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Author Topic: University/College grades  (Read 545 times)

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Wintergreen

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University/College grades
« on: August 21, 2015, 04:22:54 AM »
I was wondering (again) a random thing, after encounterin in other place questions and comments about failed classes in transcript from university (which seems to be university in USA). Does the transcript really show failed classes? Can someone graduate with failed classes?

I'm asking, because here, transcripts don't show failed classes and it seems weird to me, so I wonder, if I understand correctly what is going on. Here, if the class was mandatory for your basic courses, minors or majors, you have to take it again untill you pass it. If you don't pass it, you can't graduate (except in very specific cases, but those are always kind of unique situations). If the course was something you took voluntarily because you were interested, well, in anyway you can decide what voluntary courses go to your degree when you officially graduate, assuming you have exceeded the mandatory amount of credit points required. And even during studies, transcripts won't show the failed courses. Student clearly did not learn the material, so it's as if s/he did not take the course at all.

ladyknight1

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2015, 07:37:57 AM »
In general, in the US, at least for regionally accredited universities and colleges, all attempts at a course show on the official transcript. The student can request grade forgiveness in some cases, where the old D or F grade is replaced by the new grade, but both still show, they just have an I or E (T or R) next to them to denote grade forgiveness.

Another option for someone out of school for a while is academic amnesty, where the institution will nullify two terms of coursework, everything good or bad, the student has to attend as non-degree seeking for two terms in order to be reinstated as degree seeking. This varies by institution.

In undergraduate work, out of a minimum 120 hours of coursework, having an F or two doesn't keep someone from earning their degree. They would likely be put on academic probation if they have their GPA dip too low or under probation by their college if they fail a mandatory class.

Graduate coursework is much different. You generally will be kicked out of the program for two C grades in a Masters or Doctorate level program and anything below a C is a cause for dismissal from the program.

I do transfer summary course entry at my institution and see a lot of variation when it comes to D and F grades. In fact, another university in my state doesn't use Fs at all, they use Es. We also make Incomplete grades Fs for transfer work.

camlan

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2015, 07:55:22 AM »
What ladyknight1 said.

If a student fails a course and the course is a required course, they have to repeat the class until they pass. Sometimes, depending on the requirements of their college/major, they can take a similar course that also meets the requirements instead.

Most colleges will allow a student to withdraw from a class up to a certain point in the semester. So if a student is doing badly in a class and they are afraid they might fail, they have the option of withdrawing before the end of the semester. The class will still show up on their transcript as "withdrawn," and they will loose the money they paid for the course.

Because most universities require a certain number of credits to graduate, while the student may not have to re-take that exact course, they will be short the credits that course would have earned, and will need to take an extra course, either over the summer or as an extra class during a following semester.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Hmmmmm

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2015, 08:22:22 AM »
Transcripts still show the failed course with the indication you failed it because that failed grade still counts against your GPA that is shown on your transcript. If you retake a failed course, some universities will discount the first failed attempt and remove from your transcripts. Others average the grades.

AnnaJ

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2015, 08:58:10 AM »
Most (if not all) scholarships and grants in the U.S. require a minimum grade point average so yes, failing grades are included in the average and on the transcripts.  Also most schools require that students maintain a minimum GPA to stay enrolled - often they are given the opportunity to bring up their grades if they drop below the mark.

There is also a trend to note if someone failed a class because they cheated; my college does so internally, but there is discussion about including it in transcripts to other schools.

Bexx27

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2015, 09:11:06 AM »
Yes, in general failed classes do show on the transcript and count toward GPA. It does vary by university, however. Many universities have certain classes (this might only be an option for non-academic classes such as PE, music, or art) that can be taken pass/fail instead of for a grade and aren't factored into GPA. I'm not sure if a fail in a pass/fail class goes on the transcript.

Brown University has an interesting system where all grades are A/B/C/fail. If you fail a class, it doesn't show on your transcript or factor into GPA. So if a student getting a C in a class, it's often in their best interest to skip the final and fail so their GPA won't go down. A friend of mine went to Brown and failed all her classes one semester because of serious medical issues. She still graduated with an almost perfect GPA.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

Lynn2000

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2015, 09:38:57 AM »
Agree with the others. I also wanted to add that, IME, most students don't have excess credits by the time they graduate--they've often taken just enough to meet the minimum requirements for graduating. The programs are set up that way, so that they can be completed in a "normal" eight semesters (four years) or whatever. A lot of people would feel that taking extra courses, where they don't even need the hours but are done "just because," would be a waste of time, money, and effort.

