Academic Standards Policy and Procedures

Community Colleges of Spokane (CCS) operates on a quarter system: summer, fall, winter and spring. Academic Calendars are available online.

Academic Standards Policy

Community Colleges of Spokane's Academic Standards Policy is intended to support a successful learning experience for all students. Students enrolled in degree or certificate programs are expected to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress as defined by the following general policy requirements:

  • Minimum Grade Point Average: Students must achieve and maintain the required grade point average.
  • Degree/Certificate Completion: Students should complete the degree or certificate within the maximum credit limit.

Community Colleges of Spokane recognizes the unique and diverse backgrounds and needs of students, and while all students are held to the same level of academic excellence, students with special circumstances may petition for special consideration. Students enrolled in special programs are also required to follow the requirements specified by their funding agency. In addition, students receiving federal and/or state financial aid must follow the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policies.

Procedures

Minimum Grade Point Average

Students must maintain a quarterly grade point average of 2.0 or better and are encouraged to consult with instructors, counselors or faculty advisers, and student services support staff for assistance in achieving their academic goals and objectives. Students whose quarterly grade point average falls below a 2.0 are notified of progressive action, to include warning, probation and suspension. Students must have a final college-level GPA of 2.0 or better to receive a degree or certificate from CCS.

Degree/Certificate Completion

A student who is enrolled in a degree or certificate program must complete the program in at least 125 percent of the program's credit requirements. A student in a degree or certificate program may not take college-level courses in excess of 150 percent of the credits needed to complete the degree or certificate. For the purposes of this policy, 90 credits will be assumed to be the program length unless otherwise indicated.

Class Attendance

Students are expected to attend all classes and laboratories. If absent due to illness or other unavoidable reasons, the student should contact instructors.

Classes/Credits

Class Information

Common Course Numbered Classes

Common course numbering makes course transfer easy between and among Washington's 34 community and technical colleges. Common courses are those courses delivered by a number of community and technical colleges that have official college catalog descriptions similar enough to be accepted as equivalent at a receiving college for transfer purposes.

Common courses are identified by an "&" after the division designator on a course number (i.e. ENGL& 101).

Global/Diversity Classes

Global/diversity classes are noted by a "^D" next to the course title or "Req Designation: Global/Diversity Designation." The study of diversity is intended to promote awareness of local and global differences, to identify shared values, to improve understanding of one’s own culture, and to encourage people to explore and respect differences.

Honors Classes

Honors classes are noted by a "^H" next to the course title or "Course Topic: Honors."

Writing Intensive Classes

Writing intensive classes are noted by a "-W" or "^W" next to the course title or "Course Topic: Writing Intensive." Fifty percent of the student’s grade is based on composition skills.

Course Numbers

Courses numbered below 100 are not considered college level and are not designed for transfer.

Academic courses numbered 100-199 inclusive normally are taken by first-year students.

Courses numbered 200-299 inclusive normally are taken by second-year students.

Courses numbered 300-499 normally are taken by students enrolled in Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) programs.

Credit Information

Cooperative Work Experience

Students can earn credit through work experience.

Cooperative education is an organized program of study and educational work experience available throughout the student's college career.

To enroll in cooperative education the student registers for supervised cooperative work experience and the related seminar in the department appropriate to his/her academic or occupational goals. An instructor/coordinator is assigned who interviews the student and assists in locating appropriate full- or part-time paid employment as needed. In the case of those already employed, the instructor/coordinator interviews the student to determine eligibility for cooperative education. Students also may receive cooperative education credit for some types of nonpaid job experience.

Three work options are available for earning credit:

  • The student works part-time and attends classes on a daily basis.
  • The student works full-time and attends classes part-time. This is of particular interest to evening students.
  • A student may leave the campus to work full-time for a quarter, then return to resume his/her studies. This option is desirable where work experience is located outside the service area of the community college.

A student must be registered for cooperative education work experience to receive credit.

The following courses may be offered in each academic discipline at the discretion of the vice president of learning. Specific requirements and limitations concerning courses are available from the appropriate campus instructional administrator.

Cooperative Education Seminar 266 (1-2 credits) and Cooperative Education Work Experience 267 (1-18 credits) or Cooperative Education Work Experience 288 (no seminar) (1-18 credits) can be used to meet graduation requirements for professional/technical programs with the approval of the appropriate dean.

