Academic Affairs

Board of Trustees Policy

SUBJECT:

Comprehensive Grading (Student Assessment)

NUMBER:
3.5
DATE:
June 18, 2007
SUPERSEDES:
June 21, 2004

Purpose

Montgomery County Community College is committed to maintaining academic integrity, enhancing student success through clarity of student and faculty expectations, improving classroom assessment, and ensuring accuracy, compatibility and consistency across all of the related components of grading. Comprehensive, campus-wide policies regarding Plus/Minus Grading, Mid-term Grading, Repeating, Auditing and Withdrawing from courses and Monitoring of Unofficial Withdrawals and Student Progress will allow the College to sustain allegiance to the aforementioned endeavors.

Montgomery County Community College is committed to compliance with Federal Title IV aid policy. Because of the Federal Title IV policy’s financial impact on the College and students, it is essential for Montgomery County Community College to have a method in place for monitoring unofficial withdrawals.

Policy

Plus/Minus Grading

Faculty have advocated for a grading policy that will allow them to accurately assess student performance while not having any negative effect on financial aid or transfer.

The Montgomery College Community College grading policy is as follows. The GPA equivalencies are:

    A = 4.00
    A- = 3.67
    B+ = 3.33
    B = 3.00
    B- = 2.67
    C+ = 2.33
    C = 2.00
    D = 1.00
    F = 0.00
    CR Credit - 0.00 *  
    I Incomplete - 0.00 *  
    W Withdrawal - 0.00 *  
    AU Audit - 0.00 *  
    AW Audit Withdraw - 0.00**  
    P Pass - 0.00 *  
    NP No Pass - 0.00 *  
    CE Cr. by Exam - 0.00 *  
    CL Cr. by Exper - 0.00 *  
    NG No Grade - 0.00 *  
    XF Acad Misconduct - 0.00 *  
    WNG Withdraw after Semester ends - 0.00** (appears on transcript as a W)

    Midterm Academic Progression

    U Unsatisfactory Progress - 0.00 ** (does not appear on transcript)
    S Satisfactory Progress - 0.00 ** (does not appear on transcript)

    Unofficial Withdraw Attendance Indicators

    NS No Show - 0.00 ** (at end of second week)
    FN Failure No Show - 0.00 ** (at end of semester–appears on transcript as an F)
    FS Failure Stopped Attending - 0.00 ** (at end of semester–appears on transcript as an F)

    * There is no change from current policy
    ** Proposed below

The College provides a grade appeal process for students who think the assigned grade in not correct. There will be no change from current policy in the grade appeal process.

Midterm Academic Progression

At the midterm period of each semester/session, faculty will be required to enter into Web Advisor an indicator of student progress. An “S” will be entered if the student in making satisfactory academic progress and a “U” will be entered if the student is not making satisfactory academic progress.

Repeating a Course

A student may attempt any course twice. A student who wishes to attempt a course for the third and last time must meet with a counselor or advisor, who has the authority to grant or not grant the third attempt. (*In any health careers program, the student must obtain the signature of the program director.) The College will use the best grade earned in the course to calculate the student’s GPA. However, the grade from each course attempt will appear on the student’s transcript.

The College does not allow a student to attempt a course for the fourth time.

Division Deans determine if independent studies and co-ops can be repeated.

Auditing a Course

“AU” (audit) indicates that the student registered for the course for no academic credit. Students may change to Audit while a course is in progress only with the approval of the course faculty member and the Division Dean or Program Director. The course faculty member is the sole determiner of attendance policy, completion of assignments, classroom participation, exam policy and other appropriate academic classroom activities. These course faculty policies are shared with and agreed to by the student. Failure on the part of the student to comply with requirements of the course faculty member could result in an "AW" (audit withdraw) instead of the “AU”. The student can audit any credit course only one time*. An assignment of an “AW”, “W” and an “AU” in a credit course is counted as an attempt and an official registration. Subsequent registrations must be for a grade and academic credit.

* Exceptions to the single use of the Audit are permissible in selected courses in ART, PE, CIS and Foreign Language. “AU” registration beyond a third registration is on space availability, and is determined after the class cancellation process. Financial Aid does not pay for audited courses.

Withdrawal from Courses

Students initiate the process for withdrawing from a course or courses. By submitting a Withdrawal form no later than the last day one week after midterm (week 8 of a 14 week standard semester, week 7 of a 12 week semester, week 6 of a 10 week semester, week 5 of a 8 week semester, week 4 of a 7 week semester, week 4 of a 6 week semester), a student may withdraw from and receive a "W" in the course. After this point, the student must submit a withdraw form signed by the faculty member teaching the course the student wishes to withdraw from. The faculty member is under no obligation to sign a withdraw form after the officially posted College withdraw deadline.

