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Fort Lewis College Official Seal

Policy identification number: To come...

File: Academic Policies / Grading Policies

Grades, Quality Points, and Grade Point Averages -- Undergraduate

Policy Summary

Grades are earned for each course and are recorded on a student's permanent record. Grades are based on performance in relation to learning outcomes listed on each course syllabus. This policy details grading standards for undergraduate students.

Policy Owner

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Approval Date

May 9, 2019

Effective Date

Spring 2019

Search Terms

pvpaa, u, g, q, gpa, grades, quality, points, undergraduate

Scheduled for Review

 Spring 2024

I. Grades

Students are assigned a grade for each course registered for, completed, and/or withdrawn from after the Census Date for each enrolled term. A grade can be classified as either an appraisal of the quality of a student’s work or an explanation about why such an appraisal was not made.

II. Grading Systems

The College has four grading systems to appraise the quality of a student’s work in a course.  

  1. Letter Grade System
    The letter grade system assigns a grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- or F. Grades of A to D- earn credit. Grades of F do not earn credit. Grades of A to F are figured into the computation of grade point averages.

  2. Credit/No Credit System
    The Credit/No Credit system assigns a grade of Cr or NCr.  Grades of Cr earn credit; grades of NCr do not earn credit.  Grades of Cr and NCr are not used in computing grade point averages.  There are two ways to initiate the Cr/NCr grading system:
    1. Instructor-initiated.  The use of the Cr/NCr grading system for a course may be authorized through the curriculum approval process, provided that:

      1. the course is of one of the following instructional types:  Clinical Experience, Internship, Practicum, School-Based Field Experience, or Student Teaching;
        OR

      2.  the course is not one of the instructional types listed in (i) but the Curriculum Committee grants an exemption.  Exemptions may not be granted to any GT Pathways courses.  To justify applying for an exemption, the increased benefit to student learning from the use of the Cr/NCr grading system must be demonstrated and supported, in a manner appropriate to the discipline.  In addition, the application must include a plan to advise students of the GPA implications of enrolling in a Cr/NCr class.  Each major is limited to no more than two courses (maximum 6 credits) which may be exempted.

    2. Student-initiated.  Students may request the use of the Cr/NCr grading system for elective courses.  This grading system may not be applied to courses fulfilling Liberal Arts Core, major, minor, or certificate requirements, with the exception of required courses under an instructor-initiated Cr/NCr grading system.  The procedure for student-initiated Cr/NCr grading is as follows:  the student must request the Cr/NCr grading instead of Letter grading from the instructor via a Petition By a Student for a Course Grade of Cr/NCr Form, available from the Registrar’s Office. Changes to or from the Cr/NCr system must be made by Census Date.

      Excluding courses with instructional types Clinical Experience, Internship, Practicum, School-Based Field Experience, or Student Teaching, a student may count a maximum of 12 Cr/NCr credits towards graduation, regardless of whether the use of the Cr/NCr grading system was faculty-initiated or student-initiated.

  3. Credit for Prior Learning System

The credit for prior learning system assigns a grade of X to a course satisfactorily completed via credit by examination or military service. Grades of X earn credit. Grades of X are not used in computing grade point averages.

 

III. Grades Explaining Why Quality of Work Was Not Appraised

A grade of AU, AW, CW, I, MW, NG, or SW explains why the quality of a student’s work in a course was not appraised.

  1. AU - A grade AU means the student initiated, and the instructor approved, the auditing of a course. No credit is awarded for a grade of AU. This grade is not used in the computation of grade point averages.
     
  2. AW - A grade of AW means the College withdrew the student from a course or a term as allowed by an administrative policy. No credit is awarded for a grade of AW. This grade is not used in the computation of grade point averages.
     
  3. CW - A grade of CW means the student initiated withdrawal from a course by Friday of the tenth week of the semester for courses taught in full term (15 weeks).  Courses that are not full term (1 - 13 weeks) are subject to shorter withdrawal periods.  See the Registrar's Office website for specific deadlines.  Grades of CW do not require instructor or administrative approval. Students are limited to three CW grades during their undergraduate career at Fort Lewis College. No credit is awarded for a grade of CW. This grade is not used in the computation of grade point averages.
     
  4. I - A grade of I means the student initiated, and the instructor approved in accordance with grading policy, a delay in the appraisal in the student’s work. No credit is awarded for a grade of I. This grade is not used in the computation of grade point averages. The conditions for which a grade of I may be assigned are 1) the major part of the course requirements has been met; 2) the student is unable to complete the requirements in the term in which the course is taken for compelling and unforeseen reasons, and 3) in the opinion of the instructor, the requirements can be completed by the student without repeating the course. If the student completes the course requirements within the time allotted, the instructor will make an appraisal of the quality of the student’s work by submitting a Special Grade Report Form to the Registrar’s Office. If the course requirements are not completed within one year after the end of the appropriate term, the grade of I will revert to an F. The dean of the school in which the course is offered may waive for good reason the one-year deadline upon petition by the student to the program director. A grade of I must be resolved prior to degree credential conferral. 
  5. MW - A grade of MW means the student was called to active military duty. No credit is awarded for a grade of MW. This grade is not used in the computation of grade point averages.
     
  6. NG - A grade of NG means the instructor did not file a grade for the course by the deadline. No credit awarded for a grade of NG. This grade is not used in the computation of grade point averages. Once the deadline has passed, up to one year after the grade of NG was filed, the instructor may make an appraisal of the quality of a student’s work by submitting a Special Grade Report Form to the Registrar’s Office. NG grades will revert to F grades after one year.  A grade of NG must be resolved prior to credential conferral.  
     
