Attendance, Change of Schedule, Testing and Evaluation Policies

ATTENDANCE

Regular attendance at classes is expected; all students are responsible for any class work done or assigned during any absence. In each course, two absences shall be accepted by the instructor during the term. However, when any absence results in a student missing an examination, or an assignment deadline, the instructor’s policy covering missed examinations or late work shall apply. Beyond two absences the instructor’s policies shall be in effect.

CHANGE OF SCHEDULE

The first two weeks of each semester are designated as a “schedule-adjustment period.” During this time, students may change their class schedule by presenting completed “add-drop” forms to the Glendening Hall service desk. Although no fees are assessed for changes within the schedule-adjustment period, each course change made thereafter will be charged a schedule-adjustment fee. It is up to the discretion of each professor whether or not to allow the student to add their course once the semester has begun. The course “drops” made during the first fourweeks of the semester will not be reflected on the student’s permanent record.

If a student does not attend any of the first week of class meetings, the student may be dropped from the class up to the end of the add/drop (change of schedule) period at the discretion of the instructor; however, instructors typically place responsibility on the student for completing the requisite paperwork. Also, if a student has not met the minimum grade requirement for a course prerequisite, the student may be dropped from the course. The Office of the Registrar will notify students by e-mail if they are dropped by an instructor. Without this notification, students must assume they are enrolled in the course.

After the second week and before the end of the fourth week of classes, but not thereafter, students may add courses by presenting completed “add-drop” forms to the Office of the Registrar. It is up to the discretion of each professor whether or not to allow the student to add their course. (The only exceptions to courses that may be added after the fourth week of classes are private music lessons, and theater practicum. The absolute deadline for adding private music lessons is the same as the last day to withdraw from a course, that is, the end of the 10th week of classes. Adding theater practicum is accomplished only through submission of official rosters by the faculty member.) After the fourth week and before the end of the 10th week of classes, but not thereafter, students may withdraw from courses. A grade of W for any course from which a student withdraws will be placed on the student’s permanent record.

TESTING PROGRAMS

Students are required to participate in assessment and testing programs arranged for the purpose of institutional research and development. These testing programs enable students to measure their own academic progress against that of classmates and national samples, while furnishing group data needed for institutional research at the College.

EVALUATION

1. Grading

Evaluations are made in accordance with the following system:

A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, F, CR (credit for the course), AU (audit), NC (no credit for the course), I (incomplete), IP (in progress), W (withdrawal). All grades will appear on the permanent record.

2. Change of Grade

A change of the final grade in a course may occasionally be justified for extraordinary reasons, such as computational error. Such a change may be initiated by either the instructor or the student. A request initiated by a student must be a formal one, submitted in writing with justification to the instructor by the end of the fourth week of the following semester. Any changes initiated or approved by the instructor must be approved by the department chair and submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the end of the sixth week of the subsequent semester. The registrar will record the grade change on the student’s permanent record.

3. Grade Grievance

Under the following conditions, a student may decide to grieve a grade either on a specific assignment or for a course as a whole: 

The procedure for filing a grade grievance or other related academic complaint is as follows:

