Grading and Academic Record Symbols

(BP & AP 4230 - Grading & Academic Record Symbols)

The grade assigned to each student in a course directly reflects the student’s achievement of a specific set of objectives. A student entering a course assumes the responsibility to master the objectives of the course to the best of his/her ability. The final grade is a reflection of how well the student has mastered the course objectives.

Grades are assigned in each course, recorded on the student’s permanent record, and affect the student’s future; therefore, it is important that careful consideration be given to the grades assigned by the instructors.

The two types of grading systems used at Southwestern College are the grading scale and the Pass/No Pass evaluation. The grading scale consists of the letters A, B, C, D, and F. In specific courses indicated in the college catalog, students may elect to be graded on a Pass/No Pass basis. A student transferring to a four-year institution should check its policy on acceptance of Pass/No Pass grades.

Grade Point Average

The overall level of academic success is measured in terms of a student’s grade point average (GPA). To determine the student’s GPA, the total number of grade points accumulated is divided by the total number of units attempted.

The grade point average is used in determining eligibility for academic achievement such as the President’s and Vice President’s lists, academic probation and disqualification, eligibility for an associate degree, certificate of completion, graduation with honors, and some scholarships. Students are encouraged to consistently monitor their grade point standing.

Academic Record Symbols

Grades are earned for each course in which a student is officially enrolled and are recorded on the student’s permanent record at the end of each fall and spring semester or summer session (BP & AP 4230 - Grading & Academic Record Symbols).

Academic achievement is reported in terms of grade point average. Grades and grade point averages should be interpreted as follows:

Symbol Definition Grade Point
A Excellent 4
B Good 3
C Satisfactory 2
D Less than satisfactory 1
F Failing 0

In addition, Southwestern College uses other evaluative symbols in which units are not counted in GPA calculations. These symbols are as follows:

Symbol Definition
P Passing (At least satisfactory)
NP No Pass (Less than satisfactory)

Pass/No Pass grades are used in two ways:

  • Some courses are offered on a Pass/No Pass grading basis only.
  • Other courses have a Pass/No Pass grading option available.

Courses which only Pass/No Pass grades are available are identified in this catalog by the statement: Pass/No Pass only. Courses where Pass/No Pass grades are used, credit is assigned for student achievement at the “C” grade level or above.

Students may take courses during a semester, fast track, or summer session on a Pass/No Pass basis whenever that option is offered. Students who desire to be evaluated on this basis must request this option during the first 30 percent (end of the fourth week) of the semester, or the first week of a short session or summer session. Pass/No Pass petitions are available in Admissions at the Chula Vista campus, Higher Education Centers at National City, Otay Mesa, or San Ysidro, or online at (click on Admissions then on Printable Forms).

An evaluation on a Pass/No Pass basis may not be changed later to a letter grade. Pass/No Pass grades cannot be used for removal of an unsatisfactory grade (D or F). When submitting a grade of “F” or “NP” for a student, the instructor is required to include the last day student attended the course.

All units earned on a Pass/No Pass basis in California institutions of higher education or equivalent out-of-state institutions shall be counted in satisfaction of college curriculum requirements. However, such courses shall be disregarded in determining a student’s grade point average for all purposes for which a grade point average is required. Units attempted for which “NP” is recorded shall be considered in probation and dismissal procedures.

NOTE: A student interested in transferring to a four-year institution should check the institution’s policy on acceptance of Pass/No Pass grades.


Symbol Definition
I Incomplete
IP In Progress
W Withdrawal
EW Excused Withdrawal
MW Military Withdrawal
RD Report Delayed

Report Delayed Grade (RD)

The report delayed “RD” is a temporary notation on the transcript in those circumstances when an instructor does not assign a grade. The “RD” is removed when the grade is reported.

Grades: Final Examination

Final examinations are held in all subjects according to schedule. No examination exceeds two hours in length. No student will be excused from the final examination. Should circumstances develop requiring a special examination at a time other than that scheduled, special authorization must be secured from the instructor and School Dean. (BP & AP 4635 - Final Exam Week).

Grades: President’s and Vice President’s Lists

Each semester Southwestern College recognizes outstanding academic achievement of students who have completed at least 12 or more units with grades demonstrating an excellent scholastic record (Pass/No Pass courses are not included). The grade point average (GPA) required for academic recognition is defined as follows (BP 6069):

List GPA
President's List 4.0 GPA
Vice President's List 3.50 to 3.99 GPA