- Course Units
- Grading System
- Grade Points and Grade Point Average
- Non-Evaluation Symbols
- Grade Change Policy and Grade Appeals
- Grade Grievance Procedure
- Academic Honors
- Probation, Disqualification, & Reinstatement
- Repeating Courses
The term “unit of credit” is a measure of time and study devoted to a course. One credit unit is equivalent to one hour of lecture per week plus at least two hours of study outside of class or at least three hours of lab per week per semester. Many courses are made up of a combination of lecture sessions and laboratory sessions.
Final grades are recorded on a student’s permanent record at the end of each academic term. Grades may be accessed online through WebAdvisor two weeks after the end of the class.
Instructors base assigned grades on class work and tests. The grades assigned are as follows:
|Symbol||Definition||Grade Point Value|
|D||Less than Satisfactory||1|
|EW||Excused Withdrawal (by appeal only)||0|
|FW||1 Failing for unofficial withdrawal||0|
|(At least satisfactory - A, B, C grades; units awarded but not counted in GPA|
|(Less than Satisfactory, or failing - D or F grades; units not counted in GPA)|
For a student who has ceased to participate in a course after the last day to officially drop or withdraw without having achieved a passing grade. The FW grade shall be used in determining grade point average and academic standing. Students who have verifiable extenuating circumstances may petition to withdraw (W) after receiving an FW. A petition for extenuating circumstances, with accompanying documentation, must be submitted electronically to Admissions & Records no later than one semester after receiving the grade.
Students may choose the Pass/No Pass grading option on designated courses. This choice can be made at the time of registration, or a student may file a Petition in the Admissions & Records Office prior to the first 30% of the class.
Grades of F count as units attempted and completed with a failing grade. Such grades are computed in the grade point average (both semester and cumulative). Units for which grades of F are assigned do not earn units and do not fulfill course, certificate, or degree requirements.
Grade Points and Grade Point Average
College of the Desert follows the same system of grade points used by most colleges and universities in the State to give an overall appraisal of the student’s level of achievement. Semester grades are assigned grade points as follows:
|A||4 grade points per unit earned|
|B||3 grade points per unit earned|
|C||2 grade points per unit earned|
|D||1 grade point per unit earned|
|F||0 grade points per unit earned|
Semester marks with no assigned grade points are as follows: I, P, NP, and W. Units for F grades are counted in computing grade point averages.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
The GPA is computed by dividing all graded (A–F) units attempted into all grade points received. Note: Do not include the marks of W, I, P or NP. The following example illustrates the grade point average calculation:
|Course||Units||Grade||Grade Points per Unit||Grade Points per Class|
|Total Grade Points||47|
|divided by Total Units Attempted||15|
|equals Grade Point Average (GPA)||3.13|
The following non-evaluation symbols may appear on official college transcripts:
"I" (Incomplete) is a temporary mark assigned by the instructor when the instructor and student mutually determine that the student has been unable to complete course requirements by the designated ending date of the course according to the following definition.
Definition (Title 5, section 55758): Incomplete academic work for unforeseeable, emergency and justifiable reasons at the end of the term may result in an "I" symbol being entered in the student’s record. The condition for removal of the "I" shall be stated by the instructor in a written record. This record shall contain the conditions for removal of the "I" and the grade assigned in lieu of its removal. This record must be given to the student with a copy on file with the Admissions & Records Office until the "I" is made up or the time limit has passed. A final grade shall be assigned when the work stipulated has been completed and evaluated, or when the time limit for completing the work has passed.
The "I" must be made up no later than one semester following the end of the term in which it was assigned.
The "I" symbol shall not be used in calculating units attempted nor for grade points.
An Incomplete is issued only upon mutual agreement between the instructor and the student. The instructor and the student will agree upon coursework and/or other requirements necessary for the removal of the incomplete mark and the grade to be assigned, as well as the grade to which the incomplete will default if the requirements are not met. The student is expected to make up the incomplete by the end of the semester immediately following the receipt of this mark or the grade will default to an "F." In unusual circumstances, the student may petition the instructor for a one-semester extension.
The Incomplete Grade Form is issued only to instructors. In addition to the terms of agreement as outlined in the previous paragraph, this form will contain the student’s signature and the instructor’s signature. The student and the instructor will each retain a copy of this agreement. A third copy will be kept on file with the permanent roster in the Admissions & Records Office.
"IP" (In Progress) mark indicates that work is in progress and that upon completion of this work an evaluative symbol (grade) will be assigned. The "IP" shall not be used in calculating grade point average.
"RD" (Report Delayed) is a mark used when there is a delay in reporting the grade of a student due to circumstances beyond the student’s control. This mark is a temporary notation and is to be replaced as soon as possible by a permanent symbol. Only the Admissions & Records Office may assign the "RD"mark. The "RD" notation shall not be used in calculating grade point average.