Cooperative Education is available in many programs. For more information, call SCC, 509-533-7249 or SFCC, 509-533-3545.

Credit Hour and Load

The "quarter credit hour" represents one class hour per week for the entire quarter. Laboratory and activity courses usually meet an additional hour each week per credit hour.

Most academic courses carry a credit range of 1-5 credits. Some career and technical courses exceed 5 credits because of program requirements. Students planning to enroll for more than 21 credit hours must obtain permission from a counselor, the student services dean over enrollment services, the registrar or a designee. If the cumulative overload credit hours are taken through CCS institutions, permission is required.

To make normal progress toward graduation in liberal arts, a student must earn a minimum of 45 credits a year in appropriate college-level courses. In career and technical programs, the student must satisfactorily complete the hourly credit requirements of the program.

Student credit hour enrollment categories are shown below: (View the Tuition and Fee Schedule online.)

Full-time12 or more credits
Three-quarter-time9-11 credits
Half-time6-8 credits
Less than half-time1-5 credits

Transfer Credit

Community Colleges of Spokane follows the statewide policy for transfer of credits as endorsed by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Credits from other accredited institutions in degree, diploma and certificate programs may be transferred upon approval. For more information on transfer credit and degrees, refer to the Academic Programs section of this catalog.

Grading Policy

Community Colleges of Spokane grading system provides a permanent record of grade evaluations that reflect, in various ways, successful course and program completion. The colleges operate on a quarter system. The quarter hour of credit is the unit of instruction.

Grade Legend

Grades at CCS are reported in numerical fractions to the nearest tenth. Letter grade equivalents are as follows:

Numeric GradeLetter Grade Equivalent
3.8 - 4.0A (superior achievement)
3.5 - 3.7A-
3.2 - 3.4B+
2.9 - 3.1B (above average achievement)
2.6 - 2.8B-
2.3 - 2.5C+
2.0 - 2.2C (average achievement)
1.6 - 1.9C-
1.3 - 1.5D+
1.0 - 1.2D (minimum achievement)
0.0F (failure)

Grade Symbols

Explanation follows symbol.

FFail
IIncomplete
NAudit
PPass
WOfficial Withdrawal
ZSpecial Withdrawal
* (or blank)Non-graded Section/Missing Grade

Conditions for which they are assigned:

F Fail - Less than 1.0 grade points/0.0 credit calculated in GPA. Courses designated with a pass/fail option must be approved by the College Curriculum Committee prior to the beginning of a course.
I Incomplete - 0.0 grade points; no credit. Incomplete grades “I” may be issued only to those students whose work to date is passing but not completed at the end of the quarter. All "I" grades issued by an instructor must be accompanied by an "Incomplete Contract."

All incompletes must be made up prior to the official end of the next quarter with the following exceptions: (1) "I" grades earned spring quarter must be made up prior to the official end of fall quarter, and (2) "I" grades issued to students in the career and technical division of the college are to be made up according to a special schedule developed by the Department Chair and the Chief Academic Officer, and (3) an incomplete that is not made up will default to the decimal grade listed on the Incomplete Contract.
N Audit - Special registration. 0.0 grade points; no credit.
P Pass - 0.0 grade points; credit not calculated in GPA. A passing grade may be issued in certain pre-designated courses or experience-related evaluations for credit rather than the regular grading system. Courses designated with a pass/fail option must be approved by the College Curriculum Committee prior to the beginning of a course.
W Official Withdrawal - 0.0 grade points; no credit. All official withdrawals "W" prior to the seventh week of the quarter are the sole responsibility and prerogative of the student and must be initiated and completed by the student. The official withdrawal date for summer quarter will be prorated accordingly. To prevent a "W" grade showing on the student transcript, the student must drop the class or withdraw completely by the tenth day of the normal quarter, eighth day for summer quarter. Short courses will be prorated accordingly.

