Revisions to Grading Policy; Supersedes EM 91-009

Executive Memorandum 92-013

May 05, 1992

From: Robin S. Wilson, President

Subject: Revisions to Grading Policy; Supersedes EM 91-009

Upon recommendation of the Faculty Senate, I approve the revision to the grading policy for immediate implementation. This document supersedes EM 91-009.

GRADING POLICY

Functions of Grading


Underlying the rationale for grades is the theme of communication. Grades communicate one or more of the following functions:

  • Recognize that classroom instructors have the right and responsibility to provide careful evaluation of student performance and the responsibility for timely assignment of appropriate grades according to published Admissions and Records procedures.
  • Recognize performance in a particular course
  • Act as a basis of screening for other courses or programs (Including graduate school)
  • Inform the student as to level of achievement in a specific course
  • Stimulate students to learn
  • Inform prospective employers and others of student achievement


Definition of Letter Grading Symbols


Undergraduate Courses (Numbered 1-299)

  • A - Superior work; a level of achievement so outstanding that it is normally attained by relatively few students
  • B - Very good work; a high level of achievement clearly better than adequate competence in the subject matter/skill, but not as good as the unusual, superior achievement of students earning an A
  • C - Adequate work; a level of achievement indicating adequate competence in the subject matter/skill. This level will usually be met by a majority of students in the class
  • D - Minimally acceptable work; a Level of achievement which meets the minimum requirements of the course
  • F - Unacceptable work; a level of achievement that fails to meet the minimum requirements of the course. Not passing

Graduate Courses (Numbered 300-399)

  • A - Superior work; a level of achievement so outstanding that it is normally attained by relatively few students
  • B - Adequate work; a level of achievement indicating adequate competence in the subject matter/skill. This level will usually be met by a majority of students in the class
  • C - Minimally acceptable work; a level of achievement which meets the minimum requirements of the course
  • F - Unacceptable work; a level of achievement that fails to meet the minimum requirements of the course. Not passing.

Use of Plus/Minus Signs

  • Standard letter symbols will be used with + and - modifiers for undergraduate and graduate grading with the following associated grade points:

          o A     4.0
          o A-    3.7
          o B+   3.3
          o B     3.0
          o B-    2.7
          o C+   2.3
          o C     2.0
          o C-    1.7
          o D+   1.3
          o D     1.0
          o F      0.0

  • The use of plus/minus modifiers still permits ABCDF to be used in disciplines or courses where finer divisions are not possible.


Credit/No Credit Grading

Mandated CR/NC Grading

  • CR/NC grading is mandated for courses in which standard grading procedures are not practical or possible (i.e., independent studies, credit for prior experience, challenge examinations)

Optional CR/NC Grading

  • In elective courses not taken for major, minor, or general studies requirements, undergraduate students will be allowed the option of taking the courses CR/NC or for a letter grade.
  • In courses taken for an optional CR/NC grade, the instructor will apply the same criteria to all grades in the course. After grades are reported and recorded, all undergraduate (through 299 courses) grades of C- and above and all graduate (all 300+ level courses) grades of B- and above will be converted to Credit, and all undergraduate (through 299 courses) Ds and Fs and all graduate (all 300 level courses) Cs and Fs  to No Credit.

Procedures for Computation of Grade Point Average

Grade Point Average (GPA) is determined by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of letter graded units attempted. CR/NC grades are not computed in a grade point average but count toward total units passed and therefore towards graduation. Grade points are awarded on the point scale described in IIC.

Grade point averages for students individually and collectively and for courses, departments, and the University will be computed and reported to two decimal places.

Calculation of the Major or Minor GPA shall follow standard procedures used in calculating the Cumulative and Chico GPA with the following exceptions:

  • When a students legally repeats a course with or without forgiveness, the highest grade earned will be used
           *Note: Any course grades that were a result of a finding of academic dishonesty will be included
  • When a student takes courses in the major or minor in excess of those required, only the minimum number of courses with the highest grades will be used

Other Grading Symbols

AU - Audit

  • Denotes registration in a course in which fees are paid but for which no credit is earned by the student. Completion of the course will result in the grade of AU being posted to the student's permanent record

I - Incomplete

  • Incomplete (I) will be assigned only in cases where instructors conclude that a clearly identifiable pattern of course requirements cannot be met for unforeseen reasons.
  • An Incomplete must be made up within one calendar year after it is assigned whether or not the student is enrolled or it will be changed to F in a letter grade situation or NC in a CR/NC situation
  • Students are not to re-enroll in courses in which they have Is on their record. If they do, the Is will revert to Fs.

W - Withdrawal

  • A withdrawal (W) grading symbol is shown on a student's permanent record and transcript whenever a course is dropped after the fourth week of the semester. Courses dropped prior to the fourth week do not appear on a student's permanent record nor transcript
  • During the final three weeks of instruction, a W can be assigned only in cases such as an accident or serious illness when the cause of withdrawal is due to circumstances beyond the student's control and an assignment of an Incomplete (I) is not practical.

SP - Satisfactory Progress

  • The grade symbol of Satisfactory Progress (SP) indicates that the coursework is in progress and is employed in connection with Independent Study (398), Master's Study (399), and Special Topics (298) courses. Cumulative enrollment in units attempted may not exceed the total number applicable to the student's educational objective. Work must be completed within one year from initial enrollment for 298 and 398 courses and two years from initial enrollment for 399 courses. Any extension of the time limit must receive prior authorization by the instructor of record and the department chair of the department offering  the course for 298 courses and by the instructor of record and the Dean of the Graduate School for 398 and 399 courses.

RD - Report Delayed

  • Report Delayed (RD) is used in those cases where a delay in reporting a grade is due to faculty action rather than student action.

U - Unauthorized Incomplete

  • The symbol U shall be used when a student who is enrolled on the Census Date (the end of the fourth week of the semester) does not withdraw from a course but fails to complete it. Its most common use is in those instances where a student has not complete sufficient course assignments or participated in sufficient course activity to make it possible, in the opinion of the instructor, to report satisfactory or unsatisfactory completion of the class by use of one of the letter grades A-F. The symbol U denotes failure of the course, shall be identified as a failing grade in the transcript legend, and shall be counted as units attempted but not passed in computing the grade point average. In courses which are graded Credit/No Credit or in cases where the student has elected Credit/No Credit evaluation, use of the symbol U is inappropriate and NC shall be used instead.

Changes of Program

Students may officially add or drop or change grading status in a course without restriction or penalty during the first two weeks of class by obtaining the instructor's signature. After the second week of instruction and prior to the last three weeks of instruction, an add, drop, or change of grading status is permitted only for serious and compelling reasons, and permissions must be obtained from both the instructor and department chair offering the course. After the fourth week of the semester, adds, drops, and changes of grading status require the additional signature of the dean of the college sponsoring the course.

Credit/No Credit Enrollments

Undergraduate Electives

  • Undergraduate students may, at their option, elect to enroll in courses normally graded A, B, C, D, F or A, B, C, NC on a CR/NC basis, provided such courses are not required for their major, minor, or general education programs.
  • Students may apply up to 30 units of elected credit to their baccalaureate program. Units previously taken at Chico on a Pass/Withdrawal (P/W) basis count toward this total of 30 units. Courses with CR/NC grading do not count toward the undergraduate student's 30 unit total of allowable CR/NC units.

Graduate CR/NC Courses

  • Graduate students are allowed ten units of CR/NC in a master's program; however, within the major department only 300-level courses may be taken as CR/NC. Since CR is defined as at least a C- for 200 level courses, students wishing to apply a 200-level course toward the requirements for a master's degree must take that course for a letter grade. There is no restriction on the number of CR/NC courses which can be taken by post-baccalaureate students who are not master's candidates. Performance expectations of master's students in 200-level CR/NC courses are the same as in 300-level CR/NC courses. If taken outside a student's discipline, a course take CR/NC at the 200-level may be applied to a master's program based on approval of a petition by the Graduate School which reflects permission of the Graduate Coordinator and includes certification by the instructor or performance comparable to that required for a grade of CR in 300-level courses.


Narrative Evaluations in Major Courses

In certain courses required for the major and selected by a department, instructors will provide students a written narrative evaluation addressing such matters as ability to express ideas in an organized way, effective participation, and motivation.

Course Objectives

In some classes all students will be graded A, B, C, NC (No Credit) and in others CR (Credit) or NC. Students will be advised at the beginning of a course if either of these patterns is to be used.

Each member of the faculty will write and distribute for each course, consistent with the nature of that course, clearly stated objectives which will facilitate the instructional and evaluative processes. Students should be informed by the instructor about the level of achievement that is expected for each letter or credit grade.

In multiple section courses instructors should meet at reasonable intervals to discuss goals, objectives, procedures, course materials, and criteria for evaluation. While complete uniformity is not essential, departments should strive for basic uniformity of goals, subject matter, and grading patterns in multiple section courses.

Assignment and Change of Grades

To verify that assigned grades are identical to posted grades, Admissions and Records shall provide instructors with a final copy of the posted grades for each course.

It is presumed that grades assigned by the responsible instructor are correct. For a grade to be changed, an appeal must demonstrate that the grade was not correct.

In the absence of a compelling reason for change, the grade assigned by the responsible instructor is final. Examples of compelling reasons for a change of grade include:

  • Instructor error in computing or marking the grade
  • Clerical error by the Office of Admissions and Records in posting the grade
  • Prejudice on the part of the instructor in assigning the grade
  • Failure by the instructor to follow grading standards described in the course.

A student may appeal an assigned grade to the instructor of record. Then:

  • If the instructor of record aggress there is a compelling reason to change the grade, a change of grade resulting from this review will be made on an official Change of Grade form provided by Admissions and Records. The responsible department chair and college dean must approve the change and countersign the form.
  • If the instructor of record does not agree there is a compelling reason to change the grade and the student still believes the assigned grade to be incorrect, the student may pursue the complaint through the Student Grievance Procedures as described in EM 92-011.
  • If the instructor of record is not available, the department chair in concurrence with the dean and the Coordinator of Student Judicial Affairs may authorize a change of grade.

No grades may be changed on a student academic record after a degree has been granted and posted to that academic record.