"W" (Withdrawal) is a mark assigned to students who withdraw after 20 percent and prior to 75 percent of the term. Withdrawal after the 75 percent point is not possible. "W" grades are final pursuant to State regulations and cannot be removed. Title 5, section 55024(a)(10)
Effective Summer 2012, in accordance with Title 5, sections 55024 and 55040, a student may not withdraw and receive a “W” symbol on his or her record for enrollment in the same course more than three times. In the event a student has documented extenuating circumstances, they must petition the Appeals Review Committee to enroll again, after having previously received three “W” symbols in the same course. If the enrollment is allowed, the student cannot receive a “W” and must receive an evaluative symbol other than a “W” (Title 5, section 55023) recorded on his or her academic record.
"MW" (Military Withdrawal) is issued when unexpected military duty requires a student to withdraw from their course. A military withdrawal can be granted as a result of an appeal supported by a specific military documentation. The "MW" notation shall not be used in calculating grade point average.
"EW" – Excused Withdrawal: The “EW” symbol may be used (by appeal only) to denote withdrawal in accordance with Title 5 Section 55024.
Grade Change Policy
Per Title 5, section 55025, College of the Desert adheres to the following policy and procedures for issuing and changing grades:
- Grade changes must be presented within two years from the time the grade was assigned.
- The instructor of record for the class has the right to issue a letter grade to a student. Once a grade has been given, that grade is final.
- A change of grade may be made in only one of two ways:
- A grade of Incomplete (I) is changed to a final grade. See Grading, Non-Evaluation Symbols for definition and limitations.
- The instructor is making a grade change for reasons other than the absence of demonstrated error, fraud, bad faith, or incompetence.
- All Change of Grade and Incomplete Grade forms will be evaluated based upon the Grading Policy adopted by the Board of Trustees.
- All requests for Grade Changes that do not adhere to the Grading Policy shall be returned to the instructor submitting the request.
No grade that has been placed in a student’s record may be changed unless the instructor submits a Grade Change form to the Admission & Records Office stating the reason for the change as listed above.
The student shall first attempt to solve the problem with the instructor involved. If the problem is not solved, the student may follow the steps outlined in the Grade Grievance Procedure.
By law, an instructor is solely responsible for the grades assigned; no instructor may be directed to change a grade except in certain narrow circumstances authorized by the Education Code, section 76224(a), which reads as follows: “When grades are given for any courses of instruction taught in a community college, the grade given to each student shall be that determined by the instructor of the course and its determination, in the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency, shall be final.”
When a student believes that the District grading policy has not been followed, and that the grade received in class was the result of “mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency,” the student MUST discuss this concern with the course instructor by the end of the fourth week of the following semester (excluding summer). Any student who is not satisfied after meeting with the instructor, may choose to pursue a grievance.
FRAUD: A deliberate misrepresentation of the truth or a fact used to take money, rights, or other privilege or property away from a person or persons may be found to be fraud.
BAD FAITH: Bad faith may be found in an instance of intent to deceive, in an act of dishonesty.
INCOMPETENCY: Incompetency may be found in a lack of ability, qualifications, fitness, or performance.
If a student files a grade grievance in accordance with the definitions and procedures described herein, and if, following the grievance procedures, it is found that the grade assigned has in fact been the result of “mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency,” then a new grade will be assigned, and that grade will become the final grade.
The student must observe the following procedures. The procedures must be completed by the end of the following semester (excluding Summer School) during which the cause for grievance occurred.
Please Note: A grade is not a disciplinary action but an evaluation of work, and is not subject to appeal except as provided in the grade grievance procedures outlined below:
LEVEL 1: The student meets with the instructor and the department chair. Prior to filing a formal written grievance, the student must attempt to solve the problem. When grades are available, the student must contact his or her instructor directly to discuss their differences not later than the fourth week of the following semester. At this stage most differences will be resolved. This contact should be conducted in the privacy of the instructor’s office whenever possible, and the pertinent issues should be well defined so that they may be discussed as objectively as possible.
If the problem cannot be resolved at this level, the student may, after informing the instructor that he or she plans to file a written grievance, progress to Level 2.
LEVEL 2: The student submits a written request for a meeting with the instructor’s dean to resolve the grievance. The written request must include, in detail, the student’s basis for initiating the grievance. The student shall initiate this request within five (5) days after meeting with the instructor and the department chair. The dean shall meet with the instructor, department chair and student within five (5) days of reception of the formal grievance accompanied by all supporting data supplied by the student in an attempt to resolve the issue at this level. Any such meeting regarding a grade grievance will be closed to all observers.
