Grades and Standing

ACADEMIC HONESTY

The integrity of scholarship is the cornerstone of the academic and social structure of the university. It is the expressed policy of the university that every aspect of graduate academic life, related in whatever fashion to the university, shall be conducted in an absolutely and uncompromisingly honest manner. Violations of academic honesty are grounds for a failing grade and may result in dismissal from the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. For more information, see the Student Handbook or Student Code of Conduct.

ACADEMIC STANDING

University Standards

Any matriculated student who attempts nine or more credits that impact the GPA, and that results in an overall grade point average of less than 3.0, is automatically on probation. If, after attempting an additional nine credits, the GPA is still below 3.0, the student will be dismissed from the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.

A student whose overall GPA falls below 3.0 during the last semester of coursework will be placed on probation and given one semester to raise the GPA to the 3.0 level required for graduation. If, after completing an additional semester of work, the GPA is still below 3.0, the student will be dismissed.

A student who is dismissed may apply for readmission to the same program after the lapse of one semester. To be readmitted, the student must submit a new application and application fee as well as a petition to the graduate program coordinator describing why they will be successful if readmitted. The Graduate Program Coordinator will return the petition to the student with reasons for disapproval or will forward it to the Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies with a recommendation for approval. If it is approved by the Dean, a copy will be sent to the Graduate Program Coordinator and the student. A petition that is not approved will be returned to the coordinator with a letter stating the reasons for not approving the petition. A readmitted student must achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.5 in the next 12 credits of coursework taken. Should the student fail to achieve 3.5, the student will be dismissed from the School of Graduate and Professional Studies with no option for readmission.

Program Standards

Graduate education requires continuous evaluation of the student.  In addition, some academic programs set higher standards for academic performance that must be met in addition to university standards. Continuation in a graduate program is contingent upon positive, ongoing faculty evaluation of the graduate student's grades, professional or scholarly attributes, and performance in real or simulated professional situations. This evaluation may also include performance on comprehensive examinations, acceptance of thesis or projects, but also subjective appraisal by the faculty of the student's progress and potential. A student may be suspended or dismissed from a graduate program for deficiencies in any of the foregoing.

FINAL GRADES

Final grades are made available to students in Banner Web approximately 1-week following the end of each semester or intersession. Current students may log into Banner Web to review final grades, unofficial transcripts, or to request an official transcript.  

FINAL GRADE APPEAL

Preliminary Information

In accordance with SCSU’s educational mission, this policy articulates the procedure and criteria for the appeal of a final course grade (see Grade Appeal Form). This Grade Appeal Procedure is intended to be fair, equitable and transparent.

Following discussion with the Instructor[1], the Grade Appeals Procedure consists of two parts:

  • Level 1 – Mediation with Department Chairperson / Program Director (hereafter referred to as ‘Chairperson’)
  • Level 2 – University Academic Standing Committee (UASC)

See Section V. below for detailed information about each part of the appeal process.

I. Grounds for Grade Appeals: Palpable Injustice

In the interest of clear communication to Students about University standards and procedures, the following definitions and descriptions of the acceptable grounds for a grade appeal are presented:

The sole acceptable basis for a grade appeal is the demonstrable commission of a “palpable injustice” in the determination of a Student’s final grade by the Instructor. Students may use the appeals process when there is evidence to show that:

  1. A mathematical or clerical error resulted in the entry of an incorrect grade; or
  2. A final grade was determined by methods and criteria different from those used for determining the final grades of others in the same class; or
  3. A final grade was assigned arbitrarily, capriciously, or on the basis of bias or prejudice, without reference to grading criteria as established (for instance) in the syllabus, assignment instructions, and/or University catalog.

The University Academic Standing Committee (UASC) shall make its determination in appeals brought before it solely upon the grounds listed above; a grade change is not warranted, for instance, when the Committee simply disagrees with the grade assigned by the Instructor, would have assessed the Student’s work differently, would have graded differently, would have rounded off to the next highest grade, or would have preferred a different evaluation procedure. 

II. Assumptions

  1. The determination of grades[2] is the responsibility of the Instructor of the course.
  2. Grade appeal procedures apply only to the change of a grade under conditions specified in section 4.2.2.2 of the faculty Collective Bargaining Agreement. The appeal process may be initiated after a final grade has been submitted or after a request for a late withdrawal has been denied by the Instructor.
  3. All parties work in good faith to arrive at a resolution during all stages of the process. 

