“NC” Grade: Proposed Policy Changes

Spring Term 2014 “NC” No Basis for Grade Conversation

Should we continue to offer the “NC” No Basis for Grade?

Questions/Issues to Consider:

1. What is the purpose of the “NC” grade?

According to COPPS and our grading rubrics:

NC  (No Credit): Issuing a grade of “NC” is at the instructor’s discretion and is used when the instructor believes the student has not participated enough in the class to earn a grade.  It is not meant and should not be used to replace an “F” or “Incomplete”.  Always include the last date of attendanceP, NP, NC, I and U are not used to compute GPA

 2. How common is it for faculty to assign an “NC” grade at Lane?

This chart reflects the number of credit grades awarded and how many were “NC” No Basis for Grade between fall 2011 and fall 2013. Note what percentages of all grades awarded this represents. (College Now grades excluded)

Term # of Credit Grades # of NC Grades Percentage
Fall 2011 39,079  2,764  7%
Winter 2012 38,204  2,671  7%
Spring 2012 35,632  2,791  8%
Summer 2012 12,518  1,134  9%
Fall 2012 35,291  2,650  8%
Winter 2013 34,584  2,438  7%
Spring 2013 31,616  2,328  7%
Summer 2013 10,512  963  9%
Fall 2013 30,975  1,983  6%

 3. Is the reason for assigning an “NC” consistent between faculty?

Some faculty use the “NC” to provide a grade for students who registered, but never attended.

Some faculty use the “NC” to provide a grade for students who registered, attended for some period of time, and stopped attending.

Some faculty use the “NC” when the student stayed in the class, but did not participate enough to warrant another grade.

Some faculty use the “NC” when students ask that they not receive an “F” to not have their GPA negatively impacted.

Could there be other reasons?

 4. What is the impact of earning an “NC” on the student?

The credit associated with an “NC” is used in the Academic Progress Standing calculation, and it can cause a student to receive an Alert 1, Alert 2, or Alert 3 hold if having this contributes to the student completing less than 67% of attempted credits.

Students receiving financial aid and earning an “NC” will not receive credit toward graduation, but the credits associated with it count against their total available to be funded in the financial aid credit limit process.

Students who are receiving financial aid retroactively cannot be paid for an “NC” grade, but can for an “F”.

An “NC” does not calculate into a student’s GPA.

 5. What grade would a faculty member assign instead of an “NC”?

 If the student fails to drop the class by the eighth week of the term, they would receive an “F” for failing to continue to attend and/or not submitting work enough work to warrant a grade beyond “F”.

6. How does an “NC” grade impact Financial Aid?

While the instructions for assigning an “NC” direct the faculty to provide a last date of attendance, this is not a required step in myLane, so it is possible that we could be in violation of the federal financial aid regulations if we pay a student for attending when they were not in attendance.

“NC” grade credits are calculated into the Satisfactory Academic Progress calculation and are counted in the total number of credits that can be used with financial aid.

 7. Do the other Oregon community colleges use an “NC” or equivalent grade?

An analysis of sister Oregon Community Colleges, Valencia College and Salt Lake Community College shows that an “NC” No Basis for Grade is not a standard grade utilized and in most cases it has been retired.

Institution NC Grade? Registrar Comments
PCC No
Lane Yes Recording the Last Date of Attendance for an “NC” is not forced in myLane and is often left blank.
Chemeketa No We used to have an “N” grade and that went away in 2009-10. 
Linn-Benton Yes Our Academic Affairs Committee is meeting to discuss getting rid of X “no basis”, and WP “Work in Progress” grades. 
Clackamas Yes
Faculty input the “Y” and it means Never Attended. It counts in attempted credits On our transcript key it says “Never Attended”
We implemented a “Y” grade (never attended) a few years ago because students who never attended were getting both “W” and “F” grades for the same behavior. Just last year, we told faculty that they must (a word we never use here) provide a “Y” grade if the student never attended.
Mt. Hood No
Rogue Yes “Z” indicates no basis for grade (e.g., you do not attend beyond the first third of the scheduled class meetings). If you attend beyond the first third of the scheduled class meetings a grade for the class other than “Z” must be assigned. 
SWOCC No
Southwestern had a similar grade many years ago (it was a “Y”).
We require faculty to administrative withdraw non-attending students by the end of the 2nd week.  Students who attended, but stop out and don’t drop, get “F” grades.
Klamath No At KCC we have no such grade.  The student typically receives an “F” grade in your situations below.  If the student is not happy, we make them do an appeal for a “Late Drop”.
TVCC No Our instructor’s give students “F” grades; we don’t have a grade for students that stopped attending class. 
Tillamook No TBCC does not have a grade for students who stop attending.  They receive the grade they earn, which is a lot of ‘F’s. 
Clatsop No
Until this past fall term, we used Z grade indicating the student stopped attending, or no basis to award grade.  Not all faculty used it the same, and Financial Aid still had to follow up on every student receiving an F or NC to satisfy Department of Education standards.
We did away with the Z and now require instructors entering an F (courses with letter grade) or NC (used in Pass/No Credit courses) grades to enter a last date of attendance.  The interface for inputting faculty grades requires this.
Salt Lake CC No
Valencia No
Umpqua No We discontinued the use of the “Y” (no basis for grade) about six years ago.  Now, instructors must assign an A-F or P grade.  Any grades left blank are reported to the VP/Deans for follow-up.

