Academic Standards Policy

The Academic Standards Policy of College of San Mateo and the San Mateo County Community College District is based on a cumulative grade point average of C (2.0), the minimum standard required for graduation or transfer. A grade point average of less than 2.0 is considered deficient.

Grade point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of GPA units.

Academic standing, including determination of probation or dismissal status, is based upon all course work completed at Cañada College, College of San Mateo, and/or Skyline College.

Probation

A student is placed on academic probation under the following criteria:

  1. Academic Probation based on grade point average: A student who has attempted at least 12 semester units, as shown by official records, is placed on academic probation if the student has earned a cumulative grade point average below 2.0.
  2. Academic probation based on failure to maintain satisfactory progress: A student who has enrolled in a total of at least 12 semester units, as shown by official records, is placed on academic probation when the percentage of all units in which a student has enrolled for which entries of W, I and NP/NC are recorded reaches or exceeds 50 percent. (See Calendar of Important Dates for withdrawal.)

The two probation criteria described above are applied in such a manner that a student may be placed on probation under either or both systems and subsequently may be dismissed under either or both systems.

Removal From Probation

A student on academic probation on the basis of grade point average is removed from probation when his/her cumulative grade point average is 2.0 or higher.

A student on academic probation on the basis of failure to maintain satisfactory progress is removed from probation when the percentage of units in this category exceeds 50 percent.

Dismissal

A student on probation is subject to dismissal if in any two subsequent semesters either or both of the following criteria are applicable:

  1. The student’s cumulative grade point average is less than 1.75 in all units attempted.
  2. The cumulative total of units in which the student has been enrolled for which entries of W, I and NP/NC have been recorded reaches or exceeds 50 percent. (See “Withdrawal”)

Normally, a dismissed student must remain out of day and evening classes for one semester before petitioning for reinstatement.

To be considered for reinstatement, a dismissed student must attend a Reinstatement Workshop and complete a Reinstatement Petition with the assistance of a college counselor. The completed petition is to be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Counseling for review. Once Reinstatement petitions are reviewed, students are notified by email of their reinstatement status.

Academic Renewal Policy

Previously recorded substandard academic performance (grade of “D+”, “D”, “D-”, “F”, or “NP”) may be disregarded if it is not reflective of a student’s demonstrated ability.

  • A student may file a petition with the Office of Admissions and Records seeking grade alleviation of substandard work.
    • A maximum of 36 units of course work with substandard academic performance may be alleviated.
    • A period of at least one year must have elapsed since the course work to be alleviated was completed.
    • To be eligible to apply for academic renewal a student must have completed 9 units of course work with a 3.5 cumulative grade point average, or 15 units with a 3.0 cumulative grade point average, or 21 units with a 2.5 cumulative grade point average, or 24 units with a 2.0 cumulative grade point average since the course work to be alleviated was completed.
    • Substandard course work to be alleviated must have been completed at Canada College, College of San Mateo, or Skyline College. However, the course work upon which the application for alleviation is based may be completed at a regionally accredited college or university that is accepted by SMCCCD.
    • The academic renewal policy may be applied when alleviation of prior course work is necessary to qualify a student for financial aid or admission to a program or transfer to another institution or for completion of a certificate or degree program.
    • To request Academic Renewal, a student must file a formal petition to the Office of Admissions and Records.
    • Courses alleviated still reflect a course attempt for the purposes of the repeat policy.

When academic course work is alleviated from the computation of the grade point average, the student’s permanent academic record shall be properly annotated in a manner to ensure that all entries are legible, providing a true and complete academic history.

Attendance Regulations

Students are required to attend the first class meeting of each class in which they register. If they cannot attend, they should notify the instructor in advance. Without prior notification, they may be dropped by the instructor and a waiting student admitted in their place.

Regular attendance in class and laboratory sessions is an obligation assumed by every student at the time of registration. When repeated absences place a student’s success in jeopardy, the instructor may drop the student from class.

In all cases it is the instructor’s prerogative to determine when absences are excessive. An instructor has the right to drop a student from class when such absences jeopardize the student’s opportunity to successfully complete the class work or to benefit from the instruction. Absence means non-attendance and includes non-attendance for illness or personal emergency.

Absences due to a student’s participation in a school-sponsored activity are to be considered as excused absences, but it is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor in advance of the absence, and the student is responsible for all work missed. It is noted again that it is the instructor’s prerogative to determine when such absences are excessive.

Extended Absence

Students who will be absent from any class or classes for one week or longer for any health reason should request notification to instructors by the Health Center (574-6396).

Students who will be absent from any class or classes for one week or longer for other personal emergencies should request notification to instructors by the Dean of Counseling, Advising and Matriculation (see Index: “Attendance Regulations”).

