Grading and Academic Record Symbols

(BP & AP 4230 - Grading & Academic Record Symbols)
References: Title 5, Sections 55020-55025; Ed Code 76224 

Courses shall be graded using the grading system established by Title 5. The grading system shall be published in the Southwestern College catalog and made available to students.

Degree Applicable, Non-Degree Applicable, Letter Grades, Pass/No Pass

All degree-applicable and non-degree applicable credit courses will be graded in accordance with the grading system outlined in this document.

Southwestern Community College District uses two types of grades:

  • Letter grading system that consists of the letters A, B, C, D, and F.
  • Pass/No Pass evaluation. In specific courses indicated in the Southwestern College Catalog, students may elect to be graded on a Pass/No Pass basis.

i) Units earned on a Pass/No Pass basis shall not be used to calculate grade averages. However, units attempted for which a No Pass grade is assigned shall be considered in probation and dismissal procedures.

ii) Students may elect during registration, or no later than the end of the first 20 percent of the term, whether the basis of evaluation is to be Pass/No Pass or a letter grade.

iii) Students transferring to a four-year institution should check with the transfer institution’s 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.

Letter Grading System

Southwestern College’s grading system shall be averaged on the basis of point equivalencies to determine a student’s grade point average (GPA) using the following evaluative symbols:

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)

When submitting a grade of “F” or “NP” for a student, the instructor is required to include the last day student attended the course. 

Noncredit Progress Indicators

Disciplines may determine if a noncredit course will use the following evaluative symbols:

Symbol Definition
P Pass (Satisfactory completion of a course)
SP Satisfactory Progress (Satisfactory progress toward completion of a course, but not yet completed. Recommend completing or repeating the course, as applicable.)
NP Not Passing (Less than satisfactory progress in the course with no measurable progress or progress is unknown)
NG Not Graded (Grade not assigned due to lack of information to evaluate)
W Withdrawal (Student withdrew from the course)

These symbols are not used in calculating units attempted or in determining grade point averages.

NON-EVALUATIVE SYMBOLS “I”, “IP”, “RD”, “W”, “EW”, and “MW”

These six symbols are not used in calculating units attempted or in determining grade points. They are authorized only under the conditions specified below. The “I” and the “IP” can only be assigned at the end of the semester. The “W”’ may only be assigned during the period of between 20 percent and 75 percent of a term. The “MW” and “EW” may be assigned at any point after 20 percent of the term has passed, including after the completion of the term and a grade has been assigned.

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

“I” – Incomplete

  1. Incomplete academic work for unforeseeable, emergency, and justifiable reasons at the end of the term.
  2. The instructor must assign a grade for the student on the online Grade Roster on WebAdvisor. The instructor must then complete and submit the Incomplete Grade Report form to the pertinent School/Center dean, listing the requirements the student must meet in order to have the “I” symbol removed as well as the criteria that will be used to determine a new final grade. The form must be signed by the student (if available) and instructor. If approved by the School/Center dean, the dean’s office will submit the Incomplete Grade Report form to Admissions and Records.
  3. Upon receipt of the completed Incomplete Grade Report form, Admissions and Records will promptly change the grade to an Incomplete (“I”) symbol.
  4. The final grade shall be issued when the stipulated work has been completed and evaluated, or when the one-year time limit for completing the work has passed. The instructor must complete and submit a Grade Change Form to Admissions to change the “I” symbol to an evaluative symbol (grade). Only a grade may be issued; the issuance of a “W” (withdrawal) symbol is not permitted. If a Grade Change Form is not submitted to Admissions or if the stipulated work has not been completed by the student within one year following the end of the term in which the “I” was assigned, the “I” symbol will automatically revert to the initial grade assigned previously by the instructor.
  5. The “I” may be made up no later than one year following the end of the term in which it was assigned. A student may petition for a time extension by submitting a petition to the instructor of record or by submitting a petition to the Office of Admissions and Records. The petition may be granted if, in the judgment of the instructor, there are extenuating circumstances of verified cases of an accident, illness, or other circumstances beyond the control of the student. If a student believes they have been subject to an unjust action or denial of rights during the conduct of this process, the student may file a grievance following the College District Policy & Procedure 5530 BP & AP - Student Rights and Grievances.

“IP” - In Progress

  1. The “IP” symbol is used only in those courses which extend beyond the normal end of an academic term, including self-paced (or “open-entry, open-exit”) courses. It indicates work is “in progress” but assignment of a final grade must await completion of the course.
  2. Instructors will enter the “IP” grade on the online grade roster. When the student has completed the course, the instructor will submit to Admissions an evaluative symbol (grade) on a Grade Change Form.
  3. The “IP” symbol will remain on the student’s permanent record in order to satisfy enrollment documentation.
  4. The appropriate grade and unit credit shall be assigned and appear on the student’s permanent record for the term in which the course was completed.
  5. If a student enrolled in a self-paced course is assigned an “IP” grade at the end of a term, the student must re-enroll in and complete that course in the following term. If the student fails to re-enroll in or complete the course in the subsequent term, the appropriate faculty will, in accordance with the evaluative symbol definitions provided above, assign a grade for the course that will be recorded on the student’s permanent record.