 

 

6 thoughts on ““NC” Grade: Proposed Policy Changes

  1. Dennis Gilbert

    I occasionally use the NC grade, and I believe my decision is principled academically and in the student’s interest in terms of their academic journey. As long as some faculty members find an appropriate use for the grade, and it is consistent with the standards set for grades generally, there should be a very high bar for eliminating this grade option. Course purposes, structures and assessments have a great deal of diversity at Lane, so the fact that some colleagues my not experience a need for the NC grade is no reason for eliminating it. Further in an age when there exists a serious and respected, although marginal, discussion about alternatives to grades, the latest count on what schools do and don’t give NC grades does not seem like an appropriate criteria for eliminating or keeping the NC grade at Lane.

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  2. Suzanne Cassidy

    I usually have 3 to 8 students in my 3 session online classes who register for the class, sign my required forum stating that they have read all of the information and plan on continuing the class and then I never hear from them again. I do not feel they qualify for an F grade as they have not submitted any work so I give them a NC grade. Students who do submit any work at all and then do not continue on, receive an F grade. I like the idea of instructors having two weeks to drop non attending students. That would weed out all of those students who register for the class and never intend to do the required work for the class.

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  3. Barbara Breaden

    The first 3 reasons in #3 above are valid uses of the NC designation:
    • to provide a grade for students who registered, but never attended.
    • to provide a grade for students who registered, attended for some period of time, and stopped attending.
    •when the student stayed in the class, but did not participate enough to warrant another grade.

    I consider it a designation rather than a grade, and because it is descriptive, I favor keeping it as an accurate reflection of the student’s affiliation with one’s course.

    What financial aid does with the NC is for financial aid to figure out in compliance with regulatory bodies.

    Reply
  4. Fred Beisse

    I served on Faculty Council and on the committee that undertook a major revision to LCC’s grading system in the mid-1990s. That work included adding plus/minus grades and changing the former Y grade to an NC to clarify its meaning. The committee did not feel that an F grade covered all situations. F is widely understood to mean that a student took a course and failed to perform at some minimum level of competence in the course work. The committee defined the NC grade as “Not Completed/No Credit”. Its intended use is in situations where a student did not complete enough of a course to receive an A-F letter grade. In that circumstance, many instructors did not feel that they had adequate information on which to base an A-F letter grade. For example, a student who drops out of a course before its completion (or who never attends), has failed to perform an administrative task (dropping the course), but has not demonstrated that they failed to comprehend and perform the course material. They just didn’t complete the course, and shouldn’t receive credit for it. If part of the mission of LCC is to permit students to come and experiment with courses in various fields, assigning an F grade to a students who tries, but drops out, doesn’t seem like a very good description of the outcome.

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  5. Kate Sullivan

    Just thought I’d let folks know that one of the reasons that we are having this discussion is that the data that have emerged about achieving the dream schools indicate that “no penalty” grades like our NC are not correlated with student success. The schools we’ve looked to for models of how to revise our policies (like Valencia) don’t have late drop dates (like our 8th week withdrawal deadline), nor do they allow students to receive “no penalty” grades.

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  6. mike denny

    Instead of the “NC” grade, why not have “NP” (No Pass) as an option for instructor even if the student did not sign up P/NP? I don’t know how that would bear on financial aid and/or transcript issues, but it’s a thought.

    Thank you, Mike Denny, Part Timer since 1996, MD&T

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