Graduate Evaluation and Grading Policy Effective Sept. 1 2015

Graduate Evaluation and Grading Policy Effective Sept. 1 2015

Sponsor:

School for Graduate Studies

Contact:

Director of Graduate Student Services

Category:

Graduate Studies

Number:

310.046

Effective Date:

09/01/2015

Review Date:

09/01/2017

Implementation History:

This policy supersedes the Policy and Procedures for Graduate Evaluation and Grading Policy initially approved July 1, 2007 and revised July 1, 2012. The Graduate Studies and Policies Committee (GSPC) will review this policy periodically and make further recommendations.

Keywords:

Graduate, grades, outcomes, GPA, repeating, warning, dismissal, transcript

Background Information:

Purpose

To define the evaluation and grading system for graduate students.

Definitions

Statements

GRADUATE EVALUATION AND GRADING

Empire State College features student-centered, mentored learning in all of its modes of study, from guided independent study to residency-based courses and online or blended courses. Regardless of the method of study:

  • The learning experience effectively supports the student’s active engagement with the subject of study.
  • The learning experience fosters life-long, independent learning skills, including the student’s capacity to assess her/his own learning needs and progress.
  • The course instructor responds to, evaluates and actively guides students throughout the learning experience.
  • In independent studies, evaluation procedures are often determined in consultation between the student and the course instructor.
Learning Contract/Course Overview

The learning contract or course overview defines the learning objectives of the course, the learning activities to be completed, and the methods and criteria for evaluating the student’s performance. A well-designed learning contract or course overview lays the foundation for effective student evaluation by clearly outlining learning objectives and activities and methods and criteria for evaluation. The course instructor evaluates the student’s work in light of these elements throughout the learning experience. Thus, the course instructor’s feedback to the student is rooted in the learning contract or course overview itself and occurs throughout the course. The course instructor also helps the student develop self-assessment skills, through the design of the course and through dialogue about evaluation methods and criteria.

Evaluation

Grades issued at Empire State College document students’ academic growth. At the same time, students need to meet the minimum performance standards established for each course, for credit to be awarded. To support student achievement, ESC faculty may afford students opportunities to revise work during a course in order to meet performance standards at the minimum or a higher level. Nevertheless, a student who works hard and shows progress, and is still not able to meet the stated criteria for evaluation, does not earn graduate credit.

Grades

The college uses a 4.00 grading scale. The grade assigned to a graduate course completed at Empire State College may be any of the following:

Grade

Quality Point

Description

Meaning

A

4.00

Excellent

Performance is above expectations

A-

3.67

B+

3.33

Good

Performance meets expectations

B

3.00

B-

2.67

Minimally acceptable

Performance is below expectations

C+

2.33

C

2.00

F

0.00

Unacceptable

Performance does not meet  minimum requirements

Pass (P)

This grade is awarded for specific courses in which the student has performed at the B or better level.

No Pass (NP)

This grade is awarded for specific courses in which the student has performed at the B- or lower level.

It is important to note that an NP does not count as credit earned and therefore may negatively impact satisfactory academic progress. Please refer to the Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

Incomplete (IN)

When extenuating circumstances arise, a student may request an outcome of incomplete (IN) from the course instructor. The course instructor may submit an incomplete only when the student has consistently engaged in learning activities and has successfully completed at least 50 percent of the work before the end of the term. The course instructor is not obligated to grant an incomplete.

A student who receives an IN grade must complete the course within 15 weeks of the end date of the term, or earlier if the course instructor has specified an earlier completion date.

If the course is not completed, the IN outcome automatically becomes F at the end of 15 weeks, or earlier if the course instructor has specified an earlier completion date.

It is important to note that an IN does not count as credit earned and therefore may negatively impact satisfactory academic progress. Please refer to the Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

Administrative Withdrawal (ZW)

If a student registers for a course, does not withdraw, and does not engage in significant learning activities throughout the term, the course instructor submits a grade of administrative withdrawal (ZW).

It is important to note that a ZW does not count as credit earned and therefore may negatively impact satisfactory academic progress. Please refer to the Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

Withdrawal (WD)

A withdrawal (WD) is the only grade initiated by the student. If the student takes action to withdraw from a course, the college enters a withdrawal (WD).

It is important to note that a WD after the 28th day of the term does not count as credit earned and therefore may negatively impact satisfactory academic progress. Please refer to the Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

Repeated (RP)

A repeated course is denoted by RP.

Assessed Credit (AC)

In master’s programs that provide an opportunity for assessment, an AC denotes credit awarded through the assessment process.

Grades of NP, IN, ZW, WD and F have specific implications for financial aid eligibility. For an explanation, see the Empire State College Statements on Eligibility for New York State Financial Aid and Federal Financial Aid.

Grade Point Average (GPA) Calculation

The College Registrar calculates the grade point average and includes the GPA in the student transcript.

GPA calculation at Empire State College is:

  • Based only on courses enrolled in at Empire State College, and is not based on transfer credit or credit awarded through assessment.
  • Based only on Empire State College courses in which a letter grade is assigned.

