Grades and Scholarship

Units of Work and Credit

A unit of college credit normally represents one hour each week of lecture or three hours of laboratory, or similar scheduled activity, during one full semester.

Grades, Grade Point Average and Grading Symbols

The grade is the evaluative symbol awarded to the student and is determined by the instructor. In calculating the grade, the instructor has the option of using plus/minus grades indicated in the table below. The grading criteria (for example if the instructor will use the plus/minus grades or not) will be listed in the course syllabus.

The Grade Point Average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of units attempted. Grades earned in non-degree applicable courses are not counted in calculating a student's grade point average. Non-degree applicable courses are identified with a # next to the grade on the transcript.

Grade Definition Grade Points
A Excellent 4.0
A- Excellent 3.7
B+ Good 3.3
B Good 3.0
B- Good 2.7
C+ Satisfactory 2.3
C Satisfactory 2.0
D+  Passing, Less than Satisfactory 1.3 
Passing, Less than Satisfactory 1.0 
D-  Passing, Less than Satisfactory 0.7 
Failing 0
*EW Excused Withdrawal 0
*I  Incomplete
*CR  Credit - equivalent to C grade or higher
*P  Pass - equivalent to C grade or higher
*NC  No Credit
*NP  No Pass
*W  Withdrawal
*MW Military Withdrawal
*RD  Grade report delayed
*IP In Progress 0
*H No grade issued 0

*P/NP are used in courses in which grades of Pass or No Pass are given or the option is selected by the student. The units earned with a grade of Pass count as units completed. No Pass means the student is not charged with units attempted and is not credited with units completed. The P/NP grades are not used in the calculation of the GPA.

The determination of the student's grade by the instructor shall be final in the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency. Procedures for the correction of grades given in error shall include expunging the incorrect grade from the record.

The following non-evaluative symbols are used in the San Mateo Community College District:

EW - Excused Withdrawal

An “Excused Withdrawal” will be authorized when a student withdraws from a course(s) for reasons beyond their control. A student may request to use an “EW” for only one course or all courses in a term depending on the reason for the request. In accordance to Title 5, section 55024 (e), an EW symbol may be requested by the student any time during the semester and no later than one year following the end of the term in which the EW symbol is requested in accordance with the District grade change policy. Upon verification of the extenuating circumstance, a notation of “EW” will be placed on the student record. Excused Withdrawals are not counted in the probation or dismissal calculations. In addition, the “Excused Withdrawal” should not be counted towards the permitted number of withdrawals or counted as an enrollment attempt. An EW is acceptable when a student withdraws from a course(s) due to reasons beyond their control, which include but are not limited to, the following:

  • Job transfer outside the geographical region
  • Illness in the family where the student is the primary caregiver
  • An incarcerated student 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 disaster directly affecting the student

The financial aid eligibility of a student may be affected depending on individual circumstance. A student should consult with the financial aid staff regarding any impact.

I - Incomplete

This symbol is used in case of incomplete academic work for unforeseeable, emergency and justifiable reasons. Conditions for removal are set forth by the instructor in a written record which also indicates the grade to be assigned in the event that the student fails to meet the stated conditions. The student will receive a copy of this record, and a copy will be filed by the Dean of Enrollment Services. A final grade will be assigned by the instructor when the stipulated work has been completed and evaluated. In the event that the work is not completed within the prescribed time period, the grade previously determined by the instructor will be entered in the permanent record by the Dean of Enrollment Services.

An Incomplete must be made up no later than one year following the end of the term in which it was assigned. Established College procedures may be utilized to request a time extension in cases involving unusual circumstances. The I shall not be used in the computation of grade point average.

MW - Military Withdrawal

Military withdrawal may be requested 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, a military withdrawal symbol (MW) will be assigned for each course if the withdrawal occurs after the period during which no notation is made for withdrawals on the student’s record. Military withdrawals are not counted in progress probation and dismissal calculations. Students granted military withdrawal may request refund of the enrollment fee. The entire enrollment fee will be refunded unless academic credit has been awarded.

RD - Report Delayed

This symbol is used only by the Dean of Enrollment Services for the purpose of indicating that there has been a delay in reporting the grade due to circumstances beyond the student’s control. It is replaced by a permanent symbol as soon as possible.

The RD is not used in the computation of grade point average.

W - Withdrawal

See Index: “Withdrawal from Classes”

Pass/ No Pass Option

Updated Title 5 regulations eliminate the Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) option and replace it with Pass/No Pass (P/NP). The new designators, P/NP, are weighed in the same manner as the former CR/NC designators. Students electing to use the PASS/NO PASS option for a course should use the student WebSMART account to make this designation. After students have registered for a class, on WebSMART find "grade mode." "Grade mode" allows students to select either a letter grade or pass/no pass grading option if the option exists. (Not all courses offer the P/NP option.)

Students may also submit the appropriate form to the Office of Admissions and Records within the first 20% of the term. See current Schedule of Classes for deadlines. Changes will not be permitted after this time.

Each division of the College may designate courses in which a student may elect to receive a letter grade or be graded on a Pass/No Pass basis.

Grade option courses allow students to explore various fields of study and to broaden their knowledge, particularly outside their major field, without jeopardizing their grade point average. Courses in which such option exists will be so designated by the Division Dean in consultation with appropriate members of the division faculty.

All courses applied to the major or a certificate should be completed with a letter grade if the letter grade option exists. The utilization of courses graded on a P/NP basis to satisfy major or certificate requirements must be approved by the Division Dean. A maximum of 12 units toward an Associate degree or 6 units toward a certificate may be applied from courses in which the student has elected a Pass/No Pass option. Additionally, each division of the College may determine certain courses in which all students are evaluated on a Pass/No Pass basis only. These courses will be so identified in the class schedule and are exempt from the above 12/6 unit limitation.

For university transfer all major preparation courses should be completed with a letter grade. Four-year colleges and universities vary widely in the number of units of Pass/No Pass courses they accept. Students should consult the catalog of the college to which they may transfer for its regulations in this regard.

Final Examinations

Final examinations are required and will be given in accordance with the final examination schedule. The final examination schedule is available online on the Final Exams website so that students may plan their programs to avoid conflicts or an excessive load.

Grade Reports

A student is held responsible for his/her own academic progress. Final grades are not mailed to students. Dates of grade availability for specific semesters are published on the Important Dates webpage. Final grades are available to students via WebSMART on the dates as published.

Change of Grade

After a grade has been issued, only the instructor has the authority to change the grade per California Education Code Section 76224. A student wishing to have a posted grade changed must submit appropriate documentation to the instructor who issued the grade. The instructor must deliver the grade change to Admissions and Records. There is a deadline of one year from the date that the grade is posted to initiate a grade change.

Responsibility for monitoring personal academic records rests with the student.