III. General Guidelines

  1. Grade appeals must be initiated on an individual basis by the Student claiming a palpable injustice.
  2. A Student may submit a grade appeal within one of four timeframes:
    • First - Appeals are reviewed in the fall or spring semester that follows the semester in which the grade was earned, hereafter referred to as Appeal Semester (see V. A-D). This applies to courses taken during summer, winter, or spring break sessions. For courses of an 8-week (or fewer) duration, the grade appeal may be made in either of the next two 8-week course periods directly following the semester in which the grade was earned, or during the summer if applicable. The deadlines for the 8-week courses appear in parentheses after the description of each level of the appeals process in section V of this document.
    • Second - If a grade earned during the spring semester or a summer term prevents a Student from continuing in the Student’s program or major, an appeal may be filed during the summer (see section VI.).
    • Third - If a Student is appealing an “F” grade for which the origin was an “Incomplete” grade that reverted to “F” after the expiration of the thirty-day period to complete coursework after the beginning of the following semester, the appeal timetable shall begin when the “F” grade becomes available to the Student and shall follow the normal academic-year appeal schedule, adjusted to allow for the same number of weeks.
    • Fourth - Graduating Students shall typically appeal the grade following the established Grade Appeal Procedure. If, however, a graduating Student is appealing a grade that prevents the Student from graduating, it is recognized that time of graduation may be affected if the established Grade Appeal Procedure is followed. In this case, the Instructor, Department Chairperson, and UASC shall expedite the Student's appeal with all due procedural promptness.
  3. The week of Spring Break shall not be counted when determining how long the grade appeal has been in process.
  4. If the Student’s graduation may be delayed due to the appeal process, permission may be given by a Department Chairperson for the Student to take subsequent or required courses within the Department.
  5. All Grade Appeal forms and documents must be typed; no handwritten forms shall be accepted.
  6. For purposes of record-keeping and administrative accounting to governmental regulatory authorities, a copy of the grade appeal form must be filed with the Dean of the Instructor’s school or college at each stage of the appeal process. The Chairperson is responsible for forwarding copies to the Dean’s office for Level 1 appeals, and UASC is responsible for forwarding copies to the Dean’s office for Level 2 appeals.
  7. Students are strongly advised to keep their own copies of all grade appeal forms and supporting documents.

IV.   Discussion with Instructor

  1. Initiate Discussion
    • Deadlines: end of week 1 of the Appeal Semester for Student to initiate discussion of disputed grade with the Instructor; end of week 2 to reach agreement. (8-week courses: same.)
    • Student initiates discussion with the Instructor. The Student and Instructor attempt to settle the matter in good faith. If an agreement is reached to change the grade, the Instructor shall submit the grade change to the Registrar’s Office within one week. If an agreement has not been reached by the end of week 2, the Student may initiate a Level 1 appeal by submitting the Grade Appeal Form to the Instructor’s Chairperson by the end of week 3.
  2. Absent Instructor
    • An Instructor shall be deemed absent when either of the following apply: 1) the Instructor is no longer employed by the university; 2) the Student, with the help of the Instructor’s Chairperson, has not succeeded in eliciting from the Instructor a response to his or her queries over a period of two (2) weeks.  In this case, the Student may initiate a Level 1 appeal by submitting the Grade Appeal Form to the Instructor’s Chairperson by the end of week 3.

