Grades, the American Way

Evaluation and final grade reports

  • Students are encouraged to discuss their progress in courses with their instructors, especially before the withdrawal deadline.
  • University policy requires faculty to provide students with feedback about their academic performance before the semester or class withdrawal date. Although such feedback does not always take the form of a letter grade, grades do provide a clear indication of class progress.
  • Students who do not attend class are responsible for dropping or withdrawing from class during the established dates. Exceptions to this policy are made only in rare instances. Requests for an exception must be filed with the Academic Regulations Appeals Committee within three years of the semester of enrollment.
  • Grades are available via the Web through eServices at https://my.vcu.edu.

Grades and grade points

VCU course work is measured both in terms of quantity (semester hours of credit) and quality (grades). Grades are assigned according to a letter system. Each letter is assigned a grade-point value. These letter grades and their respective meaning and grade-point values follow:

Grade letter Meaning Grade-point values per semester credit
A   4.0
B   3.0
C   2.0
D   1.0
F   0.0
FI Incomplete changed to fail 0.0
AP Advanced Placement (_)
AU Audit (_)
CO Continued (_)
CR Credit (_)
H Honors (_)
HP High Pass (_)
I Incomplete (_)
IB International Baccalaureate (_)
IM Incomplete Military (_)
M Marginal (_)
NC Administrative grade with no credit (_)
NR/NG Administrative grade assigned when no grade is submitted by the instructor (_)
P Pass (_)
PR Progress (_)
TR Transfer credit (_)
W Withdrawn (_)
WM Withdrawn Military (_)
DN D grade excluded from GPA (_)
FN F grade excluded from GPA (_)
 

 

  • Grades designated by a blank, (_), in the grade-point column are not considered in the computation of grade points earned or GPA.
  • The above scale is known as a four-point grading system since 4.0 is the highest grade point assigned. The number of grade points earned is computed by multiplying the grade-point value for the letter grade times the number of semester credits for the course. For example, a student who receives an A (four grade points) in a three-credit course earns 12 grade points.

Mark of incomplete (I)

  • When circumstances beyond a student’s control prevent the student from meeting course requirements at the end of the semester, the student may request the instructor to assign the mark of I for that semester. If in agreement with this request, the instructor fills out an Incomplete Grade Assignment Form bearing the student’s signature. A grade cannot be changed to I after the deadline for grade submissions.
  • All work must be completed and submitted in time to allow the instructor to evaluate the work and submit a grade to the department no later than 30 calendar days after the beginning of the next semester. Incompletes assigned in a fall semester must be converted within 30 calendar days of the beginning of the spring semester. Incompletes assigned in the spring semester or summer session must be converted within 30 calendar days of the beginning of the fall semester.
  • Courses assigned the I grade will not be computed into the GPA. Upon expiration of the deadline, an FI will be given automatically for any incomplete that has not been changed to a grade.

Mark of withdrawn (W)

  • The mark of W indicates the student has officially withdrawn from the course or has been withdrawn for nonattendance. Students should refer to any school- or course-specific policies related to withdrawal dates. The last day to withdraw for the fall and spring semesters is the end of the 10th week of classes. Summer session students should check the summer Schedule of Classes for withdrawal dates.
  • Courses assigned the W grade will not be computed into the GPA. For further information see the Withdrawal from the university section of this bulletin.

Grade-point average

  • The GPA is computed by dividing the number of grade points earned at VCU by the number of credit hours attempted at VCU. The grades of accepted transfer courses are not included in the computation of the VCU GPA. However, transfer grades are included in the computation of laudatory graduation honors.
  • VCU has two program levels: undergraduate and graduate. Each program level has a cumulative GPA. If you enroll in multiple programs at the same degree level, your GPA for the multiple programs will be merged. For example, if you graduate from an undergraduate program at VCU and pursue a second undergraduate program at VCU, you will have one continuous GPA.

