GRADING POLICY AND SYSTEMS
Policies concerning evaluation of student work ("grading") are under continuous review
and subject to change. Department chairs are responsible for informing department
members of basic faculty grading policy and procedures and for ensuring adherence to
these policies and procedures.
It is the responsibility of the instructor to describe to each class the methods of
evaluation. Students should feel free to ask for an explanation of the grading practices in
Additional definitions which are applicable to special circumstances for graduate
programs can be found in the Graduate Section.
The following symbols shall be used in evaluating student performance. Performance will
be interpreted to reflect the quality of the student's accomplishment relative to the
standards set for each course.
- A=Performance of the student has been of the highest level,
- showing sustained excellence in meeting course responsibilities.
- B=Performance of the student has been good, though not of the
- highest level.
- C=Performance of the student has been adequate, satisfactorily
- meeting the course requirements.
- D=Performance of the student has been less than adequate.
- F=Performance of the student has been such that course
- requirements have not been met.
- CR= (Credit) Performance of the student in undergraduate level
- course has been equivalent to grades A through C–; performance
of the student in graduate level courses has been equivalent to
grades A through B–.
- NC= (No Credit) Performance of the student has been less than
- that of CR level.
- I= (Incomplete) Performance of the student has been incomplete
- due to circumstances beyond his/her control. Passing work was
being accomplished at the time the incomplete was issued, and there
is a possibility of earning credit if the course requirements are completed
within the time allowed.
- W= (Withdrawal) Indicates that the student was permitted to drop the
- course after the 20th day (4th week) of instruction with the approval
of the instructor and appropriate campus officials. It carries no connotation
of quality of student performance and is not used as units attempted in
calculating grade point average.
- AU= (Audit) Indicates that the student was enrolled on a non-credit basis.
- Enrollment as an auditor is subject to the permission of the instructor and
shall be permitted only after students otherwise eligible to enroll in the course on
a credit basis have had an opportunity to do so. Auditors are subject to the same
fee structure as credit students and regular class attendance is expected. Once
enrolled as an auditor, a student may not change to credit status unless such a
change is requested prior to the last day to add classes.
- SP= (Satisfactory Progress) Performance of the student in a course which normally
- extends beyond one term has been evaluated and found to be satisfactory, but the
assignments for the subsequent term(s) must be completed before a final grade can be
- U= (Unauthorized Incomplete) The symbol "U" indicates that an enrolled student did not
- withdraw from the course and failed to complete course requirements. It is used when, in
the opinion of the instructor, completed assignments or course activities or both were
insufficient to make normal evaluation of academic performance possible. For purposes
of grade point average this symbol is equivalent to an "F."
- RD= (Report Delayed) Indicates no grade was turned in by the professor.
The basic grading system to be used at San Francisco State University is the A-F system
(see definitions above).
An alternative Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) system may be used under the following
- A list of courses in which CR/NC grading is mandatory is maintained in each
- In courses where the CR/NC option is permitted, but not mandatory, students must notify
the instructor in writing, by the end of the sixth week of instruction, of their decision to be
evaluated on the CR/NC basis. No change in this decision is permitted after the sixth
week of instruction.
- No more than 30% of the units earned at this university, and applied toward an
undergraduate degree, may be taken for CR grades.
- For students working toward a master's degree, no more than 30% of the units used on
the Graduate Approved Program, including transfer work, may be taken for CR grades.
All students in a given class, whether being evaluated on the A-F or CR/NC basis, are to
be treated in the same manner with respect to assignments, methods of evaluation, and
standards of performance. The only difference is in the symbol entered on the student's
official grade record.
- Students who select CR/NC grading should be informed that CR grades may be
interpreted as a C and NC grades may be changed to an F when considered by other
Use of Incomplete (I) Grade
An incomplete signifies that a portion of required course work has not been completed
and evaluated in the prescribed time period due to unforeseen, but fully justified, reasons
and that there is still a possibility of earning credit. A request for a grade of Incomplete
may be initiated by either the student or the instructor. It is the responsibility of the
student to bring pertinent information to the instructor and to reach agreement on the
means by which the final grade is assigned when the work agreed upon has been
completed and evaluated. An incomplete must be made up within one calendar year
immediately following the end of the term in which it was assigned. This limitation prevails
whether or not the student maintains continuous enrollment. Failure to complete the
assigned work will result in an incomplete being counted as equivalent to an F for grade
point average. If a student has extenuating circumstances and an extension of this one
year is necessary, the student should contact the instructor involved and obtain a
designated extension of time to make up the incomplete. The form to be used for this
extension is the Petition for Waiver of College Regulations. The petition must be approved
by the instructor and the department chair and forwarded to the Registrar's Office.
A grade of Incomplete (I) will not be changed after a degree or credential has been
awarded even though it is made up within the time period.
Use of Satisfactory Progress (SP) Grade
The SP symbol is used in connection with courses that extend beyond one academic
term. It indicates that work is in progress and has been evaluated and found to be
satisfactory to date, but that assignment of a precise grade must await completion of
additional work. Cumulative enrollment in units attempted may not exceed the total
number applicable to the student's educational objective. Work is to be completed
within a stipulated time period. Any extension of time limit must receive prior
authorization by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies (for undergraduate courses) or by
the Dean of the Graduate Division (for graduate courses).