Students must submit the signed Withdrawal form to the Office of Student Records and Registration Systems before the faculty member submits final grades. A “W” in that course will then be assigned to the student. Additionally, the Office of Student Records and Registration area will provide the Return to Title IV withdrawal policy to students who submit a complete withdrawal form, so the student will understand the implications on his federal financial aid when the student completely withdraws from the semester.Withdrawal forms submitted after final grades are posted will not be processed. If the faculty member chooses to allow a withdrawal after final grades are posted, the faculty member will need to complete a Change-of-Grade form to grant the withdrawal and it will be designated “WNG”.

Monitoring of Unofficial Withdrawals and Student Progress

Unofficial Withdraws must be tracked for financial aid purposes as discussed above. Web Advisor reporting will be completed by faculty at the second week of the term. Faculty will indicate which students have never attended using a code of NS (No Show) in Web Advisor. The College will not disburse financial aid refunds to students who have been identified as ineligible through this procedure.

Failure to attend class is not an official withdraw and will result in the assignment of a failing grade. Failure to attend class should be assigned a FN (Failure No Show) grade or a FS (Failure Stopped Attending).

Implementation

Information Technology

Plus/Minus Grading

Implementation for the IT unit is not problematic.  Clear direction on when the change is implemented is needed and queries that are grade-based need to be clear as to what grade scheme is requested. 

Repeat/Audit/Withdrawal

Custom Datatel programming will be needed.  Staff in IT will need to write a subroutine, complete data entry, and send specifications to Datatel for pricing.

Monitoring of Unofficial Withdrawals and Student Progress

Custom Datatel programming will be needed.  Staff in IT will need to write a subroutine, complete data entry, and send specifications to Datatel for pricing.

Registrar

Plus/Minus Grading

Implementation for this office is minimal.  A “test account” would be established and tested throughout the year for implementation in fall 2008. 

Repeat/Audit/Withdrawal

All staff will be trained to review AR records so as to know to refer FA students to the financial aid office for signoff.

Monitoring of Unofficial Withdrawals and Student Progress

Academic Affairs

Plus/Minus Grading

Faculty would need to be informed that the new grade scheme will be activated if ultimately approved by the Board of Trustees.  Information about the recommendation may be disseminated in several ways:

  • Electronically (e-mail)
  • General Faculty Meetings and Open Forums
  • Division Meetings
  • Big News (formerly the update)

Repeat/Audit/Withdrawal

Faculty would need to be informed that the new repeat/audit/withdrawal policy will be activated if ultimately approved by the Board of Trustees.  Information about the recommendation may be disseminated in several ways:

  • Electronically (e-mail)
  • General Faculty Meetings and Open Forums
  • Division Meetings
  • Big News (formerly the update)

Monitoring of Unofficial Withdrawals and Student Progress

The Student Success Center will conduct information and question and answer to discuss and educate staff on the changes.

Reporting will be completed by faculty at the second week.  Faculty will indicate which students have never attended using a code of NS in Web Advisor.  The College will not disburse financial aid refunds to students who have been identified as ineligible through this procedure.

Faculty will be reminded about reporting deadlines and training will be provided.

Financial Aid

Plus/Minus Grading

Since financial aid generally requires a grade of “C” or higher, there should be no detrimental effect as a result of implementing this grade change recommendation.

Repeat/Audit/Withdrawal
All changes to audit status once the term begins must be signed off by the Financial Aid Office.

The Records and Registration office will be provided with the Return to Title IV Withdrawal Policy forms.

Monitoring of Unofficial Withdrawals and Student Progress
The Financial Aid office will run reports to capture students who appear to be unofficial withdrawals as designated by an NS grade or students who have all final grades of FS (Failed Stopped Attending) or FN (Failed No Show).

Transfer

Plus/Minus Grading

Since most transfer agreements are tied to grades “C” or higher (some are “C-“or “D”), there should be no detrimental affect on transferring as a result of this grade change recommendation. This was validated by discussions with several partner institutions.

Repeat/Audit/Withdrawal

The Student Success Center will conduct information and question and answer to discuss and educate staff on the changes.

Monitoring of Unofficial Withdrawals and Student Progress

The Student Success Center will conduct information and question and answer to discuss and educate staff on the changes.

Students

Plus/Minus Grading

The Student Success Center will prepare a card or small flyer outlining the change in grading and the justifications for doing so with an emphasis on the fact that it will more accurately reflect students' performance.

Also included on this handout, an example of how GPA is calculated incorporating grades given under the current grading system.  Calculating grade point average is an important skill that many students do not know.  In this context it would help students put aside any concerns they might have about the effect of introducing a new grading system in the middle of their tenure.

The Student Success Center will conduct a series of open Forums to discuss and educate students on the changes.

Repeat/Audit/Withdrawal

The Student Success Center will conduct information and question and answer to discuss and educate staff on the changes.

Staff will make sure the language of the repeat, audit, withdraw policies are consistent in the College Catalog, Student Handbook Calendar and the College’s website.

Monitoring of Unofficial Withdrawals and Student Progress

The Student Success Center will conduct information and question and answer to discuss and educate staff on the changes.

Staff will make sure the language of the repeat, audit, withdraw policies are consistent in the College Catalog, Student Handbook Calendar and the College’s website.

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