V.     Appeals 

  1. Level 1: Deadlines: end of week 3 of the Appeal Semester for Student to submit Grade Appeal Form to Instructor’s Chairperson; end of week 5 to reach agreement. (8-week courses, end of week 3 to submit and end of week 4 to reach agreement).
    1. Mediation with Instructor’s Chairperson
      • The Student completes the Grade Appeal Form for Level 1 and sends it to the Chairperson by the end of week 3 (8-week courses, end of week 3). The Chairperson shall assist in mediating between the Instructor and the Student in an attempt to settle the matter. Except in the case of an absent instructor (see below), the Chairperson has no adjudicatory role in the appeals process. If an agreement is reached to change the grade, the Instructor shall submit the grade change to the Registrar’s Office within one week of the agreement. The Chairperson shall confirm that the grade has been changed within two weeks of the agreement. The record of the appeal and of any agreement shall be filed by the Chairperson with the appropriate Dean.  If these parties fail to reach an agreement by the end of week 5 (8-week courses, end of week 4), the Student may go to Level 2 of this grade appeal procedure by submitting the Grade Appeal Form to UASC by the end of week 6 (8-week courses, end of week 5).
      • If the Instructor is the Chairperson, the Student may appeal the grade directly to UASC (Level 2).
    1. Absent Instructor
      • In the case of an absent Instructor (as defined in IV.B.), the Student completes the Grade Appeal Form for Level 1 and sends it to the Chairperson by the end of week 3 (8-week courses, end of week 3). The Chairperson shall have the authority to adjust or uphold the grade. If an agreement is reached to change the grade, the Chairperson shall submit the grade change to the Registrar’s Office within one week of the agreement. The record of the appeal and of any agreement shall be filed by the Chairperson with the appropriate Dean. If these parties fail to reach an agreement by the end of week 5 (8-week courses, end of week 4), the Student may go to Level 2 of this grade appeal procedure by submitting the Grade Appeal Form to UASC by the end of week 6 (8-week courses, end of week 5).
  1. Level 2: University Academic Standing Committee (UASC)
    • Deadlines: end of week 6 of the Appeal Semester for Student to submit grade appeal form to UASC, via the Faculty Senate President; end of week 9 for UASC to render decision. (8-week courses, end of week 5 to submit and end of week 7 to reach decision.)
    • The Student completes the Grade Appeal Form for Level 2 and sends it, along with any additional explanation and documentation the Student chooses to include, to the President of the University Faculty Senate, who shall forward it to UASC by the end of week 6 (8-week courses, end of week 5). Upon receipt of the Grade Appeal Form, UASC shall forward notice of the appeal to the appropriate Dean.  The sole basis for UASC’s deliberations and decision concerning a Student’s grade appeal shall be the standard of “palpable injustice” as defined by Article I of this document. UASC shall render its decision by the end of week 9 (8-week courses, end of week 7), following a hearing to which Instructor, Student, and others deemed appropriate shall be invited. The Student shall have the right to be accompanied by an advisor or support person, who is a silent non-participant in the hearing. Delays shall not be allowed on the basis of an advisor or support person’s scheduling conflicts. The Student, Instructor, Chairperson, and relevant Dean shall be notified in writing of the Committee’s decision, which shall include a written rationale. UASC shall notify the Registrar within one week of the decision if a grade change is required. The decision of UASC shall be final.
  2. Deadlines and deadline extensions
    1. “By the 2nd week” means 2 weeks (14 calendar days) into the semester, starting with the 1st day of classes. Other deadlines are to be interpreted similarly.
    2. A Dean of the appropriate school or college may extend any grade appeal deadline, only at the Student’s request, and only if the Student provides written evidence that significant extenuating circumstances led to the missed deadline. The request must be made, in writing, no later than the end of the first week of classes following the original grade appeal semester.
  3. For purposes of record-keeping and administrative accounting to governmental regulatory authorities, a copy of the grade appeal form must be filed with the Dean of the Instructor’s school or college at each stage of the appeal process. The Chairperson is responsible for forwarding copies to the Dean’s office for a level 1 appeal; the President of the Faculty Senate is responsible for forwarding copies to the Dean’s office simultaneously with forwarding a Level 2 appeal to UASC; and UASC is responsible for forwarding copies to the Dean’s office after a Level 2 appeal has been completed.
  4. Upon receipt of a written grade appeal form the Faculty Senate President will notify UASC Chair. UASC shall designate a grade appeal committee made up of two UASC committee members and UASC Chair. The members of the appeals committee select a Chair from the committee’s membership. The appeal committee Chair notifies all interested parties (Dean, Student, Faculty Member, Committee members) of possible dates and times to conduct the appeal. Once all committee members respond, the date of the appeal is set, the appeal is heard, and a determination is made in writing to all interested parties.
  5. A grade appeal committee may not include a faculty member from the Student’s home department (major or minor) nor from the department that offered the course in which the grade is being appealed. Prospective members of a grade appeal committee must self-identify or be identified by UASC Chair if there is any other conflict of interest (for example, personal acquaintance with the Student; supervisory or professional connection to the Student through a Student organization, internship, employment; etc.) and they may not serve on the grade appeal committee.

