Undergraduate Student Evaluation and Grading Policy


Office of Academic Affairs and Committee on Undergraduate Studies and Policy


Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs


Academic and Student Affairs



Effective Date:


Review Date:


Implementation History:

This policy was approved by the President on Dec. 27, 2011, upon recommendation of College Senate and Committee on Undergraduate Studies and Policies (CUSP.) This policy supersedes the Policy and Procedures for Undergraduate Student Evaluation and Grading initially approved July 17, 2003, and revised July 2006.


Grades, Formative Evaluation, Summative Evaluation, Learning Contract Outcomes, Grade Point Average, GPA

Background Information:

This policy implements the decision by the president in May 2011, upon advice from the college senate and CUSP, to eliminate narrative contract evaluations.


Empire State College is committed to fostering the academic growth of students through timely and individualized developmental feedback to students about their academic work. Faculty members provide formative assessment to students throughout the learning contract or course. Faculty members award letter grades to record a summative evaluation of the student’s performance in a learning contract or course in which the student earned credit.


Definitions are embedded in the body of the policy.


Grades: Summative Evaluation

Grading of a student’s work is based on the learning objectives/outcomes and the methods and criteria of evaluation stated in the learning contract or course syllabus.

A grade awarding credit is assigned by the instructor only if the academic expectations of the learning contract or course syllabus have been completed satisfactorily.

To support student achievement, Empire State College faculty may afford students opportunities to revise work during a study in order to meet performance standards at the minimum or a higher level. Nevertheless, a student who works hard and shows progress, but does not meet the stated criteria for evaluation, does not earn college credit.

Timely Developmental Feedback: Formative Evaluation

Empire State College instructors assure that students receive ongoing feedback about the quality of their work and accomplishments throughout the learning contract/course and indicate areas of growth and areas in need of improvement.

Letter Grades

Empire State Colleges uses a 4.00 grading scale.

The grade assigned to an undergraduate learning component completed at Empire State College may be any of the following: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, or D-.

Unsuccessful study results in an outcome of No Credit (NC) rather than a letter grade. Refer to the No Credit section under Learning Contract Outcomes for details on when a No Credit outcome should be awarded.

The award of a grade is normally final. Students may seek a grade change through the Student Academic Appeals Policy and Procedures. If an instructor discovers an error in grading after the grade is recorded, a correction is made through the dean’s office in cooperation with the Office of the College Registrar.

Status of C and D Grades

Empire State College learning contracts and courses: a grade of D- or better is required for Empire State College to award credit.Cross registration: EmpireStateCollege requires a letter grade of C- or better to award credit for courses completed through cross registration at other colleges or universities.

Full Credit/No Credit Option

A student may select a Full Credit/No Credit (FC/NC) option for up to 12 credits of Empire State College study. Under this option, receiving an FC outcome implies that the student’s work is completed at the C- level or better. The student selects the Full Credit/No Credit option at the time of enrollment. The college does not later award letter grades for such studies , nor are such studies included in the student’s G.P.A.

Assignment of Grades to Credit by Evaluation/Prior Learning Assessment Components

Empire State College does not assign grades to Credit by Evaluation /Prior Learning Assessment components.

Learning Contract Outcomes

Types of Learning Contract Outcomes

Full Credit (FC): Ordinarily, a course/study instructor submits a letter grade when the student successfully completes a learning contract/course. When a student successfully completes a learning contract/course taken on a Full Credit/No Credit basis, a Full Credit (FC) outcome is recorded.

When the course/study instructor determines that the work does not merit the award of credit through a letter grade of A through D-, or FC for a Full Credit/No Credit study, she or he awards one of three possible outcomes: Incomplete (IN), Administrative Withdrawal (ZW) or No Credit (NC). There is also a student-initiated outcome, Withdrawal (WD). These four outcomes are defined below:

Incomplete (IN): When extenuating circumstances arise, a student may request an outcome of incomplete (IN) from the course/study instructor. The course/study instructor submits an IN

outcome 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 enrollment term for the study/course. The course/study instructor is not obligated to grant an incomplete.

A student who is awarded an IN outcome is allowed no more than 16 weeks after the study end date to complete the study. The course/study instructor may establish an earlier completion date. The learning contract outcome statement submitted by the course/study instructor specifies the remaining work to be completed and the expected completion date.

If the course/study instructor submits no further outcome, an IN outcome automatically becomes a No Credit (NC) outcome after 16 weeks, or earlier if the course/study instructor has specified an earlier completion date.

No Credit (NC): The course/study instructor submits a No Credit (NC) when a student engages in a study or course throughout the term of enrollment and fails to complete it in a satisfactory and sufficient manner.

An IN outcome automatically becomes a NC on the date when the IN completion period ends if the course/study instructor does not submit a letter grade or FC outcome.

Empire State College emphasizes academic achievement in its assessment of students. Therefore, a student who does not earn credit in a study is awarded a No Credit (NC) outcome rather than a failure letter grade.

