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General Policies

Absences for Pregnancy or Childbirth

In accordance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, absences due to pregnancy or related conditions, including recovery from childbirth, shall be excused for as long as the student’s doctor deems the absences to be medically necessary. When the student returns to the College she shall be reinstated to the status she held when the leave began, which includes the opportunity to make up any missed work. The College may offer the student alternatives to making up missed work, such as retaking a semester, taking part in on-line instruction, or allowing the student additional time in a program to continue at the same pace and finish at a later date.

For more information, please contact the either the Registrar at registrar@necc.mass.edu, or the Dean of Academic Advising, Articulation, Transfer, Testing and TRiO at advising@necc.mass.edu.

Absence for Religious Reasons

Students who, due to religious beliefs, are unable to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirements on a particular day, shall be excused from any such examination or study or requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement which they may have missed because of such absence on any particular day, provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon the school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to said students such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to students for availing themselves of the provisions for an absence for religious reasons in accordance with Chapter 375, General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Academic Ethics and Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a very serious violation of academic ethics and the NECC Student Code of Conduct. The college expects all students to maintain high standards of academic honesty and integrity.

Plagiarism is defined by the College to be the use of any other person’s research, images, words or ideas as though they were your own, without giving appropriate credit to the original source. If a student uses another person’s research, images, words or ideas he/she must give credit to the original source through proper citation (consult the instructor about this requirement), regardless of whether the use is a direct quote, or it is incorporated into his/her own work.

Instructors are required to provide students with a clearly written definition of plagiarism applicable in their discipline as part of the course syllabus that they provide during the first two weeks of each course.

Plagiarism may range in severity from unintentional omission of credit, to intentional, dishonest representation of borrowed work as one’s own. In most cases, plagiarism will be dealt with by the faculty member in charge of the course, and students will be sanctioned according to the severity of the offense.

Students’ academic offenses, as outlined in the Regulations Governing Student Conduct (see Student Code of Conduct at www.necc.mass.edu/collegepolicies), are usually handled by faculty members and/or their supervisors, with the procedural protections mentioned in the Regulations Governing Student Conduct.

Students are responsible for understanding what plagiarism is in each of their classes. The college’s definition and that of their instructor will be used as a criterion against which all plagiarism allegations will be judged. Instances of plagiarism will be addressed first by the instructor who discovers, or is made aware of, the incident. Instructors must discuss the evidence of plagiarism with the student prior to taking action. Instructors who take action as a result of a plagiarism incident may report such action to the vice president of academic affairs. There shall be a range of penalties at the discretion of the instructor which may extend to a recommendation to the vice president of academic affairs for expulsion from the College. The vice president of academic affairs may take disciplinary action against students who are reported for plagiarism.

Students have a right to file a grievance if they feel that the action taken in the alleged plagiarism case discriminated or abrogated their individual or student rights. Students may contact the vice president of enrollment management and student services office for detailed information regarding the Board of Higher Education’s Student Grievance Procedures.

Assessment of Program and Institutional-Level Learning Outcomes

NECC’s commitment to student success involves the evaluation of student work at the program, department, and/or campus levels to help ensure that students are achieving the learning outcomes identified by our programs and the college. This process may include the collection of such evidence as student classroom products or classroom-associated reports of student knowledge or skill demonstrations. All collected products will have any identifying information removed before they are reviewed. Results from these reviews are then aggregated to provide an overall view of students’ outcomes achievements. Assessments carried out at the program, department, and/or campus levels will not impact students’ course grades. The process of assigning grades will continue to be the responsibility of the course instructors. Any student who does not wish to have their products collected for program, department, or campus-level assessment can opt out by notifying their instructor.

Attendance and Participation
(NP Policy)

For classroom, laboratory, videoconference, and clinical courses, students are expected to attend each meeting of each class in which they are enrolled. For online courses, students are expected to participate at a level acceptable to the instructor.

Documenting Attendance in Distance Education Courses

Changes to federal financial aid regulations in recent years have highlighted the importance of accurate reporting on student attendance and participation in all courses, including online courses. To stay in compliance with federal financial aid regulations, the college is providing the following procedural guidance for faculty filling out non-participation rosters for distance education courses.

To quote from the Federal Student Aid Handbook:

“In a distance education context, documenting that a student has logged into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance by the student. A school must demonstrate that a student participated in class or was otherwise engaged in an academically related activity, such as by contributing to an online discussion or initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course-related question.” FSA Handbook, Volume 5, Chapter 2, 5-60.

For practical purposes, this means that a student needs to be more than merely logging in to an online course (without showing any other kind of active participation) to be considered in academic attendance. Given the wide range of approaches used to teach online courses, monitor student activity, and assess student performance, individual faculty members are best positioned to determine whether their students are in attendance in a distance education course. However, to stay in compliance with federal financial aid regulations, that determination must consist of something more than a student just logging in and out of a course.

In every case, the class instructor has full and final authority to decide whether a student is permitted to make up work missed through absence or lack of participation, and on what terms. Attendance and participation policies are noted on each course syllabus.