VI.   Summer Grade Appeal

  1. Assumptions/Conditions
    • If a Student earns a grade in a course in the spring semester that prevents the Student from continuing in a program or major, the Student is eligible to appeal the grade during the summer.
  2. Required Procedures
    • Summer session grade appeals follow the procedures described in Section V, subsections A through D, above, except that the deadlines for each part of process shall be amended as follows:
      1. Discussion with Instructor: one week after course grades become available to Students.
      2. Level 1—Mediation with Instructor’s Chairperson: end of week 2 to submit and end of week 3 to complete mediation.
      3. Level 2—UASC: end of week 4 to submit and end of week 6 for UASC to render final decision.
    • When the timeline established for the summer appeals process by this document would result in a delay of the Student’s progress towards degree completion, all parties shall expedite the Student’s appeal with all due procedural promptness.
    • Instructors are strongly encouraged to participate in the Summer Grade Appeal Process either in person or remotely.
  3. Faculty Compensation
    • Insofar as the Summer Grade Appeal would not take place during the Academic/Contract year, the Instructor and the members of UASC shall be compensated for their participation according to the following formula unless they are employed under a full-year contract. The members of UASC shall receive 4 hours of non-teaching credit load for each appeal; the chair of the appeal hearing shall receive 6 hours of non-teaching credit load for each appeal; the Instructor shall receive 2 hours of non-teaching credit load for each appeal.[3] 

VII.  Interpretation 

This section may not be invoked with respect to the interpretation of any item of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. If an issue develops concerning interpretation of this document, whether initiated by the Faculty Senate, a Faculty Member, or any member of the Administration, a binding decision on such an issue shall be made:

  1. by agreement between the President of the University and a majority of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate or, failing to obtain agreement on an issue by this method;
  2. by a committee consisting of one member selected by the Senate Executive Committee, one selected by the President of the University, and one selected by the first two committee members, who, by a two-thirds vote shall decide such an issue. 

VIII. Implementation and Amendment

 A. This document shall take effect upon approval by a two-thirds vote of the Faculty Senate with the concurrence of the President of the University.

 B. This document may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Faculty Senate with the concurrence of the University President.

Grade Appeal Process Timeline

  • For academic-year appeals, all events are counted from the first week of the semester following the semester in which the disputed grade was earned (“the Appeal Semester”).
  • For 8-week courses, all events are counted from the first week of either of the next two 8-week course periods following the semester in which the disputed grade was earned.
  • For summer appeals, all events are counted from the time that course grades become available to Students. 
  • For “F” grades, automatically assigned after expiration of an “I” grade, all events are counted from the time that the “F” grade becomes available to Students and the schedule is modified accordingly.

 

Spring / Fall

8-Week Course

Summer Appeal

Initiation of Discussion with Instructor

Week 1

Week 1

Week 1

Completion of Discussion with Instructor

Week 2

Week 2

Week 1

Level 1: Initiation of Mediation with Chairperson / Program Director

(Grade Appeal Form—Level 1, Part 1)

Week 3

Week 3

Week 2

Level 1: Completion of Mediation with Chairperson / Program Director

(Grade Appeal Form—Level 1, Part 2)

Week 5

Week 4

Week 3

Level 2: Appeal to University Academic

Standing Committee

(Grade Appeal Form—Level 2)

Week 6

Week 5

Week 4

Level 2: Grade Appeal Hearing with University Academic Standing Committee

ASAP

ASAP

ASAP

Level 2: Decision by University Academic Standing Committee 

Week 9

Week 7

Week 6

[1] “Discussion” shall include written as well as oral forms of communication, including, for instance, email exchanges.

[2] By “grade” is meant any of the grades specified in the University Undergraduate or Graduate Catalogs.

[3] See CSU-AAUP Collective Bargaining Agreement, article 10.12.1: Duties with No Load Credit. “Bargaining unit duties involving no load credit that are within the University but other than normal assignments may be offered to full-time members up to a total of 135 hours per semester (prorated for intersession or summer session as appropriate). Compensation for each 45 hours of work shall be one load credit at the compensation rates listed in Article 11.”