  7. SW - A grade of SW means the student initiated withdrawal from all courses in a semester prior to the last day of classes. No credit is awarded for a grade of SW. This grade is not used in the computation of grade point averages. Students submitting their first request for a post-Census semester withdrawal during their undergraduate career at Fort Lewis College will be automatically approved and all courses will be assigned the grade of SW.  The grade of SW will replace any previously assigned grade, such as CW or AW, in that particular semester.  All subsequent requests for a post-Census semester withdrawal will be reviewed by the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. If the request is approved, all courses will be assigned the grade of AW.

IV. Quality Points

Quality points for a course are determined by the numeric grade earned in the course multiplied by the number of credits for the course.   

Fort Lewis College uses the four-point system to three decimal points to assign numeric grades:

A = 4.000 points C = 2.000 points
A- = 3.667 pointsC- = 1.667 points 
B+ = 3.333 pointsD+ = 1.333 points
B = 3.000 pointsD = 1.000 point
B- = 2.667 pointsD- = .667 point
C+ = 2.333 pointsF = 0.000 points

Numeric grades are not assigned for the grades of AU, AW, CW, I, MW, NC, NG, P, S, SW, or X.

V. Grade Point Averages

Grade point averages summarize the quality of a student’s work at Fort Lewis College. Grades of courses accepted through the transfer process are not included in any grade point averages.

  1. Cumulative Grade Point Average
    The cumulative GPA is computed using the quality points and GPA credit hours for all courses numbered 100 or above taken at Fort Lewis College. Courses receiving grades of AU, AW, CW, I,  MW, NC, P, S, SW, and X, as well as grades of courses accepted through the transfer process, do not figure in the computation of the cumulative GPA. The cumulative GPA is one factor in determining a student’s eligibility to be admitted to, pursue and complete a program of study, to receive honors, to participate in athletics programs, and to continue receiving federal need-based aid and scholarship aid, among other uses.
  2. Major Grade Point Average
    The major GPA is computed using only the  quality points and GPA credit hours for courses taken at Fort Lewis College required for a major.  Courses required for a major are defined as all courses listed in the Catalog of Courses specified as “Major Requirements.”  If a required course is repeated, only the attempt with the highest grade is included in the major GPA.  If a student takes multiple different courses that could meet the same major requirement, only one course, that with the highest grade, is included in the major GPA.  Courses receiving grades of AU, AW, CW, I, MW, NC, NG, P, S, SW, and X,  as well as courses accepted through the transfer process, do not figure  in the computation of the major GPA. The major GPA is one factor in  determining a student’s eligibility to be admitted to, pursue and complete a program of study, among other uses.
  3. Minor Grade Point Average
    The minor GPA is computed using only the quality points and GPA credit hours for courses required for a minor taken at Fort Lewis College.  Courses required for a minor are defined as all courses listed in the Catalog of Courses specified as “Minor Requirements.”  If a required course is repeated, only the attempt with the highest grade is included in the minor GPA.  If a student takes multiple different courses that could meet the same minor requirement, only one course, that with the highest grade, is included in the minor GPA.  Courses receiving grades of AU, AW, CW, I, MW, NC, NG, P, S, SW, and X, as well as courses accepted through the transfer process, do not figure in the computation of the minor GPA. The minor GPA is used to determine eligibility to complete that course of study, among other uses.
  4. Remedial Grade Point Average
    The remedial GPA is computed using only the quality points and GPA credit hours for courses numbered below 100 taken at Fort Lewis College. Courses receiving grades of AU, AW, CW, I, MW, NG, or SW do not figure in the computation of the remedial GPA. This GPA is used to determine eligibility for federal need-based aid, among other uses.
  5. Semester Grade Point Average
    The semester GPA is computed using only the quality points and GPA credit hours for courses numbered 100 or above taken in a specified term. All courses taken during a summer semester, regardless of session, are computed as the summer semester GPA. Courses receiving grades of AU, AW, CW, I, MW, NC, NG, P, S, SW, and X, as well as courses accepted through the transfer process, do not figure in the computation of the semester GPA. The semester GPA is one factor in determining a student’s eligibility to pursue a program of study and to continue receiving federal need-based aid, among other uses.
  6. Term Grade Point Average
    The term GPA is equivalent to the semester GPA.   

Responsibilities 

For following the policy: Students, faculty, and staff

For enforcement of the policy: Registrar

For oversight of the policy: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

For notification of policy: Policy Librarian

For procedures implementing the policy: Registrar

Revision History

Policy revised to eliminate In Progress (IP) grade as authorized by Course Scheduling Policy approved by the President upon recommendation of the President's Cabinet on August 17, 2016 and the Faculty Senate on April 27, 2016.

Formerly, there were three deadlines for CW grades:  the Friday of the eighth week of the Fall semester, the Friday of the eighth week of the Spring semester, and the Friday of the eighth week of the Summer semester.  However, due to the many different lengths that parts of term can have (anywhere from 3 weeks to 16 weeks), this approach is inconsistent and may be harmful to students.  For example, it is possible that a course’s first day of class falls after the former CW deadline.  This policy stays true to the spirit of the eighth week deadline while treating all parts of term equally, regardless of their length.

Policy statements on I and NG grades were revised to align with requirements of Instructor Authority and Responsibility to Assign Grades policy. 

Minor GPA was extrapolated to Certificate GPA when this credential was established in the 2016-2017 catalog. 

Policy revised December 12, 2017 at the request of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, to clarify the SW procedure, reflect major grade point average policy revisions effective for the 2016-2017 academic year, and add text so that changes to the major grade point average procedure are reflected in the minor grade point average procedure.

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