Grading Policy - Revision of EM 09-10

Executive Memorandum 10-018

July 15, 2010

From: Paul J. Zingg, President 

                                                    

Subject: Executive Memorandum 10-18, Grading Policy

 This executive memorandum establishes administrative grading symbols, minimum standards governing the assignment of grades, policies on the repetition of courses, policies on academic forgiveness, and provisions for appeal to ensure that the rights and responsibilities of faculty and students are properly recognized and protected.

I. 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 Student Records and Registration 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; and

• Inform prospective employers and others of student achievement.

II. Definition of Letter Grading Symbols

A. Undergraduate Courses (numbered 100 to 599)

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 or higher 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.

B. Graduate Courses (numbered 600 to 699)

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 or higher 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.

C. Use of Plus/Minus Symbols

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

A   4.0      B+  3.3      C+  2.3      D+ 1.3

A-  3.7    B    3.0      C    2.0       D   1.0

                 B-   2.7      C-  1.7      F    0.0

                                                    IC    0.0

                                                  WU   0.0

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

III. Credit/No Credit Grading

A. 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).

B. Optional CR/NC Grading

In elective courses not taken for major, minor, or general education 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. CR is defined as at least a C- for courses through 599. CR is defined as at least a B- for courses 600 and above. NC is defined as below C- for courses through 599. NC is defined as below B- for courses 600 or above.

IV. 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 II.C.

Grade point averages will be computed and reported to three decimal places.

Calculation of the Major or Minor GPA:

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

1. When a student 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.

2. 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.

V. 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. When audit status is permitted, students may not change from credit to audit later than the census date for the term for which the student is enrolled in the course for which such grades are to be awarded.

I           Incomplete

Incompletes (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 shall not be assigned when it is necessary for the student to attend a major portion of the class when it is next offered. An Incomplete is also prohibited where the normal practice requires extension of course requirements beyond the close of a term, e.g., thesis or project type courses. In such cases, use of the "RP" symbol is required. The conditions for removal of the Incomplete, including the time period allowed for the removal, shall be reduced to writing by the instructor and given to the student with a copy placed on file with the appropriate campus officer until the Incomplete is removed or the time limit for removal has passed.

A student may not re-enroll in a course for which he or she has received an "I" until that

"I" has been converted to a grade other than "I"; e.g., A-F, IC.

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 IC in a letter grade situation or to NC in a CR/NC situation. An extension of the one-year time limit may be granted by petition for contingencies such as intervening military service and serious health or personal problems. A faculty member may submit a letter grade to be assigned in the event the Incomplete is not made up within one year. If the Incomplete is not converted to a credit-bearing grade within the prescribed time limit, or any extension thereof, it shall be counted as a failing grade in calculating grade point average and progress points unless the faculty member has assigned another grade.

IC        Incomplete

Charged

Incomplete Charged (IC) will be used when a student who received an authorized incomplete "I" has not completed the required course work within the allowed time limit. The "IC" replaces the "I" and is counted as a failing grade for grade point average and progress point computation.

RD      Report

Delayed

Report Delayed (RD) may be used where a delay in the reporting of a grade is due to

circumstances beyond the control of the student. The symbol may be assigned by the registrar only and, if assigned, shall be replaced by a substantive grading symbol as soon as possible. An "RD" shall not be used in calculating grade point average or progress points. The registrar shall notify both the instructor of record and the department chair within two weeks of the assignment of RD grades.

RP       Report in

Progress

Report in Progress (RP) shall be used in connection with thesis, project, and similar courses in which assigned work frequently extends beyond a single academic term and may include enrollment in more than one term. The "RP" symbol shall be replaced with the appropriate final grade within one year of its assignment except for master's thesis enrollment, in which case the time limit shall be established by the appropriate campus authority. The president or designee may authorize extension of established time limits.

W        Withdrawal

• Prior to census

Withdrawal from a course (or courses) may be permitted, without restriction or penalty, during the first four weeks of the semester. No symbol need be recorded in such instances.

• After census


In connection with all other approved withdrawals, the "W" symbol shall be used.

Undergraduate students may withdraw from no more than 18 semester-units. The limits apply only to units attempted at CSU, Chico. Withdrawals after the census date may be assigned only for serious and compelling reasons. Permission to withdraw during this time shall be granted only with the approval of the instructor, the department chair, and the dean. Withdrawals during the final twenty percent of instruction require justification of circumstances clearly beyond the student’s control, such as an accident or serious illness. The requests and approvals shall state the reasons for the withdrawal. Records of approvals shall be maintained in accordance with the campus record retention policy.

Withdrawals will not be counted in the 18 semester-unit limit in two cases: (1) when the justification for the withdrawal is due to circumstances clearly beyond the student’s control, such as an accident or serious illness, and the assignment of an Incomplete is not practical; and (2) when a student withdraws from an entire semester for a serious and compelling reason – in such cases a WE symbol (withdraw exception) will be used by the registrar for administrative purposes but will not appear on the transcript.