At this level, if the issue can be resolved to the satisfaction of the instructor and student, and the action to be taken is to change a grade due to a mistake, fraud, bad faith or incompetency, the incorrect grade shall be removed from the student’s record. Within two (2) school days, the decision and proposed action of the dean will be communicated in writing with copies to the student involved, the faculty member involved, the Vice President of Instruction or designee, and the Office of Admissions & Records.
If the problem cannot be resolved at this level, the student may, after informing the instructor and dean that he or she plans to file a written grievance, progress to Level 3.
LEVEL 3: The student submits a written request for a meeting with the Vice President of Instruction or designee to resolve the grievance. The written request must include, in detail, the student’s basis for initiating the grievance. The student shall initiate this request within five (5) days of receiving the decision and proposed action of the dean. The Vice President or designee shall meet with the instructor, department chair, dean, and student within five (5) days of reception of the formal grievance accompanied by all supporting data supplied by the student in an attempt to resolve the issue at this level. Any such meeting regarding a grade grievance will be closed to all observers.
At this level, if the issue cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the dean, department chair, instructor, and student, the Vice President assumes the responsibility for arriving at a decision regarding the validity of the grievance and appropriate action to be taken. If the action to be taken is to change a grade due to a mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency, the incorrect grade shall be removed from the student’s record. Within two (2) days, the decision and proposed action of the Vice President of Instruction or designee will be communicated in writing with copies to the student involved, the faculty member involved, the department chair involved, the dean involved, and the Admissions & Records Office. The Vice President of Instruction or designee’s decision completes and exhausts the Desert Community College District’s Grade Grievance Procedure.
The Superintendent/President or his or her designee may shorten or lengthen the times specified in these procedures. The intent, however, is to ensure that each and every step will take place as expeditiously as possible. Any changes to the time requirement will be made in writing. Failure of the student to adhere to the time requirements of the procedures will be considered a waiver of the right to proceed further in the grievance process.
Students earning 12 or more credit units in a semester with a grade point average of 3.50 or better are named to the "Dean's List" in recognition of their academic achievements.
Students earning 12 or more credit units in a semester with a grade point average between 3.00 and 3.49 are listed on the "Honor Roll."
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society
Phi Theta Kappa is an international honor society for two-year institutions, and the sister to the four-year institution’s Phi Beta Kappa. The goal of Phi Theta Kappa is to recognize individual talents, needs, and goals. Membership in this honor society is noted on the academic transcript.
Invitations to membership are awarded to those students who have completed a minimum of twelve (12) semester units that may be applied to an associate degree at College of the Desert with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. To sustain membership each student must maintain academic standards described in the Beta Rho Iota Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Chapter Constitution and Bylaws.
Students receiving associate degrees may graduate with honors as indicated below. All grades earned at all colleges attended will be included in the computation of the cumulative grade point average (GPA) for graduation honors. Academic Renewal will not be used to qualify for graduation honors. Designations will be made on diplomas of all recipients and recognized at Graduation for students who participate. Academic honors are awarded as follows:
|Highest Honors||3.90 - 4.00|
|Academic Distinction||3.50 - 3.74|
Probation, disqualification, and reinstatement policies and procedures are an important part of the Follow-Up component of the College’s Student Success & Support Program (SSSP) and are designed to assist students in making progress toward realistic academic, career, and personal goals.
ACADEMIC PROBATION occurs after a student has attempted at least twelve (12) units, as shown by the official academic record, and has earned a term grade point average (GPA) below 2.0 for all units graded according to the established College grading scale.
PROGRESS PROBATION occurs after a student has attempted at least twelve (12) units, as shown by the official academic record, and has earned a grade of “W,” “I”, "NC", and/or “NP” in fifty percent (50%) or more of all units attempted.
Students can be placed on both academic and progress probation simultaneously. A student will be subject to disqualification in the 3rd semester if the student remains on probation for three consecutive semesters.
Students transferring to College of the Desert from another college are subject to the same probation and dismissal policies as College of the Desert students.
Students on two consecutive terms of probation may lead to the loss of the California College Promise Grant. See Satisfactory Academic Progress, Financial Aid section.
Notification of Probation
The College shall make a reasonable effort to notify a student of their probationary status at or near the beginning of the semester in which the probation will take effect no later than the start of the fall semester. As a condition of continuing enrollment, a student placed on probation is required to receive counseling services, including the regulation and monitoring of his or her academic program. Each student shall also receive any other support services to help him or her overcome any academic difficulties. Prior to registration, a student on probation must have counselor approval of his or her educational program.
Removal from Probation
A student on academic probation shall be removed from probation when the student’s accumulated grade point average reaches 2.0 or higher.
A student on progress probation shall be removed from probation when the percent of units with an earned grade of “W,” “I”, "NC", and/or “NP” drops below fifty percent (50%).
