist of discussions between the parties, with attempts to determine a satisfactory resolution. The Department Chair will provide an e-mail response to the student within 30 days. In the event that this does not resolve the issue, it is the privilege of either party to request that the matter be heard formally by the President of the Institute by submitting an e-mail request to the President within 30 days from the date the Department Chair rendered his/her decision. The President will then render an opinion on the matter within 30 days and propose steps toward resolution. The President of the Institute is the final authority with regard to grievance/appeal proceedings.

Academic Integrity

Integrity in teaching and learning is a fundamental principle of a graduate school. SANS Technology Institute believes that all members of the Institute community share the responsibility for academic integrity. Faculty are expected to establish classroom environments conducive to the maintenance of academic integrity, give students a complete syllabus describing the course and its requirements, and by grading submitted work promptly and adequately. Students at the SANS Technology Institute are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that will contribute to maintaining academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is the failure to maintain academic integrity. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating; fabrication; bribery offered for grades, transcripts, or diplomas; obtaining or giving aid on an examination; having unauthorized prior knowledge of an examination; doing work for another student; presenting another student's work as one's own; and plagiarism.

Plagiarism is the presentation of another person's idea or product as one's own. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to the following:

Copying verbatim all or part of another's written work, using phrases, charts, figures, illustrations, or mathematical or scientific solutions without citing the source; paraphrasing ideas, conclusions, or research without citing the source; or using all or part of a literary plot, poem, film, musical score, or other artistic product without attributing the work to its creator.

Students can avoid unintentional plagiarism by carefully following accepted scholarly practices. Notes taken for papers and research projects should accurately record sources of material to be cited, quoted, paraphrased, or summarized, and papers should acknowledge these sources in references. A first act of plagiarism may result in an automatic reduction in the student's grade. Multiple acts of plagiarism may result in dismissal from the program.

All course examinations are open book, and proctored exams may be required.

As is customary in creating a new institution's academic policies, SANS policies are compilations, sometimes with rewording, of sections of policies that other graduate institutions have used. SANS is grateful to UMUC, in particular, for the excellent foundation offered by its academic policies.