  1. A student with a complaint should, where appropriate, first try to reach agreement with the faculty member.  Informal conversation about the  assignment and grade in question between the student and the professor is the first step in the grade grievance process.
  2. If the student is not satisfied with the result of the conversation, or if the faculty member does not respond to requests for such an informal conversation, the student then submits a written statement expressing concern about the grade to the chair of the faculty member's department, with a copy to the professor.  In the case of individual assignments, such statements must be made within 10 business days of receipt of the grade in the case of individual assignment.  In the case of overall course grades, such statements must be made by the end of the fourth week of the following semester in the case of overall course grades. The department chair will attempt to mediate the complaint as outlined in C below. ** (See note.)
  3. Within 10 business days of receipt of the student's letter, the chair will solicit the faculty member's point of view, in writing, about the grade and the criteria on which it was based.  The chair may decide to render a decision based on the written communications or may call the student and faculty member together for a meeting to discuss the issues, after which the chair will render a decision to both the student and faculty member in writing. **Note:  In the event that the faculty member in question is the department chair, the assistant vice president for Academic Services will substitute for the chair.
  4. If either the student or faculty member is dissatisfied with the chair's decision, the dissatisfied party can make a request, in writing, within 10 days of receipt of the chair's decision, with a copy to the other party, and to the assistant vice president for Academic Services, who will seek counsel from the Academic Policy Committee. The Academic Policy Committee members will consult all parties concerned and then vote either for or against the recommendation of the department chair and will inform the assistant vice president for Academic Services, in writing, of their advice and the reasons for it, after which the assistant vice president for Academic Services will render a decision to the parties in question.
  5. Final authority rests with the Dean of Faculty in the event that either the student or faculty member is not satisfied with the response given by the assistant vice president for Academic Services in consultation with the Academic Policy Committee.  A written appeal to the provost, which must be copied to the other parties involved, must be made within 10 business days following receipt of the assistant vice president's decision, and the provost will render final judgment within 10 business days of receipt of the appeal, in writing, to all concerned individuals.
  6. Parents, family members, and attorneys are not permitted to attend any grade appeal conferences.
  7. If a grade appeal involves alleged academic misconduct, the grade appeal should be heard after the Academic Judicial Board has reached a decision about the alleged infraction.
4. Mid-term Reports

If a student’s work in a course is unsatisfactory at mid-term, the instructor submits a report to the registrar, who sends a copy to the student and faculty adviser.

5. Repeating Classes

A student may elect to repeat any course in which he or she wishes to improve the grade. (If a course is designated "May be repeated for credit," then it can be repeated for a better grade only if the topic is the same as the topic of the original course.) If the course is repeated at St. Mary's College, the grade earned on the latest attempt, not the original grade, will be used in the computation of the grade-point average. Although the original grade remains on the permanent record the student will not earn credit for the original course. Furthermore, if the original grade was a passing grade, and the grade received on the latest attempt is a failing grade, then credit for the original course will be rescinded.

     A student may elect to repeat a course at another institution. To do so, the student must file a pre-approval of transfer credit form with the Office of the Registrar. If the grade received at the other institution is C- or better (or a D or better from a Maryland public institution), the student will be awarded transfer credits for pre-approved courses. Although the original grade will be removed from the computation of the grade-point average, it will remain on the transcript. The transfer grade is not calculated into the grade-point average.

     A student may not repeat a course after earning a degree from the College.
6. Credit/no credit grading

There are two situations in which a student may receive a credit/no credit evaluation in lieu of a letter grade. These situations are specified separately in (a) and (b) below:

  1. Courses in which letter grades are normally assigned:
    A student in good academic standing may elect to take, on a credit/no credit basis, a course in which letter grades are normally assigned. In order to do so, the student must file the appropriate form with the Office of the Registrar no later than the last day of the fourth week of classes. When the student has completed the course, the faculty member will assign a letter grade for that student that will be recorded officially as CR if the letter grade is D or higher, or NC if the grade is F. These courses may not include any that are required in a student’s major program, minor program, or those used to satisfy Core Curriculum requirements. A maximum of 16 credit hours elected on the credit/no credit basis can be applied to graduation. For students transferring into St. Mary’s College with 64 credit hours or more, a maximum of eight credit hours elected on the credit/no credit basis can be applied to the degree.
  2. Courses in which letter grades are not assigned: In certain courses the assignment of a letter grade is not feasible. These courses are offered only for credit/no credit evaluation by the instructor. Such courses are approved by the provost of the College on recommendation of the appropriate department and the Curriculum Committee and are identified in the course descriptions in this catalog. There is no limit on the number of such courses that a student may take; however, these courses may not be used to satisfy a Core Curriculum requirement, major, or minor requirements, with the exception of credit internships approved by the appropriate department or cross disciplinary study area.
7. Incomplete work