If a medical or personal emergency requires absence of more than one week, the student should consult with his/her instructors and counselor/advisor regarding the advisability of continuing in classes.

Open Enrollment

Every course offered at College of San Mateo (unless specifically exempted by legal statute) is open for enrollment and participation by any person who has been admitted to the College and who meets the prerequisites of the course provided that space is available.

Enrollment Limitations:
Multiple and Overlapping Enrollments

  • A college district may not allow a student to enroll in two or more sections of the same credit course during the same term.
  • A college district may not allow a student to enroll in two courses that overlap unless the following requirements are met.
    1. The student must provide sound justification other than mere convenience,
    2. An appropriate district official must review justification and enrollment for approval,
    3. The college must collect documentation that shows how the student made of the hours of overlap under the supervision of the instructor of the course.

Enrollment Limitations:
Limit of Withdrawals 

  • Students are limited to receiving no more than three “W”s from the same credit course.
  • A “W” shall not be assigned or may be removed if the student withdrew due to discriminatory treatment or retaliation for alleging discriminatory treatment.

Sequential Courses

A student may not enroll in or receive credit for a course that is lower in a sequence of courses after successful completion of a course that is higher or more advanced. As an example, after successful completion of Spanish 120, a student cannot enroll in a lower course (i.e., Spanish 110) in the sequence. Also, a student may not enroll in or receive credit for a course taken after successful completion of an equivalent course— e.g. French 111 cannot be taken after successful completion of French 110.

Credit by Examination

External Examinations: Advanced Placement test (AP), International Baccalaureate Examination (IB) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The chart on pages 46–50 shows how College of San Mateo award credits based on the results of the Advanced Placement tests, the International Baccalaureate Examinations, and College Level Examination Program (CLEP). The student is responsible for sending official AP, IB or CLEP results to College of San Mateo Admissions and Records Office.

Credit by Examination for College of San Mateo Courses (CBE)

A currently enrolled student in good standing may be permitted to obtain credit for courses if he/she is especially qualified through previous training or instruction and can demonstrate such qualifications by successfully completing an examination approved by the faculty and dean of the appropriate division. College of San Mateo faculty determine which courses are eligible for CBE and if an examination can be provided. They determine if an examination can adequately measure mastery of the course content as set forth in the course outline of record. Credit may be awarded for prior experience or prior learning only in terms of individually identified courses for which faculty approve credit by exam. A student may challenge a course for credit by examination only one time. The student’s academic record shall be clearly annotated to reflect that credit was earned by examination. Grading shall be according to the regular grading system. Students shall be offered a “pass/no pass” option if that option is ordinarily available for the course. A maximum of 12 units toward the Associate degree or 6 units toward the certificate may be earned by courses for which credit has been earned by examination. Units for which credit is given shall not be counted in determining the 12 semester units in residence required for the associate degree.

Academic review Committee

The Academic Review Committee considers requests for waivers and/or exceptions with respect to academic policies. Inquiries should be directed to the Office of Admissions and Records.

Course Repetition Regulations

Course Repetition Definition

A “course repetition” occurs when a student attempts a course and receives an evaluative or non-evaluative symbol for the course (i.e. A, A-,B+, B, B-, C+, C, D+, D, D-, F, W, P/NP, CR/ NC, RD, I) and wishes to enroll again in the same course. Course repetition includes the following components. (Title 5 Section 55040)

Course Repetition To Alleviate Substandard Work

A student who has earned a substandard grade (D+, D, D-, F, NP, NC) may repeat the course to improve the grade. A student may attempt a course a maximum of three times. All course attempts in a student’s academic history count toward this enrollment limitation. The first or first and second substandard grades and units are excluded in computing the student’s GPA and the grade and units of the final attempt are included in the student’s GPA. (Title 5 Section 55042)

Course Repetition as a Result of a Withdrawal

A “W” counts as a course attempt. A student may attempt a course a maximum of three times. All course attempts in a student’s academic history count toward this enrollment limitation. (A student, with a combination of substandard grades and W’s, cannot attempt a course more than three times.)