A "W" shall not be used in calculating grade point average or progress points.

These limits also apply to courses taken through self-support at CSU, Chico.

WU     Withdrawal

Unauthorized

WU (Withdrawal Unauthorized) shall be used where a student, who is enrolled on the census date, does not officially withdraw from a course but fails to complete it. WU is most commonly used in those instances where a student has not completed 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 the letter grade (A-F). The instructor shall report the last known date of participation by the student. In courses which are graded Credit/No Credit or in cases where the student has elected Credit/No Credit evaluation, use of the WU is inappropriate and NC shall be used instead.

VI. Credit/No Credit Enrollments

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.

A. Undergraduate Electives

Undergraduate students may, at their option, elect to enroll on a CR/NC basis in courses normally graded A-F, or A, B, C, NC, 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.

B. Graduate CR/NC Courses

All graduate program course work in the major discipline must be taken for a letter grade except Independent Study 697, Comprehensive Examination 696, Master’s Thesis 699T, Master’s Project 699P, or those courses specified by the department as CR/NC only, ABC/No Credit (400/500-level courses), or AB/No Credit (600-level courses). A maximum of 10 units combined of CR/NC, ABC/No Credit and AB/No Credit graded course work may be included in the approved program except for those disciplines specifically approved for a higher limit. Program courses outside the major discipline may be taken CR/NC, but will count in the 10-unit limit. Performance expectations of master’s students in 400/500-level CR/NC courses are the same as in 600-level CR/NC courses.

There is no restriction on the number of CR/NC courses which can be taken by a master’s student if the courses are not counted toward the master’s degree program, nor is there a restriction on the number of CR/NC courses which can be taken by post-baccalaureate students who are not master’s candidates.

VII. 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.

VIII. Course Objectives

Each member of the faculty will write and distribute for each course, consistent with the nature of that course, clearly stated objectives that 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 consistency of goals, subject matter, and grading patterns in multiple section courses.

IX. Assignment of Grades and Grade Appeals

The following principles support the minimum standards governing the assignment of grades and provisions for appeals:

1. Faculty have the sole right and responsibility to provide careful evaluation and timely assignment of appropriate grades. (Administrative grading symbols may be assigned only in accordance with the provisions of this executive order.)

2. There is a presumption that grades assigned are correct. It is the responsibility of anyone appealing an assigned grade to demonstrate otherwise.

3. In the absence of compelling reasons, such as instructor or clerical error, prejudice or capriciousness, the grade assigned by the instructor of record is to be considered final.

4. Students who believe that an appropriate grade has not been assigned should first seek to resolve the matter informally with the instructor of record. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, the student may pursue the complaint through the Student Grievance Procedures as described in EM 05-10.

5. If the instructor of record does not assign a grade, or if he/she does not change an assigned grade when the necessity to do so has been established by appropriate campus procedures, it is the responsibility of the department chair in concurrence with the dean to do so.

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

• CSU, Chico shall implement policy and procedures covering the assignment of grades and grade appeals that include at least the following provisions:

• The time and manner of reporting course grades including provisions for assuring that such grades have been assigned by the instructor of record. Instructors are required to report course grades by the deadline published in the campus academic calendar. All grades reported must be submitted electronically by the instructor.

• Circumstances under which the instructor of record may change a grade once assigned, and procedures for making such changes. Grade changes must bear the signature of the instructor, chair and dean, as well as the reason for the grade change. A grade may not be changed to a grade of ‘W’ unless there is a serious and compelling reason.

• Grounds for which a grade appeal is permitted.

Grade appeals may be submitted under the following circumstances:

• Instructor error in computing or entering the grade

• Prejudice on the part of the instructor in assigning the grade

• Failure by the instructor to follow the grading standards described in the course.

Description of the extent of the authority of appeal committee(s), including provisions which clearly limit grade changes to instances where there is a finding that the grade was improperly assigned.

Provision for annual reporting to the president and academic senate on the number and disposition of cases heard.

X. Repetition of Courses

• General Repeat Policy

Undergraduate students may repeat courses originally taken for a letter grade if the earlier attempt resulted in a grade of C- or lower. Undergraduate students may repeat a maximum of 28 units. Graduate students may repeat courses in which they earned a grade of B- or lower. The repeated course grade will be averaged with all other grades in determining the grade point average for CSU, Chico and cumulative GPA. Except for specially designated courses, units earned for a course count only once toward degree requirements. In instances where a student repeats a course for which a grade of C or better (B or better for graduate students) was earned, neither units nor grade points will be counted toward degree requirements. An exception to this policy point may be made for students who have successfully re-applied to graduate school to begin a graduate program anew after 9 years because an extension of their original program is no longer feasible.

