Credit and Grading Policies

Credit and Grading Policies

Credit or Credit Hour

The credit, sometimes referred to as semester credit or semester hour, is a unit of academic work. One credit is defined to require fifty minutes in a class each week for one semester (or the equivalent).

One semester credit hour in academic courses requires (1) fifty minutes in class each week for one semester (which ­assumes approximately twice this amount of time in study and preparation outside the classroom), or (2) approximately two and one-half hours in laboratory each week for a semester, or (3) equivalent combinations of (1) and (2). For purposes of equivalency calculations, a semester is assumed to be sixteen weeks. Short term courses of one week (five days) or more require time in class, laboratory, and preparation equivalent to the above for a total of 45 clock hours per credit.

Credits Allowed per Semester

Students may enroll for up to 18 credits per semester, and may enroll for a larger number with permission of the dean. To be eligible for participation in student activities, a student must be enrolled for at least 8 credits.

The number of credits awarded for a graduate thesis and other courses varies from department to department, and students may spread the registration for those credits over several semesters.

Grade Reports and Transcripts

Final grades are not automatically sent to students at the end of the semester. Students may access final grades electronically by logging on to

Current students and students who have attended since the Summer 2008 semester may also access their unofficial transcripts at

Students who wish to order official Idaho State University transcripts will find the latest ordering information on the web at Official transcript requests will be processed within 3 to 5 working days, unless there is a financial obligation on record for the student requesting the transcript. For additional information, or if you have specific questions about the process, please email

Grading System

Idaho State University uses a graduated letter grading system to indicate the instructor’s evaluation of a student’s performance in a course. These letter grades are converted to a numerical value for computing a student’s semester and cumulative grade point averages (GPAs). At the beginning of each course, an instructor should inform students via the course syllabus or other written means of the criteria to be used in evaluating their performance. There are are no campus-wide grading criteria.

Idaho State University uses letter grades with the four (4) point maximum grading scale. The grade A is the highest possible grade, and a grade of F is considered failing. Plus (+) or minus (-) symbols are used to indicate grades that fall above or below the letter grades. The grades of A+, F+, and F- are not used. For purposes of calculating grade points and averages, the plus (+) increases the grade’s point value by .3 and minus (-) decreases the grade’s point value by .3 (e.g., a grade B+ is equivalent to 3.3 and A- is 3.7). A student’s work is rated in accordance with the following definitions:

Grade Value Description
A 4.00 Excellent Performance
A- 3.70 Excellent Performance
B+ 3.30 Good Performance
B 3.00 Good Performance
B- 2.70 Good Performance
C+ 2.30 Adequate Performance
C 2.00 Adequate Performance
C- 1.70 Adequate Performance
D+ 1.30 Marginal Performance
D 1.00 Marginal Performance
D- 0.70 Marginal Performance
F 0.00 Unacceptable Performance
X 0.00 Stopped Attending

Courses in which any A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+ or C grade is earned are always acceptable toward an undergraduate program and graduation requirements unless specifically excluded for a particular course, program, or degree. Courses in which a C-, D+, D or D- grade is earned are acceptable towards graduation requirements unless otherwise noted. No credits are awarded for any course in which an F grade is earned. A grade of C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, or F is considered failing for students pursuing graduate level programs or degrees.

Other Grade Symbols

Other grading symbols used are: I - Incomplete; IP - Thesis work “in progress;” W - Withdrawal after the close of the registration period; P or NP - the Pass or No pass option; S or U, for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory performance; and X for no basis for grade. Each of these grades has special conditions which are described below.

Incomplete Grades

An incomplete grade, I, may be awarded only as a final grade and only at the discretion of the instructor. To be eligible for an incomplete grade, a student must have satisfactorily completed a substantial portion of the course. No grade points are awarded for a course in which an Incomplete grade is earned.

The instructor must complete a Course Completion Contract that stipulates the assignment(s) required to finish the course and the allowable time period. No student will be allowed more than one year to complete the required assign­ment(s). Both the student and the instructor must sign the contract, a copy of which is to be given to the student. The instructor retains a copy and a third copy is kept on file by the department head. Upon the student’s timely satisfaction of the Course Completion Contract, the instructor will fill out a Change of Grade Form and send it to the Registrar.

Students should NOT re-register for a course in which an incomplete grade has been assigned. If the Registrar does not receive a Change of Grade Form within a one-year time period following the recording of the Incomplete, the Registrar’s Office will automatically convert the Incomplete to an F. Only in extreme circumstances will a ­student be allowed an extension of the time stipulated by the instructor. A normal ­petition process may be used for those circumstances that would extend the ­allowable time period beyond one calendar year following the recording of the Incomplete grade.

Pass/No-Pass Grades

P/NP grades are given in courses taken under the pass/no-pass option. This option is offered as an inducement for students to take courses outside their major curriculum. The following restrictions apply: the option applies only to undergraduate courses; the option must be declared using a schedule change card signed by the instructor and the department no later than the last day to add or drop courses; credits earned under the option will not satisfy specific graduation requirements except that they may be counted towards total credits required; students taking a course under this option must comply with the established prerequisites or obtain the permission of the instructor; students may not register for more than one P/NP course per ­semester.

