Grades and GPA
The course grading system at Fisk is as follows:
- The grade of "A" indicates work of high quality.
- The grade of “B” indicates very good work.
- The grade of “C” indicates acceptable work.
- The grade of “D” indicates work at a minimal passing level.
Plus and minus grades may be attached to letter grades. Grades awarded with a minus (“-”) indicate achievement at the lower limit for that grade; grades awarded with a plus (“+”) indicate achievement at the upper limit for that grade. The grade of “C-” is not acceptable toward fulfillment of departmental requirements for the major or minor or for cognate courses in the student’s major or minor. Grades of "D" do not count toward fulfillment of departmental requirements for the major or the minor, nor are "D" grades acceptable for cognate courses in the student's major or minor. Fisk does not accept "D" or equivalent grades from other institutions in transfer toward a Fisk degree. The grade of “E” is a failing grade, indicating failure to meet the minimum requirements of the course. Under some circumstances, the "E" grade is given when the student's work is incomplete or when the student has withdrawn from the course. A course for which the grade of "E" is given must be repeated and a higher grade earned, if credit is desired.
Pass/Fail grades are given in some laboratory sections. Selective pass/fail grading is also available, at the student's option, in order to provide wider opportunities for students to pursue courses outside the major field, without competition from students specializing in the discipline in which the course is offered. Students may take no more than twelve hours of coursework under the pass/fail option, and the coursework may be for general elective credit only.
A grade of "P" (passing) is awarded for work at the "D" level or better. Work below the "D" level is assigned a grade of "F" (failure). Pass/fail grades are available only to students of junior or senior classification, who are in good academic standing and enrolled for fourteen credit hours or more in the semester. No more than one course per semester may be taken on a pass/fail basis in the junior year, and no more than two per semester in the senior year. Students must indicate on their registration cards those courses they wish to take on a pass/fail
basis. Students enrolling on a pass/fail basis must meet the same standards of achievement as other students, including the same attendance and other course requirements such as class recitations, tests, papers, and examinations. The Registrar will provide for each instructor, at the beginning of the semester, a list of students registered on a pass/fail basis for that instructor's classes. Students are not permitted to change their status from letter grade to pass/fail, or vice versa, after the close of normal registration. Credits earned by examination are also shown on the student's transcript with the grade of "P," and are not counted among the twelve hours of coursework permitted on the pass/fail basis. (See University Bulletin for more information on Credit By Examination) The requirement of junior or senior standing for pass/fail grading does not apply when "P" grades are assigned for credit by examination; nor are "P" graded credits,when earned by examination, subject to the usual pass/fail restriction specifying use of credit for general elective purposes only.
The grade of "I" (incomplete) is given when the student has substantially and satisfactorily completed the work in a class but due to unavoidable circumstances (illness or other valid reasons) lacks no more than two distinct course completion requirements. The student must have achieved an average of "C" or better in work completed for the course, and will be responsible for having a clear understanding of the requirements for the completion of the course and removal of the "I". Work done must be submitted by the last day of classes during the next semester in which the student is enrolled, and the "I" grade must be removed by the end of the next semester during which the student is enrolled; otherwise it is automatically replaced with a failing grade (E).
The grade of "WD" (withdrawn) and “WF” (Withdrawn Failing) are given to a student who has been enrolled for a course during the first weeks of the semester, but has filed a properly approved withdrawal form with the Registrar before the beginning of the mid-semester examination period. Instructors must indicate consent on the withdrawal form. The grade of "WP" (withdrawn passing) is given when a student files a properly approved withdrawal form with the Registrar between the beginning of the mid-semester examination period and before
the beginning of the final examination period, but only if the instructor certifies on the official grade report that the student's standing in the course was at a "D" grade level or better at the time of withdrawal. The grade of "WF" (withdrawn failing) is given when a student files a properly approved withdrawal form with the Registrar between the beginning of the mid-semester examination period and a date four weeks before the beginning of the final examination period but the instructor certifies on the official grade report that the student was failing the course at the time of withdrawal. Any student who is failing a course and requests a withdrawal after this period will receive a grade of “E” Fail.
