Academic Performance Standards

Grades

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:

A Excellent Work
B Good Work
C Competent Work*
D Poor work that is still worthy of credit

Raises serious concern about the readiness of a student to continue in related course work.
F Failing work that is unworthy of credit
CA The required minimum of 7 Convocation credits were earned
CF The required minimum of 7 Convocation credits were not earned
S/U/SC 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.
P Passing work

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

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

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.
N No grade

A temporarily assigned grade when extenuating circumstances prevent an instructor from submitting grades at the time said instructor is 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.

Some courses, such as GSTR 110, may have restrictions about being repeated.  Please see the individual course description for any restrictions.

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 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 the student believes the grade should be changed. If the instructor finds an error has been made, the instructor 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, the instructor 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, the Division Chair 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 department’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 the 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.
OR
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 meeting. 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 Grades

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 to follow 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  Expected
  Credits
Minimum Acceptable Credits*
1 2.00  4 earned 3 passed
2 2.00 (1.67b)  8 earned 6 passed
3 2.00 (1.85b)  12 earned 9 earned
4 2.00  16 earned 13 earned
5 2.00  20 earned 18 earned
6 2.00  24 earned 22 earned
7 2.00  28 earned 26 earnedd
8+ 2.00  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.)

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.

Academic Difficulty

Students experiencing difficulty in one or more courses are encouraged to seek help in resolving the problem(s). The first step always should be a full discussion with the instructor in whose course the problem exists. Additional conversations with one’s Academic Advisor, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Office of Academic Services, the Office of First‐Year Initiatives, one's Labor Supervisor, Student Life, Counseling Services may help to pinpoint the source of difficulty.

Following each regular term, the Office of Academic Services sends announcements of probation and suspension to the student’s Berea e‐mail address, Campus Post Office box, and through postal mail to the permanent mailing address presently cited in the student’s academic record for contact information. This announcement includes the reason for the assigned status and related conditions for resolution of the status.

Students on Academic Probation are offered support from a centrally-administered academic intervention team that will work closely with Academic Advisors to review academic schedules, course load, and course distribution over regular and summer terms. Advisors will also discuss with at-risk students the degree to which their work in the Labor Program, as well as extracurricular, co-curricular, and social life activities, are likely to contribute positively to the ultimate goal of earning a baccalaureate degree from Berea College. Students on Academic Probation cannot participate in intercollegiate athletics, internships, independent studies, team-initiated studies, Berea Term Abroad, or international travel in Summer terms (including Berea International Summer Term or KIIS). Students who wish to participate in the above activities may appeal to the SAAS Committee through the Office of Academic Services for a waiver to conditions of Academic Probation.

Performance Checks Program

The Office of Academic Services coordinates the Performance Check Program which seeks to identify students who are at risk of failure to meet institutional expectations for acceptable academic, labor, and social performance. In cases where the College becomes aware of student difficulty, the student’s Academic Advisor and/or the coordinator of the Early Intervention Program may initiate contact with the student through the use of Mandatory Meeting requests.

Faculty and staff members may report excessive absences or other signs of academic difficulty to the Performance Checks Program. The student’s instructors, labor supervisor, advisor, and student life team member will be contacted to determine if the problem is widespread. A student demonstrating significant problems may be called in for counseling and academic assistance. The student’s advisor and the instructor who initiated the performance check will be notified of any action. Excessive attendance problems and lack of engagement in either the academic or labor programs may result in college-initiated administrative withdrawal. (See “Academic Difficulty” and “Withdrawal from the College” for more information.)

Academic Probation

Students will be placed on Academic Probation at the end of any regular term for failure to maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA in the major (once declared) and overall, meet the total credits identified in the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Chart, or for failure to satisfactorily complete the equivalent of three (3) credits. To be removed from Academic Probation, a student must achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.0 in the major (once declared) and overall, meet the minimum course credit requirements as defined in the SAP policy and chart, and satisfactorily complete the equivalent of three (3) credits in the next regular term of attendance. Students who do not meet the minimum performance and/or course credit requirements as defined in the SAP policy and chart will be subject to suspension. In general, students approved for part‐time status must meet the SAP standards based on their total terms including any part-time terms.

Continued Probation

Students on probation in their second and third terms will be placed on continued probation if, at the end of the term, they meet the minimum cumulative GPA requirements and progress requirements in the SAP policy and chart but have not yet achieved a 2.0 cumulative GPA. (See SAP chart)

Probation Conditions

During the term of probation, the student will be enrolled in GST 101: Strategies for Academic Success (1/4‐credit course) unless said student has passed the course previously. Failure to successfully complete GST 101 while on probation will negatively influence future enrollment decisions for a student who remains in academic difficulty. Students wishing to be excused from this requirement may complete the GST 101 waiver form available from the Office of Academic Services.