Exceptions to the refund policy will be considered only if, in the judgment of the college, an extreme hardship has been caused by illness, hospitalization, or military transfer. A student must submit an appeal for an exception to the refund policy with a completed official withdrawal form and written documentation (letter from the doctor in the case of illness) to the registrar. For the case of medical withdrawal, in addition to the withdrawal form, the Medical Withdrawal Request/ Appeal Form must also be completed along with a written or typed letter on business letterhead from the student’s health care provider stating date(s) of care, the health condition being treated and the letter must state "Patient is unable to attend classes and must withdraw from school."
Z Special Withdrawal - 0.0 grade points; no credit. All withdrawals of this type must be designated by the instructor on the regular grade sheet at the end of the quarter.
  1. After consultation with the student prior to the end of the quarter, the faculty member may agree to grant a special withdrawal on the last day of the quarter. The decision to grant the special withdrawal is to be based on what is best for the student in light of his or her educational objectives.
  2. In the event that a student enrolls for a class and stops attending, a special withdrawal may be granted only by the instructor on the last day of the quarter.
  3. Students meeting attendance requirements of the instructor but doing failing work may be given a special withdrawal by the instructor. This must be changed by the instructor to a regular academic grade reflecting proper achievement level if requested by the student prior to the official end of the next quarter.
The faculty member is under no obligation to agree to grant a special "Z" withdrawal.

Only faculty may change a "Z" grade to a decimal grade by submitting an online grade change form to the Registrar's office.
* (or blank) Non-graded Section/Missing Grade - The non-graded section of a lecture/lab course OR no grade received from faculty.
 

Other Indicators

Repeat - Most courses are not repeatable for credit. If a student repeats a course, the highest grade earned is used for computing credits attempted, credits earned and grade point average. Repeats are noted as "Grading Basis: Repeated."
Repeat for Credit - Some courses are approved to repeat up to a maximum number of occurrences or credits. Courses repeated for credit may be noted as "Authorized Repeat."

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Grade point averages are calculated by dividing grade points earned by the credit hours attempted. The following is an example of a grade-point average computation:

Credit HoursGrade Points
Attempted   Grade  Earned
 5x3.0=15.0
 3x4.0=12.0
 4x2.0= 8.0
 5x1.0=5.0
1x0.0=0.0
18 40.0

Dividing 40.0 by 18 computes to a grade-point average of 2.22.

Grade Changes

Grade Appeal

The appeal order for a student who feels that he or she has received an unfair grade is as follows:

  • Instructor of the course
  • Department chair
  • Division dean
  • Chief academic officer

Grade Change

Students should request grade changes from the instructor prior to the end of the next quarter.

Grade Change in Absence of Instructor

Under extraordinary circumstances, and in applying due diligence, the chief academic officer will make a good faith effort to arrive at an appropriate grade.

Grade Report

Grade/transcript information will be released to students within seven days after the end of each quarter via the college Internet:

Grades/transcripts may be withheld if the student has a financial obligation to the college, which may include loans, library fines or delinquent fees.

Graduation/Honor Roll

Graduation

Students must petition for graduation to have their credits officially evaluated for the requirements of their respective degrees and/or certificates. Graduation ceremonies are held in June. Students who completed their degree and/or certificate requirements in fall or winter quarter during the current academic year are encouraged to return to participate in these activities. Students who will finish their degree and/or certificate requirements during the spring or summer quarter may participate in the June commencement. (Refer to the Degree and Certificate Requirements.) Participation in the commencement ceremony does not ensure completion of a degree and/or certificate.

Honor Cords

Students who achieve the following grade point averages (GPA), as calculated at the end of the last graded quarter prior to the graduation ceremony, or at the end of their last quarter of enrollment in credit classes, whichever comes first, will be designated by wearing honor cords when they participate in commencement.

  • A GPA of 3.5 and above in completion of career and technical degrees/certificates
  • A GPA of 3.5 and above in completion of an associate in arts degree

Honor Roll

Students eligible for the President's Honor Roll or the Vice President's Honor Roll must meet the following minimum criteria:

  1. Be a full-time student who has earned 12 or more quarter decimal grade credits as computed by the end of the quarter grading cycle.
  2. Achieve a 3.5 or above for the President's Honor Roll.
  3. Achieve a 3.0 - 3.49 for the Vice President's Honor Roll.

Pass credits are not computed in the quarterly or cumulative grade point average, therefore do not count as completed credits toward the honor roll.

The honor roll program that automatically enters the honor roll status on the transcript will be run only once, after the quarterly grading cycle.

Exception: If the instructor has made an error in grading and the student should be on the honor roll, staff will manually enter the appropriate honor roll status onto the transcript.

Need more information?
Phone: 509-434-5162
Email: CCSInfo@ccs.spokane.edu