Courses originally taken in which the student earned a grade of No Credit may be repeated. If a student enrolls in a course for which the grade of record is I, the I will revert to an IC grade and be counted as an F in the grade point average calculation.

• Undergraduate Repeat with Forgiveness

No more than 3 courses, not to exceed 16 units may be repeated with forgiveness at CSU, Chico. Undergraduate students who wish to repeat courses at CSU, Chico and have the earlier letter grades deleted in the computation of their cumulative grade point averages may do so under the following stipulations:

• If the earlier attempt resulted in a grade of C- or lower.

• The student must have re-enrolled in the course.

• There is no regression* involved. Department or equivalent units will determine whether regression is involved.

• A petition stating that the course is being repeated with grade forgiveness is submitted by the student to the Student Records and Registration Office.

• The student has not exceeded the 16 unit limit.

• The student may utilize a repeat with forgiveness for an individual course no more than two times.

• Students may not petition to repeat at another institution a course which was originally taken at CSU, Chico.

• If the student's grade in the original course was not a result of academic

misconduct, documented through the Office of Student Judicial Affairs as a

violation of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (EM 96-38) and

Policy on Academic Integrity (EM 04-36).

Normally the first three courses retaken will be used for forgiveness. Students may subsequently request to have a repeat with forgiveness transferred from one

course or courses to a different course or courses.

*Regression occurs when a student takes an elementary course after having completed a higher level course. In cases where the course involved is in a sequence of courses, regression occurs when a student repeats a course after successfully completing a more advanced course.

The Student Records and Registration Office will determine whether the petition meets these eight criteria. If the course was originally taken at another institution, the CSU, Chico department that offers a comparable course will be responsible for determining whether there is reasonable equivalency.

Under this policy, only the last grade earned will be calculated in the grade point average. All grades will remain on the student's permanent record, but the record of a previous grade in the course will be marked to indicate that the course has been repeated. This forgiveness policy may not be invoked to remove an Incomplete, nor does it apply to a course first taken Credit/No Credit.

If a petition to repeat with forgiveness does not meet the eight criteria and the course is completed, then the repeated course grade will be governed by the General Repeat Policy (see above section X.A.).

Other schools outside the California State University system, including professional and graduate schools, may not honor this policy on repetition of courses with forgiveness. Veterans should consult the Office of Veterans' Affairs to determine the impact of course repetition on their eligibility for benefits.

C. Graduate Repeat with Forgiveness

Postbaccalaureate students pursuing a second bachelor's degree, a second major, a credential, or a minor are subject to the undergraduate repeat policy but must file their petition with the Graduate School.

Once students have a bachelor's degree, they may not raise their undergraduate grade point average by repeating a course taken as an undergraduate. If they wish to repeat a course they have taken as a postbaccalaureate, not noted in the above categories, they must file a petition in the Graduate School. This petition must be approved by the appropriate program adviser. Approval may be granted according to the following stipulations.

1. The earlier attempt resulted in a grade of B- or lower.

2. A maximum of one course may be repeated with petition.

3. No regression is permissible.

4. A course which may be taken more than once for credit may not be repeated with forgiveness.

5. Equivalency must be clearly established for courses originally completed at another institution.

6. Students may not petition to repeat at another institution a course which was originally taken at CSU, Chico.

7. The student must have re-enrolled in the course.

8. The student's grade in the original course was not a result of academic

misconduct, documented through the Office of Student Judicial Affairs as a

violation of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (EM 08-40) and

Policy on Academic Integrity (EM 04-36).

If the petition is approved, only the last grade entered in the course will be calculated in the grade point average.

XI. Academic Forgiveness

Under certain circumstances, CSU Chico may disregard up to two semesters of previous undergraduate coursework taken at CSU, Chico. If another institution has acted to remove coursework from consideration, such action shall be honored in terms of that institution's policy.

These circumstances are:

1. The student has formally requested such action and presented evidence that substantiates that the work in question is substandard and not representative of her/his current scholastic ability and/or performance level, and

2. The previous level of performance was due to extenuating circumstances, and

3. All degree requirements except the earning of at least a "C" (2.0) grade point average have or will soon have been met.

University policy regarding academic forgiveness is not intended to permit the improvement of a student's grade point average beyond what is required for graduation.

Final determination that one or more terms shall be disregarded shall be based on careful review of the evidence by a representative of University Academic Advising Programs and a representative of the University Registrar, subject to final approval by the Dean of Undergraduate Education.

Such final determination shall be made only when five years have elapsed since the most recent work to be disregarded was completed and the student has earned in residence at the campus since the most recent work being considered was completed:

• 15 semester units with at least a 3.0 GPA; or

• 30 semester units with at least a 2.5 GPA; or

• 45 semester units with at least a 2.0 GPA.

When such action is taken, the student's record shall be annotated so that it is readily evident to users of the record, that no work taken during the disregarded term(s), even if satisfactory, has been applied towards the meeting of degree requirements. However, all work must remain legible on the record.