A Student Earning A Satisfactory Grade May Not Enroll In The Same Course Again Unless One Of The Following Five Exceptions Applies

  • Significant Lapse of Time - A student may enroll for one additional attempt if he/she successfully completed the course and a significant lapse of time of more than 36 months has occurred since the student was awarded a grade in the course and the district has established a recency prerequisite for the course or an institution of higher education to which the student seeks to transfer has established a recency requirement that applies to the course. (Example: Biology 250 was completed with a grade of C in Fall 2011. The student is preparing to apply to a nursing program that requires Biology 250 to be completed within the last three years. The student is eligible to repeat the course in Spring 2015 with documentation of the recency requirement.) The grade and units from the first course completion will be disregarded in computing the GPA. (Title 5 Section 55043)
  • Variable Unit Courses - A student may enroll in a variable unit course as many times as necessary to complete one time the entire curriculum and unit value of the course. However, a student may not repeat any portion of a variable unit course that has already be completed and evaluated. (Title 5 Section 55044)
  • Extenuating Circumstances - A student may enroll for one additional attempt only if documentable extenuating circumstances exist that match the dates of the course for the previous enrollment. Examples of extenuating circumstances are natural disaster, accident, illness, or other extraordinary documentable experience beyond the student’s control. (Title 5 Section 55045)
  • Students with Disabilities Repeating a Special Class - A student with a verifiable disability may repeat a special class for students with disabilities any number of times based on achieving progress in the class and an individualized determination that such repetition is required as a disability-related accommodation for that student. (Title 5 Section 55040)
  • Legally Mandated Course - A student may repeat a course determined to be legally mandated and required by statute or regulation as a condition of paid or volunteer employment or licensure. A student must provide evidence and documentation that the course is legally mandated or that licensure standards require course repetition. Such courses may be repeated for credit any number of times. (Title 5 Section 55000)

Courses Related in Content

Course Attempts within Subject Families (Studio Art, Music, Dance, Kinesiology/Physical Education) - District policy limits enrollment of students in courses that are active participatory courses in physical education/kinesiology, and visual or performing arts. In this regard, the colleges have established “families” of similar educational activities. Kinesiology activity courses and some visual and performing arts have established “families” and are subject to enrollment limitations. A course cannot be repeated, but a student may attempt up to 4 courses in a subject “family.” Some subject families offer more than 4 courses but a student may enroll in a maximum of four courses within a family. All course attempts in a student’s academic history count toward this enrollment limitation within a “family” of courses. The limitation applies even if the student receives a substandard grade or a “W.” Enrollment limitations are monitored district wide for a subject “family.” Continuing students who have previously taken a course within a family must progress to the next level. (Title 5 Section 55040)

Limitations on Enrollment Attempts in Physical Education/Kinesiology, Dance, and Visual and Performing Arts Courses

District policy limits enrollment of students in courses that are active participatory courses in physical education/kinesiology, and visual or performing arts. (Title 5 Section 55040)

The majority of these types of courses offered by the San Mateo County Community College District are now leveled to show progression from the most fundamental (level 1) to the most advanced (level 4). Course levels can be identified by a .1, .2, .3, or .4 system or by the course title. Because the course levels are typically scheduled simultaneously, students are advised to enroll initially at the fundamental level (.1) regardless of previous experience and be placed at the appropriate level based on instructor assessment. Adapted Physical Education and intercollegiate sports related courses are not affected by the repeatability legislation.

Students are limited to a maximum of four course attempts per family. A course attempt means enrollment that results in any evaluative or non-evaluative symbol (any letter grade, P/NP, CR/NC, or W). See course families listed below. If there is more than one course in a particular family, a student may only enroll in a maximum of four total courses within that family. After four courses within a family have been attempted, a student has the option to audit should they wish to continue enrolling in courses within that family. Accepting course audits us up to the faculty member teaching the course. Also, units and subject credit for courses that are audited do not count toward GPA or degree or certificate completion. For information about how to audit, students should refer to the audit policy in the catalog and find the Audit Form on the Forms webpage.

A course previously attempted by a student, prior to course leveling within the identified family, counts as a course attempt and limits future enrollments of courses within that family to a maximum of four combined. Below is a matrix which identifies the previous courses and the equivalent with levels. This limitation on enrollment applies to all coursework attempted by the student.

Repeatable Courses - Three Types of Courses May be Designated as Repeatable

These courses are identified as repeatable in the college catalog. (Title 5 Section 55041)

  • Intercollegiate Athletics - Courses in which student athletes enroll to participate in an organized sport sponsored by the district or a conditioning course which supports the organized competitive sport may be designated as repeatable. (Title 5 Section 55040/55041)
  • Intercollegiate Academic or Vocational Competition - Courses that are specifically for participation in non-athletic competitive events between students from different colleges may be designated as repeatable. The course must be tied to the student’s participation in the competition. The event must be sanctioned by a formal collegiate or industry governing body. 
  • Required by CSU or UC For Completion of a Bachelor’s Degree - Repetition of the course is required by CSU or UC for completion of the bachelor’s degree. Courses are limited to four attempts and this enrollment limitation applies even if the student receives a substandard grade or a “W.” (Title 5 Section 55041)

Audit Policy

Because of restrictions in course repeatability, review the Audit Policy page.