Students on Academic Probation cannot participate in internships, independent studies, team-initiated studies, Berea Term Abroad, or international travel in Summer terms (including Berea International Summer Term or KIIS). Students who wish to participate in the above activities may appeal to the SAAS Committee for a waiver to these conditions of Academic Probation. Additionally, students on any form of probation are not authorized to have a vehicle on campus. (see Motor Vehicle Policy for Students for more information)

Exceptions to Probation Policies

Students who do not meet the SAP standards as a result of one or more incomplete (I) grades will have their probation status reevaluated once the incomplete(s) has been resolved. If the student meets all of the SAP standards at that point, the probation status will be removed as of the term the incomplete is resolved.

Students who are placed on Academic Probation at the end of the spring term will have the opportunity to meet the SAP standards for that term with summer coursework either at Berea or another college (please see elsewhere in the Catalog for policies regarding transfer credits). At the end of summer term, student status will be reevaluated with the addition of summer courses using the prior spring term’s standards for performance and credit completion. Students will be removed from academic probation when they are in compliance with the standards of performance and progress stated above.

Students who are approved for an extension of terms will be held accountable for the credits earned/passed as outlined on their approved curriculum plan submitted with their extension of terms request form rather than those listed on the SAP chart. Deviation from this curriculum plan must be approved by the student’s advisor and the Office of Academic Services. Failure to follow the curriculum plan may result in revocation of the extension approval and suspension from the college.

Appeals of Academic Probation

Students who remain in violation of the SAP policies as a result of early academic difficulties, but have a track record of successful academic work, may submit an appeal to the SAAS committee for removal from Academic Probation.

Students who are placed on Academic Probation solely for not meeting the SAP credits progress standards and who have been accepted to a major and have an approved curriculum plan that demonstrates that they will be able to complete their degree within the 8‐term limit without overloading in any term, can appeal their probationary status to the SAAS Committee. Students in this situation will be required to request a waiver of probation status each term and demonstrate that they are following their approved curriculum plan. Students may modify and update their curriculum plan to respond to changes in course sequencing, availability, or registration with the approval of their advisor.

Also see the “Readmission” and “Academic Standing and Reinstatement to Good Standing” in this publication for more information.

Academic Suspension

Students are subject to suspension for any of the following reasons:

  • failure to pass the majority of all courses carried for a regular term (even if the student is not on academic probation);
  • failure to meet the conditions of Academic Probation;
  • failure to satisfy the Developmental Mathematics Requirement prior to the beginning of the third regular term of attendance;
  • failure to successfully complete GSTR 110 by the end of the second regular term and GSTR 210 prior to the end of the third regular term of attendance. (Students are required to be enrolled in these courses until successful completion is achieved unless they are enrolled in GST 150: College Composition);
  • failure to complete the Declaration of Primary Major process in a timely manner (See Declaration of Primary Major for more information.).

Appeals of Academic Suspension

Students who are dismissed for academic reasons have the right to appeal the action within five (5) business days from the date of notification. The appeal must be in writing and include pertinent information other than what is available to the committee at the time of its initial action. The letter of appeal should be:

  1. word processed and follow the format of a formal business letter or be considered as a formal writing activity (e-mailed letters from the student are acceptable);
  2. addressed to the Chairperson of the SAAS Committee; and
  3. submitted to the Office of Academic Services. Students also may wish to consult with the Director of Academic Services on these and other academic matters.

To reach a decision on the appeal, the SAAS Committee will take into consideration the student’s previous academic, labor, and social record at Berea, as well as the degree to which the student has responded to institutional attempts to support academic success (e.g. successful completion of GST 101: Strategies for Academic Success, response to consultation with the Academic Advisor, documented visits to the Center for Teaching and Learning, etc.).

In addition, the following criteria will be considered by the SAAS Committee during appeal hearings:

  • Evidence of Satisfactory Academic Progress, compliance with General Education requirements, and timely resolution of incomplete grades according to College policy detailed elsewhere in this Catalog.
  • Compliance with the expectations identified in the Midpoint Degree Check.
  • Evidence of student responsiveness to the College’s many opportunities for assistance.
  • Evidence of extraordinary circumstances beyond the student's control.
  • Clear support for reinstatement from informed members of the faculty and staff, including instructors, physicians, counselors, labor supervisors, etc.
  • Likelihood of completion of degree requirements within remaining terms of attendance.
  • Submission of a clearly written plan to achieve academic success.
  • Evidence of balanced engagement in co-curricular, social, and labor opportunities.

The SAAS Committee may wish to interview the appellant. For that reason, appellants should make themselves available at the time of the appeals meeting. It is the student’s responsibility to ascertain the time and place of the appeals meeting; this information will be e-mailed to the student by the Office of Academic Services. After the Committee has considered the appeal, the Committee informs the student of the decision by mail to the student’s CPO and permanent mailing address on record.

If the appeal is successful, the student will be reinstated on probation for one subsequent regular term. The same appeal will be used for purposes of continued eligibility for Title IV and state financial aid. Without this written appeal, the student will not remain eligible for Title IV and state financial aid.