The following letter grades are included in the GPA:

Grade

Quality Points

A

4.00

A-

3.67

B+

3.33

B

3.00

B-

2.67

C+

2.33

C

2.00

F

0.00

Marginal Outcomes

Grades of B-, C+, and C, while acceptable in meeting graduate degree requirements, are considered “marginal pass” grades. Any such grade, or a GPA that falls below 3.00, or a satisfactory academic progress rate that falls below expectations, warrants an advising conversation between the academic advisor and student, and possibly with the program chair/coordinator.

Through the advising process, the college may direct the student to improve graduate-level academic skills (e.g., through a formal study of writing or use of other academic support resources), to take a reduced academic load or to take other steps to promote academic success.

Repeated Courses

A student may repeat a graduate course only once. When a student repeats a course, the more recent grade with a quality point value (4.00 through 0.00) for the repeated course replaces the original grade for purposes of the calculation of a grade point average. Grades of IN, ZW, and WD (after the 28th day) do not replace the original grade in the calculation of the grade point average.  The original course remains a part of the transcript with an outcome of RP to denote that it has been repeated. Note that both the original and the repeated course must still be included in the satisfactory academic progress calculation.

Minimum Grade Point Average Requirement

Empire State College graduate students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.00. A student whose cumulative GPA is below 3.00 is placed on academic warning. If a student who is on academic warning still has a cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 after attempting 6 additional credits at Empire State College then the student is academically dismissed. A cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 is a requirement for graduation.

Master of Arts in Teaching students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.00 in order to be recommended for NYS transitional B certification.

Grade Point Average and Academic Standing

The grade point average is one of two criteria that establish the student’s academic standing with the college. The other is the student’s academic progress rate. A student who meets these two criteria is in good academic standing and therefore maintains her/his eligibility to reenroll. These and other criteria apply to eligibility to receive financial aid. See the Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress policy and the statements on Eligibility for NYS and Federal Financial Aid.

Academic Warning and Dismissal

The dean of the appropriate school places a graduate student on academic warning when s/he has a cumulative GPA below 3.00.

The dean academically dismisses the student based on the following:

  • The student is on academic warning and still has a cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 after attempting 6 additional credits at Empire State College, or
  • The student has earned F for at least 6 credits.

Rescinding an Academic Warning. An academic warning is in effect until it is rescinded or the student is academically dismissed. The dean of the appropriate school rescinds the academic warning in writing when the student's GPA returns to a satisfactory level. The dean of the appropriate school academically dismisses the student if the student’s GPA does not return to a satisfactory level within the next 6 credits of enrollment.

Reinstatement after Academic Dismissal. In order to be reinstated, a student must present written evidence to the dean of the appropriate school, that the student is ready and able to make satisfactory progress. The student should address the problems that led to the dismissal and what s/he has done to correct those problems. The dean consults with program faculty in making this determination.

The dean appropriate school is responsible for acting on requests for reinstatement after academic dismissal. If the dean reinstates a student, s/he may establish terms and conditions that promote future academic success. For example, the dean may impose specific conditions for subsequent enrollments, such as requiring a reduced academic load or requiring enrollment in courses to build academic skills.

If the student is dismissed from her/his program and wishes to apply to a different program, the student must complete a new application. The student should address the problems that led to the dismissal, what s/he has done to correct those problems, and how s/he expects to achieve success in the new program.

Students are not eligible for reinstatement or readmission for at least one term after an academic dismissal. Students who are academically dismissed for a second time are not eligible for reinstatement or readmission.

Empire State College Transcript

An Empire State College transcript is a summary page displaying all attempted courses in chronological order with grades awarded as well as transfer credit and assessed credit (if applicable). A cumulative GPA will be computed for all courses with letter grades awarded in the range of A through F. (See the appropriate catalog for complete transcript information.)

Procedure for Retroactive Assignment of Grades

For much of its history, Empire State College provided narrative evaluations without grades. On occasion, a student who received narrative evaluations would later request that the college assign grades to the narratives. When such a request was received, the college, where possible, added grades to the narratives.

For students matriculated in a graduate program at Empire State College before July 1, 2007, the college will continue to respond to student requests, consistent with the procedure detailed below. For students who re-matriculate after that date, there will be no later assignment of letter grades to narrative evaluations.

The procedure for retroactive assignment of grades is as follows:

  1. For each Empire State College course for which the original course instructor is available, the course instructor is responsible for assigning a grade based on the contract evaluation and the instructor’s records and recollection of the student’s work in the course. If the course instructor is no longer available, or if the course instructor is not able to make a letter grade judgment, no grade is assigned. In exceptional circumstances, this procedure cannot fully meet a student’s needs. In such a case, the dean of the appropriate school consults the provost on appropriate alternatives.
  2. The dean of the appropriate school forwards the grades to the college registrar.
  3. The registrar adds the grades to the narrative evaluations, and thereby includes them in the student’s official transcript.
Appeal of Academic Outcomes

A student may appeal a grade, an academic warning or dismissal, or other academic judgment, as provided in the Student Academic Appeals Policy.

Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed at least once every three years.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices

Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, Graduate Transfer Credit Policy, Student Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure

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