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Understanding Grades and Grading

Your one-stop shop for understanding grades, how grading works, calculating your GPA and  university policies regarding grading. For more detailed information on grading policies and academic regulations, visit the University Catalog.

 

How Do I Check My Grades?

Grades are available approximately 3 weeks after the end of each semester. You may check your grades online through the MyCSULB Student Center.  To do so you will need your campus identification number. For assistance with setting up your password and/or navigating MyCSULB, contact the Technology Help Desk 562.985.4959.

If you suspect an error with your grades, please contact your instructor to discuss the discrepancy.  A request for a grade change must be requested within one term from the date your grade was assigned. 

Grade Symbols and Terms 

Instructors are required to assign a final grade for each student registered for a course.  The following grades are used to report the quality of a student's work at CSULB.

Grade Symbols and Terms

Grade

Calculated In GPA?*

Description

A

YES

Performance of the student has been at the highest level, showing sustained excellence in meeting all course requirements and exhibiting an unusual degree of intellectual initiative.

B

YES

Performance of the student has been at a high level, showing consistent and effective achievement in meeting course requirements.

C

YES

Performance of the student has been at an adequate level, meeting the basic requirements of the course.

D

YES

Performance of the student has been less than adequate, meeting only the minimum course requirements.

F

YES

Performance of the student has been such that minimal course requirements have not been met.

I

NO

Incomplete
See "Understanding Incomplete Grades" below for a full description.

WU/U

YES

Unauthorized Withdrawal  
This grading symbol indicates that a student enrolled in a course but did not officially withdraw from the course and failed to complete the course requirements. A "WU" grade is equivalent to an "F" for GPA and other calculations. In the case of CR/NC option, the grade of NC should be assigned. Instructors must report the 'Last Date of Attendance' for all WU assignments.

AU

NO

Audit  
Enrollment as an auditor is subject to permission of the instructor, provided that enrollment in a course as auditor only after credit students have had an opportunity to enroll.  Once enrolled as an auditor, a student may not change to credit status unless such a change is requested prior to the last day to add classes.

CR

NO

Credit: Usually equivalent to an A,B, or C
See Credit/No Credit Options for detailed information.

NC

NO

No Credit: Usually equivalent to a D, F or WU.
See Credit/No Credit Options for detailed information.

RD

NO

Report Delayed
This grading symbol is used by administrative staff when a department does not submit a course grade sheet.

RP

NO

Report In Progress 
This grading symbol is used in connection with courses requiring multiple enrollment, i.e. that extend beyond one academic term.

W

NO

Withdrawal
This grading symbol is used when the student was permitted to withdraw from a course after the second week of instruction with the approval of the instructor and appropriate campus official. (see Dropping and Withdrawing from Classes)

WE

NO

Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances 
This grading symbol is used when the student was permitted to withdraw from a course for extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control.  (see Dropping and Withdrawing from Classes)

* For Graduate students taking 100 and 200 level courses grades assigned will not be factored into overall GPA.

Mid-Term Progress Reports

Instructors may provide mid-term progress reports to students at the midpoint of the term. These grades do not appear on students' transcripts or affect their GPAs. It can be beneficial for students to review their progress and develop plans to maintain or improve their performance in class.

Since mid-term progress reports are voluntary, you may not receive mid-term progress reports for your classes. Instructors can submit mid-term progress reports in the fall and spring semesters.

Students are able to view this information for the current term in MyCSULB Student Center.

Understanding "Incomplete" Grades

If you are unable to complete all of the assigned work for a class (normally completed a minimum of 66% of the requirements) and there is still a possibility for earning credit, you must contact your instructor to review the possibility of receiving an Incomplete Contract which will include the terms and conditions for the Incomplete (I) grade.  This will extend the time allowed for you to finish the assignments and receive an official grade. To receive an Incomplete, you must:

  • Have "unforeseen, but fully justified" reasons for not completing the class work (Policy Statement 12-03).
  • Have completed a minimum of two-thirds of required course work.
  • Bring all relevant information to the class instructor and agree with the instructor's terms for how and when you will satisfy the remaining class requirements.
  • Make sure that the class instructor completes an Incomplete Contract online.
  • Accept the online contract on MyCSULB, located in the Grades section of Other Academics.
  • Complete the work within one year of the end of the semester in which you took the class, or within a shorter period as specified on the online contract. You may receive an extension of the one-year completion period only for compelling reasons such as serious illness or military service, and only with the prior permission of the class instructor, department chairperson, and the college dean.

After you have submitted your completed class work to the instructor, he/she will assign your final grade for the class. If you do not submit any work, you will receive the grade indicated by your instructor on the online Incomplete contract.   If the instructor did not indicate a grade and you do not submit any work under the agreement, you will receive an "F" in the class.

You cannot re-enroll for an "Incomplete" class.

Calculating Your GPA

Each letter grade has a specific numeric value assigned to it EXCEPT for:

  • Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances (WE)
  • Credit/No Credit (CR/NC)
  • Audit (AU)
  • Post Baccalaureate students enrolled in courses numbered 299 or lower.

These have no numeric value and are not calculated in a student's GPA.  

A student's total grade points are calculated by multiplying the number of units by the number of grade points associated with each grade assigned.

Consider the following example for a 3-unit course: 

Calculating Your GPA

Grade

Numeric Value

Units

Total Grade Points
(Multiply Units by Grade Points)

4

3

12

B

3

3

9

C

2

3

6

D

1

3

3

F/U 

0

3

0

  • GPA is determined by dividing the total number of units attempted into the total number of grade points awarded.

Example: If a student takes four 3-unit courses and received 3 B's and 1 C, then the student's GPA is as follows;

  • Total Units = 12
  • Total Grade Points = 33
  • Total Units (12) divided into Total Grade Points (33) = 2.75 GPA

Credit/No Credit Options 

Prior to Census, a student can request "Credit/No Credit" (CR/NC) grading for a class. A CR/NC grade will not affect the student's GPA. To enroll in a class on a CR/NC basis, the student must register for the class and then submit a Grade Option Change Request (CR/NC), which requires the approval of the student's major advisor.

CR/NC Restrictions

  • In certain majors, a student may not take required courses for CR/NC. Check with your program department for college and departmental restrictions on grading options.
  • Certain courses are not eligible to be taken on a CR/NC basis, regardless of the student's major. 

Undergraduate students have the following CR/NC limits:

  • 24 total units
  • 12 upper-division units
  • 8 units per semester

These limits include classes taken under the previous pass/fail option. The student may exceed the limits only with the following CR/NC classes:

  • Classes taken outside CSULB
  • Classes offering CR/NC grading only
  • Credit earned by examination only

Students may not reverse their decision and request a letter grade after the deadline for adding classes unless they declare a new major after that deadline and the new major requires a letter grade for the class in question. Under this option, the change must be requested no later than the last day of instruction. The grading option may not be changed retroactively after the end of the semester.

A CR/NC grade will not affect the student’s GPA. The student will receive "Credit" or "No Credit" according to the tables below:


Undergraduates:

Credit/No Credit for Undergraduates Only

Earned
Grade
Issued
A , B or C    Credit
D, F, or WU  No Credit

Graduate Students Only (100 & 200 Level Courses):

Credit/No Credit for Graduates Only 

Earned 
Grade
Issued
A , B or C No Credit
D, F, or WU No Credit

Graduate Students Only (300, 400, 500 & 600 Level Courses):

Credit/No Credit for Graduates Only 

Earned 
Grade
Issued
A or B Credit
C, D, F, or WU No Credit

The Dean's List & President's List

Dean's List (Undergraduate Students Only)
An undergraduate student will be placed on the Dean's list each Fall and Spring term in which the student completes 12 or more graded course units with a semester GPA equal to or greater than 3.500 but less than 3.750. The student will be given a certificate for each term in which this honor is received and a notation will be made on the student's transcript. Students earning less than 12 graded course units per Fall or Spring term will be placed on the Dean's List in the Spring term of the academic year in which they accumulate 12 or more graded course units with an academic year GPA of 3.5 to 3.74.

President's List (Undergraduate Students Only)
An undergraduate student will be placed on the President's list each Fall and Spring term in which the student completes 12 or more graded course units with a semester GPA equal to or greater than 3.750. The student will be given a certificate for each term in which this honor is received and a notation will be made on the student's transcript. Students earning less than 12 graded course units per Fall or Spring term will be placed on the President's List in the Spring term of the academic year in which they accumulate 12 or more graded course units with an academic year GPA of 3.75 to 4.0.

Class Auditing

Prior to Census, a student can request to enroll in a class on an Audit (AU) basis. A student who audits a class can attend the class without receiving a recorded grade or academic credit. To enroll in a class on an Audit (AU) basis, the student must register for the class and then submit a Grade Option Change Request (Audit), which requires the approval of the class instructor.

Audit Requirements

  • Classes taken on an Audit basis are included in the total number of units when paying registration fees.
  • Audit requests must be submitted before the deadline to file for an Audit grade option.
  • Students must attend class regularly.
  • Students may not reverse their decision and request a letter grade after the deadline for adding classes