Use of Unauthorized Incomplete (U) Grade
The symbol "U" shall be used where a student, who is enrolled on the Census Date (the
20th day of instruction), does not withdraw from a course but fails to complete it. Its most
common use is in those instances where a student has not completed sufficient course
assignments or participated in sufficient course activity to make it possible, in the opinion
of the instructor, to report satisfactory or unsatisfactory completion of the class by use of
the letter grade (A-F). The symbol "U" denotes failure of the course, shall be identified as a
failing grade in the transcript legend, and shall be counted as units attempted but not
passed in computing the grade point average. In courses which are graded Credit/No
Credit or in cases where the student has elected Credit/No Credit evaluation, use of the
symbol "U" is inappropriate and "NC" shall be used instead.
GRADE POINT AVERAGE
Grade point averages are determined by dividing the total number of grade points
earned by the total number of units attempted in courses in which A-F or U grades are
The following grade points are assigned per unit of course work:
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
F = 0.0
No other grading symbol, including F, I, AU, U, SP, RD, CR, NC, carries grade point credit.
DEFINITION OF SEMESTER UNIT
One Semester Unit
Summer session and extension units are evaluated on a basis of hours to units equal to
those above, but adapted to the special schedules of these programs.
- One class meeting per week for fifteen (15) weeks. (At least two
- hours of study is expected in preparation for each hour of class.) or
- Three hours of laboratory work per week for fifteen (15) weeks, or
- Two hours of class work in activity-type courses in art, music, and
- speech per week for fifteen (15) weeks. (At least one hour of
outside preparation is expected for each hour of laboratory or
activity class work.)
DEFINITION OF CONTINUING EDUCATION UNIT (CEU)
CEUs are nationally recognized units of measurement for participation in professional
development programs for which academic credit is not awarded. CEUs may neither be
applied to nor substituted for graduation requirements. One CEU is earned for 10 hours of
instruction. San Francisco State University policy requires an evaluation of student
learning for all courses which award CEUs.
- Letter grades are not convertible to other letter grades and NC grades are not
convertible to CR grades except in cases of real error. All grade changes are by
petitions, with a recommendation of a grade change by the instructor and the approval
of the department chair and/or college dean.
- Except in cases of real error, CR/NC grades are not convertible to letter grades or vice
versa. All grade change requests involving the CR/NC option are by petition, with a
recommendation by the instructor and the approval of the department chair and/or
college dean. Requests for reasons other than clerical error are subject to review by the
Board of Appeals and Review.
- A student wishing to request a retroactive grade change, withdrawal, or addition must
initiate the request during the semester in attendance immediately following the
semester when the original grade was assigned or the course in question was offered.
- Retroactive change of grades and withdrawals are subject to review by the Board of
Appeals and Review.
- Grade changes are not permitted after the award of a degree or credential, unless the
change is for a course not used for the degree (in the case of a graduate student
continuing after the award of a degree or readmitted second baccalaureate student)
or in the case of a formal school grade appeal process when the request has been
initiated by the student in the semester immediately following the award of the grade.
- Request for W is not a grade change, rather it is a request for retroactive withdrawal.
Student Appeal for Grade Change
San Francisco State University policy, consistent with California State University policy,
guarantees the student a right to appeal a final course grade when the student believes
that the assigned grade does not reflect what the student has earned according to the
criteria for grading as outlined by the instructor of the course. S.F.S.U. policy states that:
(1) It is the responsibility of the instructor of each course to define his/her grading policy
and criteria as early in the semester and as explicitly as possible while conforming to
accepted university practices. If there is any deviation from this original statement of
course policy, all affected students should be informed. (2) It shall be assumed that the
grade assigned is correct and that the student appealing the grade must justify the need
for a change of the grade assigned. (3) Normally, grade appeals should be resolved
informally between the student and faculty involved. (4) A student who believes s/he
has been assigned an improper grade should meet with the instructor of record and
together review the grading procedures used to determine the grade assigned on the
student's transcript. If, after careful review of the grading procedures, the student is still
dissatisfied, or if the instructor of record refuses to take part in the informal process, the
student may initiate the formal grade appeal procedure of the particular SFSU college
by which the course is offered. For information about the specific grade appeal policies
and procedures of each of the eight colleges, contact the appropriate college dean's
REPEAT OF COURSES
Unless otherwise stated, courses may not be repeated for additional units of credit.
When undergraduate students must repeat a course in which the grade was F, they will
earn units completed only once. All units attempted and all grade points will be included
in the student's cumulative totals.
When undergraduate students choose to repeat a course in which the grade was
passing, in order to raise the grade, they will be charged for all units attempted and all
grade points earned but units completed will be granted only once.
A student in graduate standing may not repeat a course taken for credit since earning
the baccalaureate degree, in which a grade of C or better was earned on the first
attempt. Grades of C– or lower are not acceptable on a Graduate Approved Program
for meeting the requirements of a master's degree.
If graduate students repeat a course in which a C or lower grade was earned, they will
be charged for all units attempted and all grade points earned but units completed will
be granted only once.
It is not possible for graduate students to raise their undergraduate grade point average
by repeating undergraduate courses.