All that is to say that by the time a student graduates, they don't usually have much wiggle room to decide which classes will go towards their degree--they've (hopefully) hit their minimum in every requirement but without room to spare. So even if an institution allowed a student to look back and strike something from their transcript (which US places usually don't, IME), most students wouldn't be able to do that anyway, because retroactively dropping any course would likely knock out some requirement for graduation (of hours, or a specific type of course).

Building a four-year schedule these days almost requires an engineering degree itself, it seems. There's the total number of hours you have to hit; often within that, a certain number of hours must be classes in your major or college. Your major will have specific courses that are required, and then lists like "choose 1 course from this list" and "choose 2 courses from this list." Some of those may have prerequisites (courses you have to take first), so you have to keep an eye on that. I took placements tests in English and math before starting university, and was required to take certain English and math courses based on the results of those tests. Also my university required foreign language experience, but having four years in high school counted for me; otherwise I would've had to take a couple years of university-level foreign language.

Then you have "general education" (gen ed) requirements meant to give students exposure to a broad range of topics no matter their major. As a science major I also had to take courses that counted as writing-intensive, a course in Western culture, a course in non-Western culture... History majors have to take one or two science classes. I'm interested in a broad range of topics and was fortunate to be able to study a lot of different things outside my major, from world religions to Viking sagas to music history to architecture. But, a lot of people hate the gen ed courses because they're not interested in those things, or scheduling has tightened up such that they have to take whatever classes fit in their schedule, rather than something they're interested in.
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gollymolly2

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2015, 09:48:31 AM »
I think that (it being very difficult to plan a schedule that allows you to graduate in four years and not taking extra units) is pretty school-specific. I definitely knew people who had that experience, but I also know people (myself included) who didn't.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2015, 10:00:26 AM by gollymolly2 »

Bexx27

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2015, 09:49:49 AM »
I think that (it being very difficult to plans schedule that allows you to graduate in four years and not taking extra units) is pretty school-specific. I definitely knew people who had that experience, but I also know people (myself included) who didn't.

This is true. My school had no gen ed requirements. I was able to double major and take plenty of random electives.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

Wintergreen

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2015, 02:02:29 PM »
Agree with the others. I also wanted to add that, IME, most students don't have excess credits by the time they graduate--they've often taken just enough to meet the minimum requirements for graduating. The programs are set up that way, so that they can be completed in a "normal" eight semesters (four years) or whatever. A lot of people would feel that taking extra courses, where they don't even need the hours but are done "just because," would be a waste of time, money, and effort.

All that is to say that by the time a student graduates, they don't usually have much wiggle room to decide which classes will go towards their degree--they've (hopefully) hit their minimum in every requirement but without room to spare. So even if an institution allowed a student to look back and strike something from their transcript (which US places usually don't, IME), most students wouldn't be able to do that anyway, because retroactively dropping any course would likely knock out some requirement for graduation (of hours, or a specific type of course).

Building a four-year schedule these days almost requires an engineering degree itself, it seems. There's the total number of hours you have to hit; often within that, a certain number of hours must be classes in your major or college. Your major will have specific courses that are required, and then lists like "choose 1 course from this list" and "choose 2 courses from this list." Some of those may have prerequisites (courses you have to take first), so you have to keep an eye on that. I took placements tests in English and math before starting university, and was required to take certain English and math courses based on the results of those tests. Also my university required foreign language experience, but having four years in high school counted for me; otherwise I would've had to take a couple years of university-level foreign language.

Then you have "general education" (gen ed) requirements meant to give students exposure to a broad range of topics no matter their major. As a science major I also had to take courses that counted as writing-intensive, a course in Western culture, a course in non-Western culture... History majors have to take one or two science classes. I'm interested in a broad range of topics and was fortunate to be able to study a lot of different things outside my major, from world religions to Viking sagas to music history to architecture. But, a lot of people hate the gen ed courses because they're not interested in those things, or scheduling has tightened up such that they have to take whatever classes fit in their schedule, rather than something they're interested in.

I think that is  big difference. Here, I think many, even if not most have credits over the minimum requirement. I had around 210 credits for Bachelor when minimum requirement is 180. However, I have to admit that it was different time than what it's now, things might have changed. During my studies there have been several huge modifications in degrees and so on, how they affect new students is alien to me.