Report Delayed Grade (RD)

  1. The “RD” symbol is assigned only by Admissions and Records and only when there is a delay in reporting the grade of a student due to circumstances beyond the control of the student, typically when an instructor did not submit the final grade.
  2. The “RD” symbol is a temporary notation to be replaced by a permanent evaluative symbol (grade) as soon as the final grade is provided by the instructor.

W - Withdrawal

  1. The “W” symbol is used when a student withdraws or is withdrawn from a class during the period of between 20 percent and 75 percent of a term.
  2. Admissions and Records must inform pertinent faculty of such valid “W” symbols.
  3. Enrollment will not appear on the permanent record if a student withdraws or is dropped from a course during the first 20 percent of a term.
  4. The academic record of a student who remains in a course beyond 75 percent of a term must reflect a grade or symbol other than a “W.”
  5. A “W” symbol may be issued in extenuating circumstances (verified cases of accident, illnesses, or other circumstances beyond the control of the student) after 75 percent of a term upon petition of the student or their representative and after consultation with the appropriate faculty.
  6. While the “W” is not used in calculating grade point average, it will be used in determining academic and progress probation and dismissal from Southwestern College.
  7. Students may not withdraw and receive a “W” symbol more than three times for enrollment in the same course at Southwestern College. Students may submit a petition to the Office of Admissions and Records for one additional repetition pursuant to College District Policy & Procedure No. 4225 BP & AP - Course Repetition and Course Withdrawal.
  8. In cases of multiple withdrawals, Southwestern College will provide interventions as described in College District Policy & Procedure No. 4225 (BP /AP) - Course Repetition and Course Withdrawal.

MW - Military Withdrawal

  1. The “MW” symbol is used when a student who is a member of an active or reserve United States military service receives orders compelling a withdrawal from courses. Upon verification of such orders, the “MW” symbol may be assigned at any time after 20 percent of a term, including after the completion of the term and a grade has been assigned. The student or their representative may petition for an “MW” by submitting a petition to the Office of Admissions and Records.
  2. Students are eligible for a full refund of fees for all courses assigned the “MW” symbol.
  3. The “MW” symbol shall not be counted in determining academic or progress probation and dismissal from Southwestern College.
  4. The “MW” shall not be counted toward the maximum three times students may withdraw from the same course at Southwestern College. 

EW - Excused Withdrawal

  1. The “Excused Withdrawal” (EW) occurs when a student is permitted to withdraw from a course(s) due to specific events beyond the control of the student that affects their ability to complete a course(s) or making course completion impractical. In accordance with Title 5, section 55024(e), these may include, but are not limited to a job transfer outside the geographical region. Illness in the family where the student is the primary caregiver. An incarcerated in a California State Prison or County Jail is released from custody or involuntarily transferred before the end of the term (In the case of an incarcerated student, an excused withdrawal cannot be applied if the failure to complete the course(s) was the result of a student’s behavioral violation or if the student requested and was granted a mid semester transfer). The student is the subject of an immigration action. Death of an immediate family member. Chronic or acute illness. Verifiable accidents. Natural disasters directly affecting the student.
  2. In the case of an incarcerated student, an Excused Withdrawal cannot be applied if the failure to complete the course(s) was the result of a student's behavioral violation or if the student requested and was granted a mid-semester transfer. Upon verification of these conditions, and consistent with the district's required documentation substantiating the condition.
  3. The Office of Admissions and Records, in collaboration with the faculty, will assign an Excused Withdrawal symbol at any time after 20% of a term, including after the completion of the term and a grade has been assigned. The student or their representative may petition for an “EW” by submitting a petition to the Office of Admissions and Records.
  4. The withdrawal symbol assigned shall be an “EW” and the Office of Admissions and Records will enter the “EW” grade on the online grade roster after consultation with faculty.
  5. The “EW” will not be counted toward the permitted number of withdrawals or counted as an enrollment attempt, nor will it be counted in progress probation and dismissal calculations at Southwestern College.
  6. A community college district shall not refund any enrollment fee paid by a student for program changes made after the first two weeks of instruction for a primary term length course, or after the 10 percent point of the length of the course for a short term course, unless the program change is a result of action by the district to cancel or reschedule a class or to drop a student pursuant to subdivision (I) of section 55003 where the student fails to meet a prerequisite.
  7. An EW symbol may be requested by the student at any time during the semester and no later than the date when the district/college policy allows a grade change.

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 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