Academic Performance Standards


Grading Scale

The quality of a student’s academic achievement in each Berea College course is reported through final course grades in a grading scale adopted by the College Faculty in November 2007, as follows:


Excellent Work


Good Work


Competent Work*


Poor work that is still worthy of credit

Raises serious concern about the readiness of a student to continue in related course work.


Failing work that is unworthy of credit


The required minimum of 7 Convocation credits were earned


The required minimum of 7 Convocation credits were not earned


Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, Satisfactorily Completed

Given in developmental mathematics courses and in other non-credit courses and projects.  These grades are not used in determining the GPA.


Passing work

Given for courses which do not affect GPA, but for which credit is earned.


Continuing Progress

Given when a student is enrolled in a class that continues into the next term.



Assigned only when some portion of a course has not been completed for good and sufficient reason.  Courses in which I grades are assigned must be completed no later than the end of the next regular term in which the student is enrolled or the grade will be recorded as “F” on the permanent record.  Note that instructors may set an earlier deadline for completion of incomplete work than that set by the College.


No grade

A temporarily assigned grade when extenuating circumstances prevent an instructor from submitting grades at the time they are required due to travel abroad or other challenges deemed permitted by the Academic Dean.  A change of grade is required no later than 10 days following the assignment of the N.

In addition, the course grades of A, B, C, and D may be modified by a plus (+) or minus (-) suffix, indicating achievement which is respectively at the higher or lower segment of each of these grade ranges.

* Please note that a C- does not count for sequenced courses requiring a C or higher in a previous course (e.g., FRN 102 requires a C or higher in FRN 101).

Achievement in courses at the College is recorded by grades of A+/A/A-/B+/B/B-/C+/C/C-/D+/D/D-/F/U/S/SC/P/CP/I.  Also see "Dean's List" and "Graduating with Honors" in this publication.

Repeating a Course for a Higher Grade

A course in which a C-, D+, D, D- or F is earned may be repeated for a higher grade. The earlier grade will remain on the transcript, but only the higher of the two will be computed in the GPA. Earned credit will be given only once. Permission to repeat a course in which a grade of C or higher is earned may be given only by the Student Admissions and Academic Standing (SAAS) Committee. Courses may be repeated no more than two times without approval of the SAAS Committee. The highest grade will be computed in the GPA. Permission to take a course for the fourth time rarely will be given.

NOTE : For the purpose of meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress goals (see the Financial Aid and Student Accounts section in this publication), repeated courses will be counted only once toward meeting the minimum required passed course credits.

Grade Point Average

The GPA is a measure of a student’s academic achievement at the College, calculated by dividing the total number of grade points received by the total number of credits attempted. A term GPA and the cumulative average are computed at the end of each term for each student. For purposes of computing the Grade Point Average (GPA), the following weights are used: 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=1.0; D-=0.7; and F=0.0. Included in the GPA calculation are the grades earned for Convocation credit, calculated as 0.25 convocation credit for CA and 0.0 credit for CF grades.

NOTE: Convocation credits do not count in the minimum earned credits needed for a degree. S, SC, I, and U grades are not used in calculating GPA. W, WP, WF, and I grades in non-credit courses are not used in computing the GPA. All core, distribution, concentration, and collateral courses are used in the calculation of a student’s major GPA.

Dean’s List

A student who achieves a regular term GPA of 3.4 or higher while passing at least four total credits (to include all courses counting toward "load credit" including MAT 010, 011, and 012) will be named to the Dean’s List.

Grade Appeals

It is recognized that instructors must have the primary responsibility of assessing the quality of academic performance, advancement, and achievement of students in their classes.  However, instructors are subject to human frailties; these frailties can cause errors in calculation or judgment that may affect assessment of a student’s performance.  Instructors may appear to be capricious or inconsistent in their grading of a particular student.  Consequently, students may feel rightly or wrongly, a need to appeal that assessment.  Except in the most unusual circumstances, grades will be changed only upon the recommendation of the faculty member involved and then only with the consent of the Student Admissions and Academic Standing (SAAS) Committee.  The following procedures, designed to protect both the student and the faculty member, are to be followed such that the issue is resolved fairly and expeditiously:

