Board of Trustees Policy
Subject: Comprehensive Grading (Student Assessment)
Date: September 2014
Supersedes: November 2013, June 2007, June 2004
Montgomery County Community College is committed to maintaining academic integrity, enhancing student success, refining course assessment, and ensuring accuracy, compatibility, and consistency across all of the related components of grading. A comprehensive, institutional policy regarding grading fosters alignment with these endeavors, while ensuring compliance with Federal Title IV guidelines. The Comprehensive Grading Policy is implemented in concert with other College policies such as Grade Appeal, Student Academic Code of Ethics, and Academic Progress.
Faculty have designed a grading policy that permits accurate monitoring and assessment of student performance.
The grading system at Montgomery County Community College is a plus/minus system with associated quality points. These quality points are used in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average (GPA) for college level courses. A student's cumulative grade point average is determined by dividing the number of credits attempted into the quality points earned. The use of a GPA Calculator can assist in calculating the cumulative grade point average. Each instructor provides written explanation of the College approved grading system in the course syllabus. Students are responsible for obtaining a clear understanding of the grading system.
Monitoring of Attendance and Student Progress
Instructors are required to complete attendance reporting after 20% of the course contact time has occurred - at the second week of the semester or at the conclusion of the second class meeting in an accelerated session. An Early Alert is automatically issued for any student not attending class(es), so that proactive intervention can be initiated by the student’s academic advisor/counselor. Instructors report students who have attended class meetings using a code of “AT” (Attended), and students who have never attended using a code of “NS” (No Show). If the student began course attendance and subsequently stopped attending, the instructor would report the student as “AT” and enter a Last Date of Attendance (LDA). It is the responsibility of the student to notify the College when there is the intent to withdraw from classes. Failure to attend class meetings or to pay tuition and fees does not constitute a withdrawal (“W”). The instructor, after consultation with the Division Dean, determines course reentry for a student after extended absence or lack of beginning attendance in the course. The College does not disburse financial aid to students who have been identified as ineligible through this procedure.
Students are administratively deregistered for the purposes of dropping them from class rosters when they have been reported as a “NS” (No Show) in all of their registered classes. Administrative deregistration is treated the same as a regular drop status as it relates to the students’ GPA and course attempts. Instructors will assign an “FS” grade to a student who began attendance but subsequently stopped attending and did not withdraw.
Midterm Academic Progression
At the midterm period of each semester/session, instructors are required to enter into the electronic grading system an indicator of student progress. An “S” is entered if the student is making satisfactory academic progress (A, B, or C grade); a “U” is entered if the student is attending classes and is not making satisfactory academic progress (a D or F grade). An Early Alert will be immediately entered for any student receiving a grade of “U”, so that proactive intervention can be initiated by the student’s academic advisor/counselor. At midterm, if the student has stopped attending, the instructor will assign a midterm grade of “U”, enter a Last Date of Attendance (LDA) and a final grade of “FS”.
Repeating a Course
Students can repeat a course to earn a higher grade. After two course attempts, requests for the third must be approved by a Dean, Director, or Advisor/Counselor*. A student who would like to request the possibility of a fourth course attempt must meet with the Provost or his/her designee for consideration. The College uses the best grade earned in the course to calculate the student’s grade point average; however, the grade from each course attempt will appear on the student’s transcript. It is important to note that all course withdrawals and audits count as attempts.
* Health career programs require the student obtain the signature of the Program Director.
Withdrawal from Courses
Students initiate the process of course withdrawal after consultation with the instructor and/or an academic advisor/counselor. After the Add/Drop period ends and prior to completion of 60% of the course time, a student wishing to withdraw must submit an official drop/add/withdrawal form. An official grade of “W” (Withdrawal) is assigned to the course. After completion of 60% of the course time and prior to 75% of the course time the student must request and receive permission from the course instructor to withdraw from the course. The instructor completes an online Withdrawal Permission Form and indicates a final course status grade of “W” (Withdrawal). The College’s Registration Calendar outlines specific dates associated with the withdrawal process that must be followed.
For Excused Withdrawal (“WEX”) due to medical, catastrophic or other circumstances beyond the student’s control, students can request excused withdrawal from a course during the semester after 75% of the course time with supporting documentation. Review of documentation for an Excused Withdrawal will occur by the Division Dean, Program Director or Instructor and a recommendation will be provided to the Provost’s Office.
After 75% of the course time has been completed and prior to the last class meeting, students with satisfactory academic standing who are unable to complete their coursework due to valid, unforeseen circumstances can seek an incomplete grade of “I” with the permission of the instructor. If the request is approved, the instructor outlines an agreement of the work the student must complete on the Incomplete Form. An Early Alert is submitted by the instructor to the student’s academic advisor/counselor so student progress can be monitored. The deadline for completing the course requirements is no more than three months** after the final day of the semester in which the Incomplete grade was issued. An “I” grade (Incomplete) is changed to an “F” grade when the agreement of work on the Incomplete Form is not satisfied or when more than three months from the final day of the semester have elapsed. This grade cannot be a withdrawal (“W”). The College’s Registration Calendar outlines specific dates associated with the incomplete grade process.
** If a course requirement requires longer than three months, for example, a performance-based assessment, then this deadline can be extended with the approval of the Dean or Program Director.
Auditing a Course
“AU” (Audit) indicates that the student has registered for the course for no academic credit. Financial Aid does not pay for audited courses. Students can only change to audit status before 75% of the course is completed and with the consent of the instructor. Instructors are not obligated to grant such requests. The course instructor is responsible for determining the work required for the audit arrangement. An assignment of a “W”, “WEX”, or an “AU” in a credit course is counted as an attempt and an official registration. Select ART, ESW, CIS and Foreign Language courses may be exceptions to the subsequent registration rule. “AU” registration beyond a third registration is on space availability, and is determined after the class cancellation process. The College’s Registration Calendar outlines specific dates associated with the audit process.
Conduct involving academic standards can be found in the Student Academic Code of Ethics. Instances of academic dishonesty are to be submitted through the College’s Early Alert System.