Authors: David A. Kravitz, Eugene F. Stone-Romero, and Jeffrey A. Ryer

Title: Student evaluations of grade appeal procedures: The importance of procedural justice

Source: Research in Higher Education, 38, 699-726. 1997.

Data from an experimental study involving 408 participants were used to test a structural model based on the procedural justice literature. The model posits that two independent variables (processes permitted in a grade appeal procedure and the ombudsmanís grade recommendation) affect general attitudes toward the grade appeal procedure. The model further assumes that these effects are mediated by perceived conformity of the appeal procedure with six justice rules (Leventhal, 1980) and by perceived favorability of the ombudsmanís recommendation for the student. In addition, the study assessed the psychometric properties of the measure of rule conformity and its six justice rule subscales. Results of structural equation modeling analyses supported the a priori model. As predicted, perceived favorability of the outcome for the student, which presumably was associated with perceived self-interest for our student respondents, had direct effects on perceived conformity of the appeal procedure with the justice rules and on general attitudes toward the procedure. These effects of self-interest are especially important because self-interest is often ignored in theories and research on fairness. In addition, analyses revealed that the measure of rule conformity and its six subscales had sufficiently good psychometric properties to warrant their use in future research on procedural justice. Implications of our findings for Leventhalís model and for educational institutions are discussed.

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