System of Grading

Table of Contents:
System of Grading
Auditing of Courses
Changing a Course Grade
Courses Repeated
Graduate Level-Topics Course
Incomplete Grades
Pass/Fail
Student Appeal of Final Grade

System of Grading

There is an enormous difference between the learning of the best and poorest college student. In assigning grades, this difference is indicated by five groupings, one letter grade being assigned to each group. It is obvious that wide differences may still exist between the learning of two students who receive the same grade in the same course.

A letter grade is, therefore, to be thought of as a rough index of a quality of learning rather than as an accurate and exact measure of learning.

The marks used at Graceland University to indicate grades and the grade points for each semester hour of credit are as follows:

A - 4 grade points. Thorough mastery of subject, and disposition and ability to apply it to complex and unfamiliar situations.

B - 3 grade points. Demonstrated competence in subject matter mastery and clearly above-average ability to handle familiar to somewhat complex problems in the field.

C - 2 grade points. Effective learning and the development of the skill necessary to handle the familiar and less complex problems in the field.

D - 1 grade point. Limited ability to see relationships and to make applications except as specifically directed. Lowest passing grade for admission to the next dependent course.

F - No grade points. Course must be repeated for admission to dependent course(s).

P - Pass, C or better.

I - Incomplete, no grade points. Minimum course requirements unfinished for reasons acceptable to the instructor. Incomplete grades must be initiated by the student. An "Incomplete Grade Contract", signed by the student and the instructor, is required before an Incomplete can be recorded. Grade given at the discretion of the instructor at completion of the work (see Removal of Incompletes).
In-Progress, no grade points.

NR - Not Recorded, no grade points.

W or WD - Withdrawn from the course at a specified date.

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Auditing of Courses

A student who wishes to audit courses must obtain the permission of the instructor of the class that he/she wishes to audit and must register in the regular manner. An audit fee of one-half the per semester hour rate is charged if the student is enrolled for less than 10 semester hours. Auditors’ names will appear in the records and will be designated as “Auditors,” and no credit will be conferred. A student must meet minimal expectations for an audit as defined by the instructor of a particular course in order to fulfill the requirements of the audit and have the course included on the transcript. An audited course is considered a part of the regular class load and may be carried as an overload only by petition. Studio and laboratory type courses cannot be audited.

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Changing a Course Grade

University policy allows a grade to be changed by the instructor if the instructor has a legitimate reason to change the grade. Reasons for changing a course grade include, but are not limited to, an error in determining the letter grade, an error in recording the letter grade, and evidence of violation of academic integrity. Instructors may not change a grade after it has been submitted to the Registrar by allowing the student to do additional work after the session has ended, unless the grade submitted was an incomplete.

When a grade is changed, the instructor will notify the student in writing of the grade change and the justification for changing the grade. The instructor will notify the student of their right to appeal the revised grade. A student has 30 days after a grade change to appeal by following the same policy and procedure for appealing a final course grade.

The deadline for changing a grade is 120 days after the grade has been officially recorded. The "Change of Grade Form" is completed and submitted to the Registrar's Office to change a grade.

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Courses Repeated

Courses may be repeated for additional credit if permission to do so is noted in the description of the course. A student may also repeat a course for credit if they have earned a "D" or "F" in the course. If a course is repeated, the last grade earned will be the one to compute the cumulative grade point average. If a course is repeated, the original grade remains on the student's permanent record with an indication that the student has repeated the course.

Students are advised to carefully consider the impact on financial aid and athletic eligibility when repeating grades of "D". A course repeated counts once toward graduation. The Gold Seal for Scholarship, which is awarded at the May commencement ceremony to the graduate(s) with the highest cumulative grade point average, is not available to students who have repeated courses to achieve a higher grade.

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Graduate-Level Topics Courses

Graceland University may offer graduate-level study in selected topics from various disciplines upon approval by the Graduate Council. Graduate-level topics courses are repeatable for credit when topics vary and may be offered for a maximum of 3 s.h. on a letter-graded basis.

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Incomplete Grades

University policy requires that an incomplete grade be initiated by the student; however, instructors may assign an "I" in cases when students are unable to complete the work for a course due to reasons beyond their control, or in cases when the instructor deems an "I" the most appropriate grade to give.

The grade of "I" should not be abused and should be used only in cases where the incomplete is unavoidable and legitimate.

An electronic "Incomplete Grade Contract" is required when an "I" is submitted as a course grade. The "Incomplete Grade Contract" will indicate the reason the incomplete is requested, the work that must be completed in the course to earn a final course grade, and the anticipated completion date.

The "I" is a temporary grade and will be automatically converted to an "F" if the course has not been completed by the end of the next major semester. An "Incomplete Extension" may be filed electronically with the Registrar's Office. An extension fee is charged to the student, unless the reason for the extension is beyond the student's control.