GRADES and GRADE POINT AVERAGE (GPA)

The following grades are used on the academic records:

Letter Grade Quality Points Equivalent Relation to Performance
A+ 4.0 Superior performance
A 4.0  
A- 3.7 Expected performance
B+ 3.3  
B 3.0  
B- 2.7 Passing but below graduate standards
C+ 2.3  
C 2.0  
C- 1.7 Unacceptable
D+ 1.3  
D 1.0  
D- 0.7  
F 0.0  
EP N/A Credit by Waiver Exam
I N/A Incomplete
I+ N/A Incomplete Extension
N N/A Never Attended
P N/A Pass in a Pass/Fail course
Q N/A Dissertation Extension
R N/A Grade Not Reported
S N/A Pass with Pass/Fail contract
W N/A Withdrawn
Z N/A Audited 

At the graduate level, courses completed with a grade less than "C" will not be counted toward program requirements. A student's grade point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total number of quality points received by the number of credits attempted where a standard letter grade "A" thru "F" has been received. Transfer courses are not included in the GPA calculation.

INCOMPLETE GRADES

A temporary Incomplete (I) grade is recorded when an instructor grants a student’s request for an extension prior to the end of the semester.  An Incomplete grade may impact satisfactory academic progress for financial aid and future registration if the incomplete course is a prerequisite. 

The instructor and the student must complete and sign an Incomplete Grade Contract to be submitted to the department chairperson for the course. The instructor will make all course materials available to the student for the duration of the incomplete period. (Note: Instructors should not give an “I” unless the Incomplete has been requested by the student and a contract has been completed.)

The Incomplete Grade Contract shall specify the following:

  1. The remaining coursework to be completed by the student.
  2. The student submission deadline for the remaining coursework, set in consultation with the student.
  3. The Incomplete Final Grade (i.e. the default final grade earned if the remaining coursework is not completed).
  4. The Extension Deadline, if earlier than the default 30 days into the next fall/spring semester.

When submitting end of semester grades, the instructor shall enter a grade of “I”, the Incomplete Final Grade, and the Extension Deadline from the contract.

Prior to the Extension Deadline, the instructor must enter a final grade based on completed work, or an additional extension (I+), by using the Banner Web Faculty Services Grade Change form. If no action is prior to the deadline, the student will automatically receive the Incomplete Final Grade.

PASS-FAIL Option

With the endorsement of their graduate program advisor, matriculated students who have completed at least 9 credits of graduate work with a "B" (3.0) or higher average are eligible to register for certain courses on a Pass-Fail basis. The Pass-Fail option is blind in that the instructor is not aware of the student's use of the Pass-Fail option until after the grades are submitted. 

The final grade will be reported as "S" if the final grade earned is "C" or higher.  This grade has no effect on the GPA, but does count as attempted credit.  If the final grade earned is "C-" or below, the final grade will be reported as "F".  This grade will impact the GPA and does count as attempted credit. 

Required courses may not be taken under the Pass-Fail option and no more than one elective course in any program may be taken under the Pass-Fail option. Undergraduate courses listed in any program that students are required to take to strengthen their academic backgrounds may not be taken under the Pass-Fail option. There is no limit on the number of courses, which are not a part of the program that may be taken under the Pass-Fail option.  

Courses taken for Pass-Fail might not be accepted for transfer credit when attending another institution; are excluded from GPA calculations which may impact a student’s ability to meet certain GPA requirements needed for their program or graduation; and may not be satisfactory in meeting prerequisite requirements when applying to other graduate programs.

Once a student selects the Pass-Fail option it will not be possible to revert to a graded option following the add/drop period for the course. The Pass-Fail contract must be endorsed by their advisor prior to the start of the 4th week of the fall or spring semester, or prior to the start of the 2nd week for courses in a shorter term.

REPEATING A COURSE & GRADE REPLACEMENT

A course may be taken more than once but, unless specifically noted otherwise, credit may be offered only once toward degree requirements. If a course is repeated, both grades will appear on the permanent record and will be used in determining the cumulative GPA. Course repeats may not be covered by financial aid. Please see the financial aid policy for more information.

Grade Replacement

A student may retake a course for a different grade by registering for the course again. Although both grades will appear on the student's transcript, only the higher of the two course grades will be used to calculate the student's University GPA. Students may not utilize grade replacement for a course taken as Pass/Fail.  If the student receives the same grade in both semesters, the new grade will replace the old grade, and the new grade will be used to calculate the current semester's GPA. The student shall receive credit for the course only once.

Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their faculty adviser or graduate program coordinator before pursuing a replacement grade. Replacement may be pursued only once per course, and only for a total of two courses. The first two courses retaken will be the ones for which the grade will be replaced.  Once awarded a degree, a student may not go back and grade replace individual courses within that degree.

Please Note: Some programs at Southern may require that all grades be used to calculate the student's program GPA; although, this is not displayed on the student's official transcript.