The Academic Appeals Policy clearly identifies the procedures a student is to follow if he or she wishes to appeal a grade. Often times, the student will skip one of the steps, e.g., go straight to the department chair without presenting the written appeal to the instructor. While some issues may be easy to resolve without all of the formality, those that rise to the Provost's Office without having followed the policy are often very hard and time-consuming to adjudicate. You can keep the appeal on track if you will ensure that you do not offer a decision to the student until he or she has taken all of the appropriate steps.
Although the policy doesn't specifically require it, a written response to the student's appeal from the instructor, chair, associate dean/dean is most helpful when these situations are brought to the Provost's Office. Usually, a lot of time has passed, and important events may not be recalled easily.
Parents will often try to appeal on behalf of the student. Although we want to be gracious in these situations, FERPA laws govern what we are allowed to discuss with third parties (including parents).