No credits are awarded for any course in which an NP grade is earned.


S/U grades are awarded in such courses as religion, student teaching, and special projects to which the regular performance grades are not applicable. The use of S/U grades must be specifically approved by the University Curriculum Council. All students in such courses are graded either S or U. There is no method for incorporating these grades into a student’s grade point average. No credits are awarded in any course for which a U grade is earned.

X Grade

An instructor can give an X grade when a student has not attended or stops attending, therefore giving the instructor no basis to calculate a grade for the student. The X grade is equivalent to an F. No credits or grade points are awarded in any courses for which an X grade is reported.

Withdrawal Grades

A student may drop a course within the add/drop period; no transcript entry will reflect his/her ever having been in the course.

From the end of the add/drop period to the end of the withdrawal period, a student may withdraw at his/her option. After the withdrawal period, a student may withdraw from ­individual courses only by the ­procedure ­described in the section covering withdrawal procedures. In both of these two cases, a W grade will be recorded, and no grade points will be awarded.

If a student simply ceases to attend classes without formally withdrawing from the university, an F or an X grade will be recorded for each affected class. A student may be withdrawn from a course or receive a reduced grade as a result of disruptive classroom behavior.

Information about add/drop periods and withdrawal periods can be found on the Academic Calendar. Information on withdrawing from classes can be found in the Withdrawal Procedures section of this catalog.

Midterm Grades

Instructors are required to report all grades in lower-division courses at midterm, including A, B, C, D, F, S, U, NP (not passing), X, NB (no basis to grade) to help improve student retention.  Instructors are encouraged to report midterm grades for upper-division courses as well.  Midterm grades are not recorded on the student’s transcript and are not used in grade point average computations.

Grade Point Average

A grade point average (GPA) is computed each semester by dividing the sum of the products of grade points and credits for each course by the sum of the credits for the courses. Numerical grade points for each course credit are assigned as shown earlier, on a scale in which an A is 4.00 points and an F is 0.00 points. For ­purposes of calculating grade points and averages, the plus (+), if present, increases the grade’s value by .3 and minus (-) decreases the grade’s value by .3 (e.g., a grade B+ is equivalent to 3.3 and A- is 3.7).

An accumulated grade point average (Accum. GPA) is computed by the same process, but the student’s entire record is covered by the computation.

To maintain “academic satisfactory progress” and avoid probation and/or academic dismissal, a student must maintain a minimum Idaho State University GPA of 2.0.

Credits and Grades for Transfer Courses

When students transfer credit to Idaho State University, the university reserves the right to reclassify credit designated as correspondence, extension, credit by examination and repeated credit according to its own policy governing the acceptance and limitations of such credit. Grades ­transferred from other institutions will be converted to the equivalent grades at Idaho State ­University by the registrar. Where there is a question as to whether ­transferred courses satisfy specific departmental requirements, the head of the department concerned will make the ­interpretation.

Transfer students may be required to repeat transfer courses in which a grade equivalent to a D or F was received.

Awarding of Credit from Non-Accredited Institutions

The process for considering possible transfer credits and recognizing undergraduate degrees granted by non-accredited ­colleges and universities is as follows:

The student must petition the appropriate academic department at Idaho State University. In addition to formal evaluation of the request, the department may ­require competency verification.

In the petition, the student must explain how s/he wishes to deviate from university policy. Some scenarios include:

a) wishing to have certain courses from the non-accredited institutions substitute for courses at Idaho State University that fulfill General Education Objectives;

b) a request to have designated courses from the non-accredited institution substitute for Idaho State University courses that fulfill requirements in the student’s major;

c) a request that an entire degree from a non-accredited institution be recognized as equivalent to that earned from an accredited institution.

Academic Renewal Policy

The purpose of this policy is to allow undergraduate students who are returning or transferring to Idaho State University after having been away from college for a number of years a chance for a fresh start. Idaho State University has a petition process for one-time-only use in which the student may request that consecutive terms of course work be disregarded in calculating the GPA for graduation. To apply, a student must file an Academic Renewal petition with the dean of his/her college. Eligibility for the program will be subject to the following ­conditions:

  1. A minimum of three (3) years will have elapsed since last enrollment at an institution of higher education before petition may be filed.
  2. Applicants must have a previous cumulative ISU GPA of less than 2.00.
  3. This policy will not be used for individual courses.
  4. The petition to be filed by the student will specify consecutive terms of undergraduate courses on the transcript to be disregarded.
  5. Academic renewal may be awarded one time only.
  6. Academic renewal shall not apply to any credits earned for a completed, prior academic degree.
  7. Before the petition may be filed, the student must have completed a semester or semesters of an additional 12 credit hours of course work at Idaho State University with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 or at least 24 credit hours of course work with a minimum grade point average of 2.00.
  8. Upon approval of the petition, the student’s permanent official academic record will be suitably annotated to indicate that no work taken during the disregarded term(s) may apply toward the computation of credits and grade points, academic standing, and graduation requirements. However, all work will remain on the records, ensuring an accurate academic history.
  9. Students should be aware that this policy MIGHT NOT BE ACCEPTED at transfer institutions. Academic Renewal granted elsewhere is not transferable to Idaho State University. Idaho State University conditions must be met.
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