Faculty have the academic authority to remove students from their class for nonattendance or non-participation. A non-participating (NP) student is one who has excessive absences, has missed quizzes, tests or papers, or otherwise has failed to meet the participation standard clearly delineated in the course instructor’s syllabus.

An NW grade is assigned when non-participating students are removed from a class. Although the NW grade is not included in students’ grade point average, it may have other adverse consequences.

A student may be removed from a course for inappropriate classroom behavior that is in clear violation of the student code of conduct published in the Student Code of Conduct and NECC Policies & Procedures (see www.necc.mass.edu/collegepolicies). Faculty must follow notification procedures as prescribed in the code and should not use the NP Policy for this purpose.

Home Schooling Policy

All home school students, without a high school diploma or GED, are eligible to apply for admission to a degree or certificate program provided they have successfully completed an approved home school program in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws or the laws of their home state.

To determine whether a student has participated in an approved home school program, the student shall submit, with the application for admission, evidence that the home school program was approved by the student’s school district’s superintendent or school committee. Additionally, if the home schooled student is under the age of compulsory attendance, which is sixteen (16) years old in Massachusetts, a letter from the student’s school district’s superintendent or school committee is required stating that the student is not considered truant and would not be required to attend further schooling or continue to be home-schooled if the student has completed his/her home school program before the age of sixteen (16).

The College reserves the right to limit or deny enrollment of any student under the age of sixteen (16) in a course of program based on a case-by-case consideration of a variety of factors, including but not limited to: the student’s maturity, life experience, placement test scores, prior education, course content, instructional methodology, and potential risks associated with participation in a particular course or program.

Mandatory Assessment and Planned Course Placement

Academic Assessment Policies

Academic Assessment at NECC is defined as a test of a student’s abilities in reading, writing, math, and English as a Second Language (ESL).

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education mandates that all students entering state colleges must complete an assessment in order to determine basic skills levels for course placement. Based on assessment results, a student may be required to initially enroll in one or more developmental or ESL courses in order to prepare for college level course work.

Assessment and planned course placement are required for students who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Students enrolling in a degree or certificate program (matriculated students).
  • Students enrolling in the following courses: English Composition I; college level math; developmental reading, writing, and math; ESL; all courses with numbers beginning with zero; and all other courses with entrance level skills requirements. Please refer to the course description to determine if an assessment is required for a particular course.
  • Non matriculated students will be allowed to register for up to two courses**, prior to assessment (with the exception of those courses listed above.)

**Courses are limited and must be selected from an approved list. The list is updated on a regular basis and is available in the Career Planning and Advising Center.

Expiration of Accuplacer Assessment results:

For students testing on or after February 1, 2015

  • All developmental reading, writing, math and ESL course placements are valid for one year from the date of assessment.
  • College level placements in reading, writing and math are valid for three years from the date of assessment.
Assessment Waivers:

Students with prior college credits or SAT scores may be eligible for a partial or full waiver of the Assessment.

Waivers are granted based on review of transcripts, CLEP and Advanced Placement Transcripts. Contact Enrollment Services at 978-556-3700 or stop in one of the Career Planning and Advising Centers to inquire about the waiver process.

Assessment Methods:

Reading, math, writing and sentence skills assessments are administered with the state-mandated Accuplacer test, a web-based assessment system. Students who apply for enrollment in English Language courses will be assessed with the Accuplacer LOEP reading test and specialized grammar, writing and communication assessments.

Math Placement Pilot Project:

In the Fall of 2014, Northern Essex Community College will participate in a pilot project that has been requested by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education’s Task Force on Transforming Developmental Math Education.

In accordance with the state’s recommendations, all 2014 high school graduates and beyond will be eligible for a math placement based on their high school GPA or Accuplacer. The pilot study will include all 2014 graduates, both in and out of state.

  1. All students planning to enroll in Spring, 2015 classes or beyond should submit their final high school transcript as part of the application process.
  2. Accuplacer testing will still be required for entry into most courses. Students required to test should complete the Reading, Writing and Sentence Skills portion of the Accuplacer test. We strongly encourage all students to also take the math test at this time so that we may properly evaluate academic skills levels and help them register for the most appropriate math course.
  3. Students whose overall GPA is 2.7 or higher and meet the necessary reading prerequisite may register for an entry level college level math course, regardless of a developmental math placement with the Accuplacer test. For example, the GPA places the student into College Algebra & Trigonometry/Applied Technical Math but Accuplacer places the student into Basic Algebra II. The student will be eligible to register for College Algebra & Trigonometry/Applied Technical Math but also has the option to register for Basic Algebra II.
  4. High School GPAs will be accepted for 3 years from the date of graduation.
  5. The Accuplacer test can place students at a higher level than the GPA placement. Therefore, it is in their best interest to take the test.
  6. Only transcripts that are calculated on a scale of 4.0 will be used for this pilot. All others will be required to take Accuplacer.
  7. Anyone who falls outside of the 2014 graduation criteria, does not have a GPA noted on the transcript or does not provide a transcript will be required to take the Accuplacer math test for placement.
Special Accommodations for Assessments:

Students with documented disabilities should contact the Learning Accommodations Center to arrange for special accommodations well in advance of their assessment date.