Repeated courses

  • Because some programs do not allow students to repeat courses, any student planning to do so must first consult with his or her adviser, department chair or program head.
  • The semester credits attempted and the grade points earned for all attempts are included in computing the cumulative GPA. No matter how often a course is repeated, it may be counted only once as credits presented toward graduation.
  • If a student repeats a course in which a D or F was earned on the first attempt, the student can file the Historical Repeat Course Option form at any time during a semester prior to the awarding of the undergraduate degree. This form must be filed before the last week of classes in any semester so the cumulative GPA can be adjusted at the end of that semester. It is available from the Office of Records and Registration at VCUarts Qatar.
  • In the case of courses that are no longer offered at VCU, students may take the established equivalent course at VCU and file the Historical Repeat Course Option form as described in the previous paragraph.
  • The grade is not excluded until the request is made. If, however, more than one D or F grade is received in the same course, only one of these grades will be excluded from the computation of the cumulative GPA.
  • Grades for all attempted courses remain on the student’s permanent record. Students may not repeat courses for which they have previously received transfer credit. A repeated course may be counted only once toward credits necessary for graduation. Before repeating a course, the student should consult with the adviser, department chair or program head.
  • Initiating the repeated course option by using the Historical Repeat Course Option form will not result in a change in previously earned academic statuses (warning, probation, suspension). Students who choose to repeat a course must do so before the awarding of their undergraduate degrees from VCU, or from any other college to which VCU course work is transferred. The student’s GPA at graduation will not be affected by repeating a course at any time after graduation.
  • Students who are eligible to file a historical repeat on a course that would change their academic standing have until the end of the add/drop period the following semester to file an ARAC petition with their school/college ARAC representative to request that the academic status be changed. Once the add/drop period the following semester has passed the student can still submit the historical repeat and have the grade point average changed, but the academic status will not be changed. For courses taken in the spring semester, the following semester is the summer session and the petition must be filed within one week (seven days) of when the first summer session starts.

Grade exclusion policy

  • This policy is applicable to former students enrolled in any undergraduate program at the university who:
  1. Have not enrolled at VCU for five years or more
  2. Are now entering an undergraduate program
  3. Earn at least a 2.0 GPA on the first 12 semester hours completed upon return
  • Under this policy, eligible students may request that D and F grades previously earned at VCU be excluded from their total credits earned and GPA computation for the purpose of meeting scholastic continuance and graduation requirements.
  • All earned grades, including those excluded D and F grades, remain on the student’s academic record. Excluded grades must be approved by the student’s major department chair and by the dean of the school.
  • Initiating the grade exclusion option will not result in a change in previously earned academic statuses (warning, probation, suspension). Grades of DN and FN indicate that the letter grade is not computed in the GPA.
  • The grade exclusion policy may be used only once during a student’s enrollment at VCU and cannot be revoked by the student after approval is granted. A student who chooses to use this policy must do so before the awarding of his or her undergraduate degree.

Change of grade

  • A final grade may be corrected by the faculty member with proper submission of the Change of Grade Form to the chair of the department in which the course was taught. The chair will forward the form to the school’s dean, who will send it to the Office of Records and Registration.
  • For grades awarded in the fall semester, the change of grade must be submitted by the department chair no later than 30 calendar days after the beginning of the following spring semester.
  • For grades awarded in the spring semester or summer, the change must be submitted no later than 30 days after the beginning of the following fall semester. However, a change of grade that affects the student’s academic eligibility to enroll must be made during the add/drop period in the semester or summer session in which the student plans to continue attendance.

Grade Appeals

  • Undergraduate and graduate students of VCU have a right to appeal course grades they consider to have been arbitrarily or capriciously assigned or assigned without regard for the criteria, requirements and procedures of the course stated in the syllabus or guidelines for assignments. Grades determined by actions under authority of the VCU Honor System may not be appealed through this procedure, nor may dismissals that have occurred as a result of correctly derived course grades.
  • Though the faculty has the responsibility for assigning grades on the basis of academic criteria, such grade designations can sometimes raise conflicts. Thus, while affirming the importance of maintaining standards of excellence and the integrity of the teaching/learning process, the university and its faculty also recognize that, on occasion, grades may be inappropriately assigned. Should such conflicts occur, students have a right to be fairly heard. When discrepancies occur concerning the grading process, the welfare and integrity of both faculty and students are equally important. This document is in no way intended to compromise the work of the faculty.
  • The faculty member (or members, in the case of a jointly taught course) bear the responsibility for specifying in writing at the beginning of each class section the formal requirements of the course and the weights that will be employed in determining the final course grade. The faculty member(s) shall apply relevant grading criteria uniformly to all members of the class.
  • Grades received through the grade review procedure are final and may not be appealed.
  • Learn more about how to initiate an appeal, mediation, the grade review committee, the grade review hearing.

More information about Grades.