Mid-semester reports are required from each instructor for all students who are doing unsatisfactory work ("C -"level or below) in that instructor's courses at midterm. Students are notified of any such reports by the Registrar and are required to meet with their faculty academic advisors to discuss the possible reasons for the deficient\ performance and to make plans for improvement. The absence of a mid-semester deficiency report, however, does not constitute a passing grade. It is therefore the student's responsibility to remain in contact with instructors in case of any question about the student's performance level.
Grade changes may be made to correct a grade report. All such changes are initiated by the course instructor and approved by the appropriate department chair and by the school dean or prior to being recorded in the Office of the Registrar. Once filed in the Office of the Registrar, grades are no longer the property of the instructor and cannot be changed because of a revision of the judgment of the instructor. In no case may a second examination or assessment of new work be undertaken after the date of the semester report in order to secure a new grade.
An awarded grade shall be final. A change of grade, however, may be permitted under certain exceptional circumstances. The Provost will evaluate appeals concerning a change of grade only if the following steps and procedures have been observed:
Step 1: The student shall seek a conference with and/or forward a written appeal to the instructor awarding the grade. This step shall occur as soon as possible but definitely no later than the end of the fourth week of the semester following that in which the grade was awarded.
Step 2: If the instructor is no longer at Fisk or if the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the conference in Step 1, an appeal may be made to the chair of the department in which the course was offered. Such appeal shall be made no later than two weeks after the meeting in Step 1 and no later than the end of the sixth week of the semester following that in which the grade was awarded. This appeal should be made in writing by the student giving all reasons and providing all documents in support of the change of grade. Requests that do not include specific reasons and supporting documents will not be considered. The chair must notify the student regarding the result of the appeal within 30 days after the written request is submitted.
Step 3: If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal process in Step 2, an appeal may be made to the school dean in which the course was offered. This appeal should be made in writing by the student giving all reasons and providing all documents in support of the change of grade. Requests that do not go through Step 2 and that do not include specific reasons and supporting documents will not be considered. The school dean must notify the student regarding the result of the appeal within 18 days after the written request was submitted.
Step 4: If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal process in Step 3, a final appeal may be made to the Office of the Provost. This appeal should be made in writing by the student giving all reasons and the summary of the outcomes in Step 1 through 3. Requests that do not go through Step1 through 3 will not be considered. After careful review of the file, the Office of the Provost will notify the petitioner of the final decision.
Grade Point Averages
Grade point averages are computed for each semester of a student's enrollment at Fisk and as a cumulative average for the student's entire undergraduate career. The grade point average (GPA) is important for several reasons. First, a minimum 2.0 GPA is a graduation requirement at the undergraduate level. There are GPA requirements for various academic honors and within the major field in many departments. And, most crucially, there are minimum GPA performance levels required in order to maintain satisfactory academic progress and be retained at Fisk in good standing, with eligibility for financial aid. The student’s grade point average is computed by assigning points to Fisk courses on the student's transcript. The number of quality points assigned to specific grades for each credit hour of work is as follows:
The grade point average is derived by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total number of credit hours attempted, excluding from the latter total any hours for which grades of "P," "F," "I," or "WD have been recorded. When students repeat courses, only the last grade received is considered in determining grade point average. Standards and practices vary from one institution to another: The Fisk grade point average reflects only coursework done at Fisk University. Transfer coursework is not considered.
Acceptable standards of scholarship for Fisk undergraduates require a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 ("C") or better. Satisfactory academic progress toward the required 2.0 GPA and the required minimum 120 semester hours for the bachelor's degree must be maintained throughout the student's career at Fisk. The University recognizes that student performance may be affected by adverse personal circumstances. In some instances, a student may wish to consider a leave of absence or withdrawal from the University with appropriate counsel with their faculty academic advisor. See University Bulletin for information on Satisfactory Academic Standing.