Students who discontinue enrollment at the University immediately following the session the "I" was recorded are allowed a maximum of one year to complete the course work. "I" grades for courses not completed by the end of the next year are converted to an "F."

NR, not recorded, is the grade which may be used in rare instances where the course starts on or after the official beginning date of the session, but the instructor does not require final assignments to be submitted until after the official ending date of the session, e.g., off-campus internships; the course does not end until after the official ending date of the session, e.g., Accelerated College Education (ACE) courses or the instructor has not submitted grades by the deadline date of the session.

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Pass-Fail

After regular registration is over, a student who wishes to change a regular graded course to Pass-Fail may do so by:

  1. Printing the Change of Registration form now or picking up a form for the change in InfoCentral or the Registrar’s Office.
  2. Having the appropriate instructor and academic adviser sign the form.
  3. Returning it to InfoCentral or the Registrar’s Office no later than the deadline date to add classes each term.

No fee is required for this change. The deadline for changing a course back to the regular grading system is the same as the deadline for adding classes.

Instructors turn in a letter grade on all courses except the strictly Pass-Fail courses. If a student has registered for a course on the Pass-Fail basis, the instructor turns in the letter grade that the student has earned, and it is changed to "P" if the grade is an "A," "B," or "C." An "F" is recorded if the grade is a "D" or "F." "P" grades do not affect a student’s grade point average, but are added into earned hours. "F" grades are figured into the GPA.

Students may elect to take up to a total of 24 semester hours of graded work on the pass-fail basis; however, no more than two graded courses may be taken pass-fail during any one semester. Pass/Fail is not permitted in the following areas:

  • All required Science and Mathematics courses for Science and Mathematics majors.
  • Psychology courses for Psychology majors
  • All courses required in the Nursing major for Nursing majors
  • Music courses for Music majors
  • All required courses in the Information Technology major
  • All courses required for the Teacher Education Program, except for practicums, internships, and student teaching.
  • All courses used to fulfill requirements for a major in Accounting, Business Administration, or Economics with the exception of internships.
  • All courses used to fulfill requirements for a major in Sociology with the exception of internships.
  • Theatre courses for Theatre majors

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Student Appeal of Final Grade

INFORMAL PHASE:

  1. The student must file a written appeal with the dean or school or division chair of the academic unit* with a copy to the instructor not later than 120 days** after the grade was officially recorded. The appeal shall include (1) a statement that the student has tried but failed to resolve the question with the instructor and (2) specific reasons for the appeal and supporting documentation. If two or more students in a class wish to appeal their grades, each individual student must follow the appeal procedure. A decision must be made individually for each student in cases where two or more students from a class are making a grade appeal.
  2. The division chair or dean of school shall attempt to resolve the issue informally. Resolution requires agreement of both faculty member and student. The resolution shall be stated in writing and filed in the chair/dean's office, with copies given to the student and the faculty member.

FORMAL PHASE:

  1. If the issue cannot be resolved informally, the division chair or dean of school  shall notify the Dean of Faculty, who shall appoint an appeals committee. The appeals committee shall consist of: The Dean of Faculty (chair); one faculty member from the division/school in which the appeal is being made who is in as closely related discipline as possible to the course in question; one faculty member form any other academic unit; and a student from the same program in which the appeal is being made. The committee shall be charged to weigh evidence, deliberate, and find for or against the appeal.*** A decision for the appeal will require a grade change; a decision against the appeal will require no further action.

    The instructor and student may be present for the appeal hearing. The instructor and student are also to receive copies of all written statements submitted in the grade appeal process.

    In cases in which the committee finds for the appeal, the committee will recommend the letter grade it feels to be appropriate. The decision as to the grade given, however, will be made after consultation with the faculty member involved in the appeal and the student making the appeal. The final grade will then be submitted by the committee to the Registrar.

    The appeals committee shall arrive at a decision within two class weeks of the time of its constitution. The decision will be by written ballot. A copy of the committee's action shall be filed in the Dean's Office and sent to the faculty member involved in the appeal, and to the student making the appeal. In all cases reasonable speed shall be pursued and in no case should a faculty member work to impede the grade appeal process.
  2. In cases involving graduation, all reasonable speed shall be pursued. Allowing for proper deliberation, however, may well require delaying the student's graduation.

*If a division chair or dean of school is the instructor whose grade is appealed, the student shall initiate the grade appeal with the Dean of Faculty (Lamoni) or Dean of Nursing (Independence).

**Schools may have more specific policies and procedures related to student appeals and grievances that supersede this process. If enrolled in the nursing program, please see the School of Nursing website and/or the appropriate School of Nursing student handbook for the "Academic Appeal Policy".

***The committee has the right to make judgments regarding the manner in which an instructor applies his/her rules, taking into consideration such issues as fairness, consistency, and the communication of standards. The committee will make judgments regarding the severity of an instructor's rules against plagiarism, late papers, irregular attendance, etc. Such judgments will be made and enforced by the division chair or dean of school and the Dean of Faculty.

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