  1. Within 30 days of the start of the next regular term after assignment of the grade, the student must make a formal written appeal to the instructor involved explaining why he or she believes the grade should be changed. If the instructor finds an error has been made, he or she will request that the SAAS Committee approve a grade change and notify the student in writing of the request. If the instructor finds the grade to be correct, he or she will notify the student in writing of the decision not to change the grade, specifically addressing the student’s stated reason for the appeal. The instructor’s response must take place within 30 days of receipt of the appeal, or—for reasons of college-related travel, sabbatical, or other extenuating circumstances such as sick leave—within 30 days of the start of the next regular term when the faculty member returns.
  2. If the student is not satisfied with the written response of the instructor, the student has the right to appeal in writing to the Chair of the Division in which the course is taught within 30 days of the date of the instructor’s written response. The student’s written notice of appeal should be accompanied by all relevant materials; a copy of the original written appeal to the instructor and a copy of the instructor’s written response must be forwarded to the Division Chair.  Within 30 days of the student's written appeal to the division, the Division Chair will convene a subcommittee from the division.  This committee will consist of the Division Chair and at least four other divisional faculty representing a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives.  The student and faculty member may be present for the hearing.  If the Division Chair is the faculty member whose grade is being appealed, he or she will appoint another member of the division to chair the appeal hearing.  For GST and GSTR courses, the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning serves as the Division Chair and members of the Committee on General Education serve as the division committee. The decision of the designated division committee shall be communicated in writing to the student, the faculty member, and the Director of Academic Services within 14 days of the date of the hearing. The letter should address the program’s reason for supporting or denying the student’s appeal. (Also see the “Summary of Grade Appeal Policy” chart for this information presented in chart form.)
  3. If either the student or the faculty member does not agree with the decision of the designated division committee, either may appeal to the SAAS Committee.  Within 30 days of the date of the division committee's written decision on the appeal, the student/faculty member must submit a letter contesting the division committee's decision to the Chairperson of the SAAS Committee.  The SAAS Committee will base its decision on the following materials forwarded by the division: the original appeal by the student to the instructor, the instructor's written response, the student's written appeal to the division and all supporting materials, the designated division committee's responses to the student and the instructor, a written summary of the designated division committee's decision (if any), and any paperwork or materials considered by the designated division committee.  Both the student and the faculty member may be present when the appeal is heard.  The decision of the Committee will be final.
Summary of Grade Appeal Policy
Action Time Limit
Student submits written appeal to faculty member Within 30 days after start of next regular term 

Instructor finds error was made; requests that SAAS Committee approve a grade change; and notifies student in writing of request for grade change.


Instructor finds the grade to be correct, notifies student in writing, specifically addressing the student's stated reason for the appeal

Within 30 days of receipt of written appeal or—for reasons of travel, sabbatical, or other extenuating circumstances, such as sick leave—within 30 days of the start of the regular term when the instructor returns
Student is not satisfied with the written response of the instructor and submits written appeal to Division Chair (or the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning for GST and GSTR courses). Within 30 days of date of instructor’s written response
Division subcommittee holds appeal hearing. Within 30 days of student’s written appeal
Division Committee's decision communicated in writing to the student, instructor, and the Director of Academic Services. Within 14 days of the Division committee's decision
 Either the student or instructor does not agree with the decision of the division's committee and appeals to the SAAS Committee Within 30 days of the date of the division committee's written notification of its decision 

Mid-Term Grade Report

Soon after the middle of the Fall and Spring terms, students are informed of their academic progress in all courses via the Midterm Grade Report. All students who do not have grades of C in at least three full course credits at midterm are encouraged to seek the counsel of their Academic Advisor.

Academic probation or suspension does not result from midterm grades, but is the result of unsatisfactory final grades. Failure to consult one’s Academic Advisor and follow his or her recommendations may affect the academic standing and enrollment status of a student who is not making satisfactory progress.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Berea College expects all enrolled students to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward completion of degree requirements. Satisfactory Academic Progress includes both GPA and credits standards. Students are responsible to understand the SAP and graduation requirements and to monitor their academic standing to ensure compliance with these policies.

Students will be placed on Academic Probation at the end of any regular term for failure to maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) or meet the credit requirements identified in the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Chart below. If the student fails to meet the conditions of Academic Probation, Academic Suspension may result. Please see the “Academic Difficulties” section for more information on the consequences of not meeting the SAP policies. Please note that while the credits listed in the Progress Standard column are minimums a student must meet in order to not be placed on academic probation, a student must average 8 credits per year (Spring, Fall, and Summer terms) in order to meet the minimum credits required for graduation in most majors.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Chart


Performance Standard


Progress Standard

Number of Total Terms

Minimum Cumulative GPA



Minimum Acceptable Credits*



 4 earned

3 passed


2.00 (1.67b)

 8 earned

6 passed


2.00 (1.85b)

 12 earned

9 earned



 16 earned

13 earned



 20 earned

18 earned



 24 earned

22 earned



 28 earned

26 earnedd



 32 earned

32 earned

a Summer term coursework may be used to meet preceding spring term standards for GPA and credits.

b Minimum cumulative GPA for continued probation

c Beginning with the third regular term, the number of credits will be based on earned credits and not passed (i.e. Developmental Math courses count toward load/passed credit and full‐time status but not earned credit which counts toward graduation requirements.) Please see the Academic Dictionary in the College Catalog and Student Handbook for more information on Earned Credit versus Passed credit.

d A student who only has 26 credits at this stage will require summer term coursework after participating in the May graduation ceremony in order to graduate before the beginning of the next regular term.