Standards for Disqualification
A student on academic probation shall be subject to disqualification if in each of three consecutive semesters of enrollment the student’s cumulative and semester grade point averages are below 2.00 in all units attempted which were graded according to the established District grading scale, or a student's cumulative progress is below 50% completion, or any combination thereof.
Students on progress probation shall be subject to disqualification if progress probation has been earned for three (3) consecutive semesters of enrollment. Students subject to disqualification may also lead to the loss of the California College Promise Grant. See Satisfactory Academic Progress, Financial Aid section.
Notification of Disqualification
The College shall make a reasonable effort to notify a student, subject to disqualification, at or near the beginning of the semester in which the disqualification will take effect but no later than the start of the fall semester. A student subject to disqualification has the right of appeal. An exception to disqualification may be made in the event of extreme and unusual circumstances that can be supported by documented evidence provided by the student. Requests for appeal shall be submitted by completing a Petition for Exception to Policy. Disqualified students who register for classes without prior approval from the appropriate dean or their designee will be administratively dropped from classes.
A disqualified student applying for reinstatement shall not be reinstated until a minimum of one semester has elapsed since disqualification. A student applying for reinstatement must submit a Petition for Exception to Policy. The request shall explain what circumstances or conditions would justify reinstatement. A student who is reinstated shall receive individual counseling to assess his or her academic and career goals and may be required to participate in periodic monitoring of their academic progress and/or take an assigned student development course. Prior to registration, a reinstated student must have counselor approval of his or her educational program.
PLEASE NOTE: Students on probation for 2 semesters or disqualification will lose their priority registration status and will be moved to the open enrollment registration period.
A student who earns a grade of D, F, FW, NP, NC, or W [as defined in Title 5, sections 55023, 55030, and 58161(d)] for a course may repeat the course to alleviate the substandard grade.
Repeat Limitations for Substandard Grades
Enrollment in a single course may be limited to two enrollments where a grade of D, F, FW, NP, NC, or W has been earned. Students may be allowed one additional enrollment where specific circumstances exist and may submit a petition to repeat by completing the Petition for Exception to Policy and submitting it electronically via their MyCOD Student portal for consideration.
(Title 5, sections 55024, 55040, 55042, 58161, and 58161.5)
Annotation of Record/Course Repetition
A student’s permanent record (transcript) will be annotated in such a manner that all course work will remain legible ensuring a true and complete academic history. Transcripts will be annotated as follows:
- Courses with substandard grades may be repeated in order to raise the grade and grade points. The units attempted, grade, and grade points of the first attempt will be subtracted from the totals for that semester and will be listed on the record with an “R” which denotes repetition. In no case will duplicate units be allowed.
- For students attempting a course for the third time in which a substandard grade was received, the first attempt will be subtracted from the totals. Petitions must include documentation verifying the extenuating circumstance. All subsequent attempts will be averaged together and counted in the calculation of the grade point average. In no case will duplicate units be allowed.
Where a substandard grade is received in the second attempt and extenuating circumstances exist, a student may be allowed to repeat a course a third time, by submitting a Petition for Exception to Policy. The petition must be submitted electronically via their MyCOD Student portal by the printed deadline that may be found in the Schedule of Classes. Students are strongly encouraged to submit petitions one term prior to the scheduled enrollment.
Extenuating circumstances are defined as:
- Illness, hospitalization, or medical reasons
- Illness or death of a family member or loved one
Note: Academic records must demonstrate successful completion of recent courses or terms.
Grades of "C" or Better
Students are not eligible to repeat any other course for which they have been granted a grade of "C" or better except where special circumstances exist which justify repeating the course. Special circumstances include:
- The lapse of time - a significant number of years since the course was completed; and
- The College has properly established a recency prerequisite for a course or program pursuant to Title 5, section 55003, or
- The College or another institution of higher education to which the student seeks to transfer has established a recency requirement which the student will not be able to satisfy without repeating the course in question.
- Legally mandated training where a course may be repeated if “necessary to meet requirements as a condition of paid or volunteer employment” Title 5, section 55041(b). Students enrolling in courses under this provision shall provide documented proof by the employer that such training is necessary to complete legally mandated training for continued paid or volunteer employment.
Grades earned in such cases are not included in the student’s grade point average. The credit is not awarded. The courses, grades, and units will be listed on the student’s transcript.
Petition for Exception to Policy must be submitted electronically via the College's MyCOD Student Portal. It is the responsibility of the student petitioning to look up the deadline for submitting a petition and to provide documentation along with the petition. Students are strongly encouraged to submit petitions one term prior to the scheduled enrollment, well in advance of registration to allow time for the Appeals Review Committee to review.