Like any grade, a No Credit is ordinarily final and not subject to change outside of the college's established academic appeals processes. A student who has had an incomplete that has turned into an NC, and who believes that extenuating circumstances prevented timely completion of the study may make a request to the dean or dean’s designee to complete the study without re-enrolling. The dean or dean’s designee will consult the mentor/instructor (if available) before agreeing to re-open the study. If the request is granted, the student has no more than 16 weeks to complete the study; the mentor or instructor may specify an earlier completion date. If the student does not complete the study within the specified time frame, the NC outcome remains in place. If the student completes the study within the specified time frame, the mentor or instructor submits a grade to the dean or dean’s designee, who ensures that the outcome is recorded according to college procedures. Requests to appeal an NC outcome will not be heard through the appeals process unless the NC was recorded less than a year prior to the submission of the petition.

Administrative Withdrawal (ZW): The course/study instructor submits an outcome of administrative withdrawal (ZW) if a student registers for a course/study, does not withdraw and does not engage in course/study work consistently. The ZW outcome must include the last date of substantive contact in an academically related activity by the student. ZW outcomes should be recorded in a timely manner throughout the term when possible. In no case should a ZW outcome be filed any later than the deadline for submitting outcomes for the term.

Withdrawal (WD): A withdrawal (WD) is the only student-initiated outcome. It does not result in the award of credit. A student may withdraw from a study until the last day of an enrollment term. The student must complete and submit a Withdrawal Form. The effective date is the date the student transmits the request. The actual date of withdrawal may affect enrollment status, satisfactory academic process, and financial aid eligibility. See EmpireState College policy on Academic Withdrawal.

Outcomes of IN,ZW,NCand 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 Eligibility for Federal Financial Aid.

Timing of Outcomes

The grade or outcome for each study should be prepared as soon as possible after the student has completed the study, so that the student has timely evaluative information and an official transcript for the study. Student work is due as specified in the Learning Contract.

Grades and outcomes are due as follows:

  • Fall 1 term: Grades and outcomes are due no later than 14 calendar days after the end of term.
  • Fall 2, Spring 1, Spring 2 and Summer 1 terms: Grades and outcomes are due no later than 10 calendar days after the end of term.
  • Summer 2 term: Grades and outcomes are due no later than 7 calendar days after the end of term.

Grade Point Average (G.P.A.) Calculation

The college registrar calculates the grade point average and includes the G.P.A. in the student transcript. The G.P.A. calculation at Empire State College is:

  • based only on Empire State College studies for which a letter grade is assigned. This includes courses for which a student cross registers at another institution and which Empire State College treats as part of the Empire State College studies for the degree.
  • based only on credit earned at Empire State College, and is not based on prior transfer credit or credit by evaluation components.
  • based only on credit completed and does not reflect study that results in no credit.
  • included as part of the student’s official transcript.

The following outcomes are included in the grade point average:

Grade Quality Points
A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1.00
D- 0.67

The following outcomes are not included in the grade point average:

  • IN (incomplete)
  • NC (no credit)
  • WD (withdrawal)
  • ZW (administrative withdrawal)

Minimum Grade Point Average Requirement

Empire State College undergraduate students must maintain a 2.0 G.P.A. A student who has completed at least 8 credits at Empire State College and whose cumulative G.P.A. is below 2.00 is placed on academic warning. If a student who is on academic warning still has a cumulative G.P.A. of less than 2.00 after earning 16 additional credits at Empire State College (i.e., after earning a total of at least 24 credits at Empire State College), the student is academically dismissed.

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 re-enroll. These and other criteria apply to eligibility to receive financial aid. See the Policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress and the statements on Eligibility for NYS and Federal Financial Aid.

Appeal of Grades

A student may appeal a grade or outcome as provided in the Student Academic Appeals Policy.

Empire State College Transcript

An Empire State College transcript includes a degree program (if concurred) showing the source, title and credit amount of each component included in the degree, followed by a summary sheet of grades for studies completed at Empire State College. The summary sheet includes the G.P.A. and specifies the studies on which it is based.

The college documents successful study on student transcripts while maintaining internal records of enrollment history. Thus, the official Empire State College transcript documents credit completed. The transcript does not provide an enrollment history that includes unsuccessful study with the college. The college catalog and transcript include a notice to this effect.

Repeated Studies

When a student repeats a study, the more recent grade or outcome for the repeated study replaces the original one for purposes of the award of credit, inclusion in the transcript and calculation of a grade point average. Both the original and the repeated study must be included in the satisfactory academic progress (SAP) calculation. The student initiates the Request to Repeat a Study request form. Submission of this form prior to the registration for the repeat study is required for accurate calculation of the G.P.A. This form is also required for financial aid purposes. Financial aid may not be available for a repeated study.

Retroactive Assignment of Grades

Students matriculated at Empire State College before July 1, 2004, may request the assignment of a letter grade to the relevant narrative evaluations. The college will continue to respond to these student requests. For students who matriculated after that date, there will be no later assignment of letter grades to narrative evaluations.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices