Home » Student Services » For Current Students » College Policies » Academic Policies & Procedures » Grading System and Academic Standing

Grading System and Academic Standing

Academic Standing

A student’s academic standing indicates progress towards a degree. A minimum over-all average grade is required to continue from one semester to another. There are three categories of academic standing. These are described as follows:

Criteria for Good Academic Standing

In order for a student to be considered in good academic standing and making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate, a student must:

  1. Maintain a Cumulative Quality Point Average (Overall GPA) of 1.80 or higher after attempting 1or more credits

NOTE: For all Associate Degree and Certificates, a student must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and complete all stated requirements in order to be eligible for graduation (See Graduation Requirements on Page 7 of the Academic Policies for more details).

NOTE: the criteria for maintaining financial aid eligibility is different.
Please refer to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy at this link:
http://www.necc.mass.edu/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/fa-sap-policy.pdf

Academic Probation

A student who has attempted 1 or more credits and has a Cumulative Quality Point Average (Overall GPA) of 1.3 but less than 1.79 will be placed on academic probation.

A Student on Academic Probation must:
  • Meet with his or her assigned faculty advisor or professional advisor each semester the students is on Academic Probation
  • Must meet with advisor and discuss available resources as well as develop an Academic Plan that will assist them in improving academic performance
  • In order to take more than 12 credits, the student will need to attain a GPA of 1.80 or higher and in good Academic Standing
A Student on Academic Probation will not:
  • Be allowed to take more than 12 credits per semester as long as he or she is on Academic Probation
  • Be allowed to study abroad, participate in any off campus academic offerings (for example, COP, Disney, NECC courses abroad), or participate in Cross Registration
  • Be allowed to register Online
  • Be allowed to take 100% online courses

Academic Suspension

A student who has attempted 1 or more credits and has a Cumulative Quality Point Average (Overall GPA) of less than 1.30. Students are informed in writing by the vice president of academic affairs that they are suspended. The letter includes information regarding the steps necessary to appeal to the Review Committee and services provided by the Career Planning and Advising Centers to assist students in improving their academic progress. Suspension means that a student is prohibited from re-enrolling in the College until he/she has met with the Academic Review Committee to discuss academic progress. The Academic Review Committee has the final decision on all Academic Suspension appeals.

A Student on Academic Suspension:
  • Will be removed from academic program
  • Must appeal their suspension to the Academic Review Committee and be approved and receive written permission before being allowed to return to the college
  • Will receive written documentation of the Committee’s decision
  • If allowed to return, the student MUST present a letter or email from the Academic Review Committee to professional advisors in the Career Planning and Advising Centers in order to be advised and registered for courses
If a student who is on Academic Suspension is approved by the Review Committee and is allowed to return on Academic Suspended Status, the student:
  • Will remain undeclared, not in a major
  • Will not be allowed to take more than 8 credits per semester
  • Will not be eligible for Financial Aid (loans and grants)
  • Will not be allowed to Study abroad, participate in any off campus academic offerings (for example, COP, Disney, NECC courses abroad), or participate in Cross Registration
  • Will not be allowed to register Online or take any 100 % Online courses, but can take hybrid courses
  • Will not be allowed to register for courses that have already started
Students allowed to return on Special Probation will not:
    • Be allowed to take more than 8 credits
    • Be allowed to study abroad, participate in any off campus academic offerings (for example, COP, Disney, NECC courses abroad), or participate in Cross Registration
    • Be allowed to register Online
    • Be allowed to take 100 % online courses, but can take hybrid courses
    • Be allowed to register for courses that have already started
The Academic Review Process for Academically Suspended Students:
      • The College recognizes there are unusual or mitigating circumstances that can affect academic performance. These unusual or mitigating circumstances will be considered by the Review Committee in granting a student permission to re-enroll.
      • Therefore a student is required to present Official Documentation drafted on letterhead from relevant organizations explaining the nature of mitigating or unusual circumstance(s) that affected the student’s performance that the Board should know before making its decision. Examples of organizations/individuals are: Counseling Services, Clergy, Medical facilities, Law Enforcement officials, Court Officials.
Deadline for appealing to return

A student who wishes to appeal his/her suspension must:

      • For Spring Semester, apply to the Review Committee no later than the second week in January and for Fall semester no later than the first week in August.
      • All documentation must be presented as a package at the time that the student is appealing.
      • Appealing Academic Suspension is not connected to Financial Aid.
      • Appealing will only allow a student to return to the college as an Undeclared, self-paying student.
      • The composition of the Review Committee will be determined by the Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee.
      • The Academic Review Committee can grant permission to re-enroll but does not have the authority to make decisions regarding financial aid eligibility.

Dean’s List Policy

Each semester students are appointed to the Dean’s List for Academic Honors if they fulfill the following requirements:

      • Be a candidate for a degree (a matriculated student)
      • Attain a GPA of 3.3 or higher within the semester
      • Carry 6 or more credit hours within a given semester

All students, both developmental and college level, are eligible for this distinction; and that the Dean’s List will be compiled and published for the fall, spring, and summer semesters beginning with the fall of 2004.

Grade Change Policy:

A student wishing to initiate a grade change request must contact the faculty member, in writing, who taught the course with this request. Grades are assigned by the faculty; therefore, it is the sole discretion of the faculty to determine if such a request is reasonable. If the faculty deems the request reasonable, he or she will be responsible for developing a plan with the student for completing all relevant assignments. A student will not be granted a grade change beyond one calendar year from the original semester that the course was taken and no extensions will be granted. Incomplete grades are not included this policy (see Incomplete Grades page 11).
In the event that a grade change request is denied and the student believes that the original assigned grade was a result of an error of injustice, then the student has the right to take his or her complaint through the Grievance Process (Student Code of Conduct & Grievance Procedure). This Grade Change Policy does not apply to, or affect the standards, timeframe, and process that is stated in the Grade Appeal Portion of the Student Grievance Procedure.

Grading System

Letter grades are used at the college per the table listed below, and each grade has a numeric range and associated Quality Point Value. The Quality Point Value is based on a 0.00 to 4.0 range, with an “A” grade having the highest value of 4.0. Grades are used to represent the quality of work done in a course and knowledge earned, as based on the individual instructor’s standards and course objectives.

The Quality Point Value is used to determine the numeric average of semester course work or of cumulative courses and grades to date. Such a computation is known as the Quality Point Average (QPA) of the grades earned to date. The Quality Point Values of a grade in combination with a credits attempted scale, are used to establish the college’s Standards of Academic Progress. The grades presently in use by the college are:

Grade QP Value Numeric Range/Comment
A 4.00 93-100
A- 3.70 90-92
B+ 3.30 87-89
B 3.00 83-86
B- 2.70 80-82
C+ 2.30 77-79
C 2.00 73-76
C- 1.70 70-72
D+ 1.30 67-69
D 1.00 60-66
F 0.00 59 or less; failure; no credit earned
W 0.00 Withdrawal from course by student within withdrawal period
NW 0.00 Non-participation withdrawal grade assigned by instructor within withdrawal period
Grade QP Value Numeric Range/Comment
P 0.00 Pass; credit earned
I 0.00 Incomplete, in non-punitive period
AU 0.00 Audit; no credits earned

To determine the Quality Point Average (QPA) of courses completed and grades earned, divide attempted credits into the total quality points earned: 12 credits divided into 24.00 = a QPA of 2.0. In this example, the student has a QPA of 2.0, or in other words an overall “C” average. The QPA is also cumulative. Each semester a cumulative QPA is computed by dividing the total number of credits attempted in all semesters at the college into the total number of quality points earned in all semesters at the college. Attempted credit hours include credit hours with a letter grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, F.

Grades of P, I, W, NW, and AU are not included in the attempted credit hours. When a course is repeated the higher of the two grades will be computed in the QPA; only the credit hours for the higher grade will be included in the cumulative total of attempted hours. The transcript will record each time the course has been taken. (Refer to Repeating a Course for further details.)

Incomplete Grades

Students may receive a temporary grade of Incomplete (I) from instructors when all work in a course is not satisfactorily completed and, in the judgment of the instructor, completion of the assigned tasks would allow the student to earn a passing grade in the course. If the instructor assigns an I, a Documentation of Incomplete Grades Form must be completed by the instructor and is maintained with the Registrar. The form will clearly outline the work to be completed and the time limit. The form must be submitted with semester grades. An instructor may change an I to a letter grade (other than a W grade) by the end of the next semester.

Instructors may accept late course work only when, in their judgment, there are acceptable reasons to justify such a delay. If a final examination is missed because of student inaction, as opposed to a cancellation of class or instructor inaction, the instructor may allow a make-up if, in the judgment of the instructor, successful completion of the final examination could earn the student a passing grade.

If, for any reason, the instructor has left Northern Essex permanently or for an extended period of time and is unavailable, the area assistant dean /dean has the authority to change the grade using the Grade Change Form. The area assistant dean/dean’s decision is based upon a waiver of any existing documentation of the Incomplete. If documentation of expected work is not available, the area assistant dean/ dean may use professional judgment to determine work to be completed and the final grade. Incomplete grades are temporarily not computed in determining the semester and cumulative QPA. Incomplete grades (I) are automatically converted to F (Failure, no credit earned) grades at the end of the next semester, and are computed in the student’s semester and cumulative QPA. The student is expected to take the initiative in seeking to complete course work necessary to change an (I) to another grade. An (I) cannot be changed to a W or NW or grade by the instructor.

Mid-Semester Grades

Mid-semester grades are not routinely issued at Northern Essex. All students, however, have the right to request written evaluations from their instructors at any time during the semester. The Registrar has an official Grade Verification Form that may be filled out by the instructor upon request of the student.

Student Academic Transcripts/Semester Grade Reports

All courses taken at Northern Essex Community College are maintained by the Registrar and are recorded as a single permanent record. If the student successfully completes a program of study at Northern Essex Community College, the name of the degree or certificate earned will be noted on the transcript.

Transcripts may be reviewed by students in person by presenting an acceptable form of identification, such as a driver’s license, college I.D. card, social security card, etc. Any written request for (or release of) an official transcript must contain the student’s name, address, date of birth, social security number, and dates of attendance. Transcripts will be released to other parties only if written authorization from the student has been received.