An I (Incomplete) may be given by the instructor only at the request of the student when extraordinary circumstances, such as extended illness or other serious emergency beyond the control of the student, prevent the student from completing a course within the academic term. To qualify for an Incomplete, the extraordinary circumstances must have occurred near the end of the term and the student must have been attending the course regularly throughout the term up until that point. To assign an Incomplete, the instructor must discuss with the student the work that must be completed and the deadline for submission of that work. In addition, the instructor will indicate the reason for the Incomplete by checking the appropriate box on the "Incomplete Request Form" submitted to the registrar at the time grades are due for that semester. The instructor will also indicate the grade the student should receive if the conditions for completion of the course work are not met by the appropriate deadline. If no grade is specified on the incomplete request form or if the reason for the Incomplete is not checked on the form, a grade of F will be recorded on the student's transcript. The student must submit all designated work to the faculty member by the end of the fourth week of the following semester. The deadline for submitting the grade change to the registrar is the end of the sixth week of that semester. Any Incomplete that is not removed prior to that date will revert to the grade specified by the contract granting the Incomplete. The instructor may extend the deadline for submission of work until later in the semester if the student requests such an extension in writing. However, the Incomplete must be removed by the last day of classes of that semester, or the grade reverts to the grade specified by the contract granting the Incomplete. No Incomplete may remain on a graduating senior's transcript, and graduating seniors are ineligible for Incompletes in the semester that the degree is conferred.

8. Withdrawal from a course

A student who formally withdraws from a course after the last day of the schedule-adjustment period but before the end of the 10th week of regularly scheduled classes receives a grade of W for that course. A student may not withdraw from a course after the 10th week of classes unless the student is withdrawing from the College. The assistant vice president for academic services may grant exceptions to this latter provision in unusual circumstances and following consultation with the instructor and the Academic Policy Committee. The schedule-adjustment period and final date of withdrawal for courses that do not follow the regular academic schedule will be published in the academic calendar. For half-semester courses, this date is usually at the end of the fifth week of regularly scheduled classes.

9. Enrollment as an auditor

A student who wishes to show that he or she has attended a course regularly but who does not wish to earn credit for the course may register as an auditor with the consent of the instructor. Although no credit will be earned, the credit count will be included in the attempted credits and the student will be charged the overload fee if the total attempted credits result in more than 19 credits. The following policies govern such registrations:

  1. If attendance has been regular, the instructor will assign AU as a grade, but no credit (either attempted or earned) is entered and no quality points are calculated.
  2. If the instructor deems that attendance has not been adequate, the instructor will notify the Office of the Registrar and the student will be dropped from the course.
  3. A change from credit to audit or audit to credit may be made only with the consent of the instructor and no later than the last day of the fourth week of classes.
  4. Part-time students must pay for audited courses at the same rate charged for credit courses.
  5. Audited courses will not be included in determining the total academic load of the student.
  6. Regular attendance at class is expected of the auditor, but he or she is not required to write papers or take quizzes, tests, or examinations.

COMPUTATION OF GRADE-POINT AVERAGE

A grade-point average (GPA) is calculated on the basis of the following quality points: A = 4.0, A- = 3.7, B+ = 3.3, B = 3.0, B- = 2.7, C+ = 2.3, C = 2.0, C- = 1.7, D+ = 1.3, D = 1, F = 0. The grades of CR, NC, I, W, and AU do not enter into the computation of the grade-point average. The GPA is computed on the basis of all courses taken at St. Mary’s College for which a letter grade has been received. The grade-point average is computed on both a semester-by-semester basis and on a cumulative basis. Transfer credits are excluded from the GPA computation.

CLASSIFICATION OF STUDENTS

A student is classified according to the number of credit hours earned: