Graduate Evaluation and Grading Policy

Sponsor:

School for Graduate Studies

Contact:

Director of Graduate Student Services

Category:

Graduate Studies

Number:

310.013

Effective Date:

2012/07/01

Review Date:

2013/07/01

Implementation History:

07/01/2007

Keywords:

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

Background Information:

Purpose

Defines the grading/evaluation and consequences for graduate students.

Definitions

Statements

Policy and Procedure for Graduate Student 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 on-line 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 Design

The learning contract or course 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 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 design 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

Empire State College grades/outcomes documentgraduate students’ academic growth during their studies. 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 4.0 grading scale. The grade assigned to a graduate course completed at Empire State College may be any of the following: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C or NC (no credit). Academic performance in a course at the C- or lower level results in an outcome of “no credit” rather than a letter grade.

In the MBA program, the final grade for a modular course is the average of the grades earned in each module for which the student enrolled.

Course Outcomes

Possible course outcomes include:  

Full Credit– FC outcomes are awarded for specific courses in which the student has performed at the B or better level.

Incomplete – 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 outcome 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 a no credit (NC) outcome 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 outcome does not count as credit earned and therefore may negatively affect satisfactory academic progress. Please refer to the policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Administrative Withdrawal – 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 an outcome of administrative withdrawal (ZW).

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

No credit – If a student engages in a course throughout the term and fails to satisfactorily complete it, the course instructor submits a no credit (NC) outcome. An outcome of NC may signify either that the student did not meet the standards for graduate credit, or simply that the student did not ultimately complete the course.

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

Withdrawal – A withdrawal (WD) is the only outcome 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 outcome after the 28th day of the term does not count as credit earned and therefore may negatively affect satisfactory academic progress. Please refer to the policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Repeated – A repeated course is denoted by the outcome RP.

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

Outcomes of IN, ZW, NC and WD 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.

The 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.
  • Included as part of the student’s official transcript.

The following grades/outcomes are included in the Grade Point Average:

Grade Quality Points
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
NC 0.0

Marginal Outcomes

Grades of B-, C+, and C, while acceptable in meeting graduate degree requirements, are considered “marginal pass” outcomes. Any such outcome, or a GPA that falls below 3.0, 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

When a student repeats a course, the more recent grade/outcome for the repeated course replaces the original grade/outcome for purposes of the calculation of a 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 (SAP) calculation.

Minimum Grade Point Average Requirement

Empire State College graduate students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0. A student who has completed at least 6 credits at ESC through course enrollment and whose cumulative GPA is below 3.0 is placed on academic warning. If a student who is on academic warning still has a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0 after attempting 6 additional credits at Empire State College (i.e., after attempting a total of at least 12 credits at Empire State College), the student is academically dismissed.

Master of Arts in Teaching students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 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 Policy on Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress and the statements on Eligibility for NYS and Federal Financial Aid.

Academic Warning and Dismissal

The dean of the School for Graduate Studies places a graduate student on academic warning when s/he has attempted at least 6 credits at Empire State College and has a cumulative GPA below 3.0, or when s/he has earned no credit (NC) for at least 3 credits.

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 3.0 after attempting 6 additional credits at Empire State College, or
  • The student has earned no credit (NC) for at least 6 credits.

Prior to issuing an academic warning or dismissal, the dean reviews the student’s overall academic record and may consult with the student’s academic advisor or program chair/coordinator regarding any mitigating circumstances.

Rescinding an Academic Warning. An academic warning is in effect until it is rescinded or the student is academically dismissed. The dean of the School for Graduate Studies rescinds the academic warning in writing when the student's GPA returns to a satisfactory level. The dean of the School for Graduate Studies 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 School for Graduate Studies 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.

 he dean of the School for Graduate Studies is responsible for acting on requests for reinstatement after academic dismissal. If the dean of the School for Graduate Studies reinstates a student, s/he may establish terms and conditions that promote future academic success. For example, the dean of the School for Graduate Studies 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/outcomes awarded as well as transfer credit and assessment credit (if applicable). A cumulative grade point average will be computed for all courses with grades awarded. (See the Graduate 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, addedgrades 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 School for Graduate Studies consults the provost on appropriate alternatives.

  2.  The dean of the School for Graduate Studies 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 or narrative evaluation, an academic warning or dismissal, or other academic judgment, as provided in the Student Academic Appeals Policy.

Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed on an annual basis.

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