We do have gen ed too, languages (two at least basically, though it's only few courses per each). However, we do have some differences between universities. Engineers (Masters of science in engineering topics) study in different universities than let's say masters of philosophy. So MSc:s in engineering don't have any history in their studies, but they do have some crossover classes from different engineering areas. For example basically everybody (be it students from physics or some kind of biostuff) takes some programming and so on. And obviously everybody has mathematics, physics and chemistry to some degree. How they do it in the "other universities", I don't know actually what are the common courses.

Lynn2000

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2015, 02:17:50 PM »
I think that (it being very difficult to plan a schedule that allows you to graduate in four years and not taking extra units) is pretty school-specific. I definitely knew people who had that experience, but I also know people (myself included) who didn't.

I should have mentioned that was just my experience at my university, where I attended/work. It's a large (30,000+ students), state university so I assumed it was representative of US college experience for a lot of people. But, I could imagine that other schools (especially smaller ones) might be less regimented.

Actually, I was able to take a lot of "gen ed" classes that were almost all my first choice, and didn't have much problem with scheduling; but in last decade or so, budget cuts here have meant fewer discussion sections for the classes, which reduces a student's options to find something that fits in their schedules. And, some departments have tightened their requirements to prevent people from taking "too many" of one type of class--meaning, if you've already fulfilled your non-Western culture credit, they won't let you take another non-Western culture class, even if you're taking it to fulfill the writing-intensive requirement instead. Which seems to go against the idea that students should experience a broad range of classes, doesn't it? The students who work in our office definitely seem to have a much more difficult time setting their schedules each semester than I remember doing--the first couple weeks of a new semester are always chaotic as people are adding and dropping classes, and thus changing their work schedules with us.

I came in with no credits, spent four years (eight semesters), took one summer class, and graduated with the exact number of needed credits, or maybe one or two more (one class on average is 3 credits, but some are 2, 1, or 4). I think this is increasingly unusual in itself, as most of the students I see now come into college with credits from AP (advanced placement) or dual-credit classes they took in high school, take at least one class every summer, and are often trying to graduate in less than eight semesters to save money and get on with life. So naturally that self-induced time crunch also affects how many "extraneous" classes they can take.
~Lynn2000

iridaceae

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2015, 04:14:33 AM »
When I went to college you had quite a bit of room for non-major classes. At the time the University of Wisconsin -Madison required something like 130 credits to graduate. Of that only (I think) 80 could be in your major. You had to take a certain number of non-introductory courses across the board, and I think at least 6 credits had to be in non-introductory courses that qualified as being ethnically diverse [i.e. non-white] . There were also mandatory lit credits and you had to test out of English and math or take classes to get you to a certain level. Plus I think a foreign language requirement.

Lots of students took The African Storyteller; it was a non-introductory lit course that also counted as ethnically diverse. I took it because it sounded way more interesting than Contemporary English Lit or Modern Lit. The other Lit course I took was Sanskrit Literature in Translation.

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Hillia

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2015, 08:41:01 AM »
If you try hard enough you can bloat a transcript with all kinds of folder.  DH's cousin took 4 semesters of ceramics-not even progressively more difficult, or different techniques, just the exact same class 4 times- while working towards a psychology degree.  He did it because it was easier than taking the actual academics classes, and the decent grades he got there helped offset  his not so great grades everywhere else.  He also took 2 of 3 semesters of dance and a few semesters of drama for the same reasons.

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jmarvellous

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Re: University/College grades
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2015, 10:55:13 AM »
My schools have definitely put failing grades on transcripts, though I think there were ways to minimize their impact.

I graduated a semester early (probably could have been done a year early) and felt like I got lots of fun classes in; I had like 21 credits coming in from AP and placement tests -- didn't have to take English, math, history or foreign language required courses (though I still had to take 2 government classes and a few science classes and a rhetoric course for my basic  requirements to be met outside my major). My major, journalism, required tons of electives because we weren't allowed to have minors (don't ask me why). I effectively took enough electives for minors in environmental science and non-print media, but alas it can't be reflected in my transcript.

Most people I knew who took 5 or more years changed majors at least once, double-majored, dropped out or transferred, or failed some classes. A select few took longer because they just couldn't get into their required sequential classes in the semesters alloted. It was pretty common at my university to graduate in more than 4 years.

Now, in law school, we almost ALL graduate in 3 years, and everyone at my school takes the same first-year classes (somewhat standardized nationwide, actually). Those who don't generally have taken a medical or mental health leave for a semester or year.