Grading Policies

Fall 2010

Policy Contact
Office of the Registrar
130 Netzer Administration Building



There are two types of Pass/Fail grades. Academic departments designate the grading category of a course or courses when a new course is proposed or through a course change proposal for existing courses. These grade mode designations become part of SUNY Oneonta's Course Master File and cannot be changed for individual students or for an individual course or section of a course in a given semester.

Pass/Fail Only

Courses with Pass/Fail Only designation are always graded with a Pass or Fail ("P" or "F"). Credits earned count toward degree requirements; grades are not used in calculating grade point average. These courses may not be taken on a letter grade ("A-E") basis.

Pass/Fail Option

A student may opt to receive either "A" through "E" grading or P/F grading. In these courses, students will be graded "A-E", unless they register their Pass/Fail status with the Registrar during the add/drop period. These Pass/Fail option grades are reflected as "P*" or "F*". The asterisk delineates them from the Pass/Fail only grades. Instructor permission is not required for a student to take this option. The student’s grade mode choice is indicated on class rosters and grade sheets. Credits earned count toward degree requirements; grades are not used in calculating grade point average. A student may choose to change back to a letter grade mode during the semester in accordance with Key Dates and Deadlines.

Pass/Fail at the Undergraduate Level

At the undergraduate level, a "Pass" grade is defined as achievement of the minimum requirements of the course.

  • Students may not opt for Pass/Fail grading during their first semester at Oneonta;
  • Courses taken to fulfill major requirements, concentration requirements, General Education requirements, or minor requirements may not be taken on a Pass/Fail option basis;
  • Some departments may have Pass/Fail restrictions on courses required for related work.
  • Students are limited to one Pass/Fail option course in any semester and to a total of 12 semester hours of Pass/Fail option overall;
  • Students may take up to 4 semester hours of Pass/Fail option physical education activity credits in addition to the 12 semester hours described above. They may use this option during their first semester on campus as well as during a semester in which they have enrolled for an academic course on a Pass/Fail basis.
  • Students who exceed the maximum Pass/Fail option credits must complete an equal amount of additional credit beyond the minimum number of credits required by their degree programs.

Pass/Fail Grading at the Graduate Level

Grades of "P" (Pass) may be counted toward a master’s degree when the course is offered on a Pass/Fail Only basis. If students register in a course where they select Pass/Fail Option rather than "A-E" grading, that course will not be counted toward a master’s degree. For graduate level courses a Pass is equivalent to a grade of "B" or higher.

Pending Grades

Note: Pending Grades are not assigned at the graduate level.

The grade "PEN" indicates that the coursework has been satisfactory but there is some persistent inadequacy in writing or reading. Instructors should refer a student to the Center for Academic Development and Enrichment as soon as a problem is discovered and not wait to assign a "PEN" grade at the end of the term.


Grade Posting

Federal law (FERPA) prohibits posting grades using students’ name and/or Social Security number, and/or Oneonta ID number, or any part thereof. However it is possible to post by a code name or number (not the Oneonta ID #, S.S. # or any part thereof) agreed to by the student and faculty member. Also, please scramble the names on your roster before assigning code names so that posting does not reflect an alphabetical listing of your roster.

It is also against FERPA regulations to leave students’ graded coursework in a general pick up area. Graded coursework must be returned individually to students. Violations of this law can result in termination of Federal funding to SUNY Oneonta.

Pending Grades

The "PEN" grade may be used when an instructor discovers a specific skill deficiency (writing or reading) in a student’s work, but not in place of an "E" or "I" grade. Students who receive a "PEN" grade are required to start remediation during the next semester in residence.

Pending grades may not be assigned in non-credit courses. When a "PEN" grade is given in a course, the deadline for completion of the course is identical to that given for an Incomplete, i.e., during the semester following that in which the "PEN" was assigned. For "PEN" grades assigned in the fall, the deadline is approximately the last week in April. For "PEN" grades assigned in the spring or summer, the deadline is approximately the last week in November. Failure to complete "PEN" grades will result in a failing grade for the course. With the student’s consent, an instructor may extend the "PEN" grade whenever there is an educational advantage in doing so. This may be accomplished by submitting an Extension of Incomplete form with the Registrar, prior to the incomplete/pending deadline.

Instructors assigning "PEN" grades must complete and attach a "Student Notification of Pending Grade" form, providing a brief but clear written statement of the exact skill to be mastered in order to pass the course. The Registrar will send a copy of this form to the student and to the Center for Academic Development and Enrichment.

Incomplete Grades

Incomplete grades may be assigned only on request by the student and only under the following conditions:

  • A majority of the coursework has been completed
  • Completion was not possible due to circumstances beyond the student’s control
  • Coursework can be completed without additional faculty instruction.

Faculty may not assign an incomplete in circumstances where the student’s performance to date clearly indicates an inability to pass the course as originally structured in the syllabus. Faculty may not assign an incomplete grade in place of a failing grade or because the student stopped attending class.

An example of acceptable circumstances would be a student who missed the final exam or final paper because of an illness or family emergency that can be documented.

Faculty may not assign an incomplete grade without the student’s knowledge.

An understanding of the remaining course requirements and the deadline for completion of them must be established between the student and faculty member prior to assigning the incomplete.

Faculty must complete an Incomplete Grade Agreement Form and submit it to the Registrar’s Office at the same time end-of-term grades are submitted.

Students must not re-register for the course in order to complete the coursework. If they do, a failing grade will be assigned for the first-course registration.

Deadlines for completing incompletes are determined by the course instructor. However, they must be within the designated deadlines noted below.

  • For incompletes received in spring or summer terms, the deadline for completion is approximately the last week of November unless course instructor determines an earlier date.
  • For incompletes received in fall terms, the deadline for completion is approximately the last week in April unless course instructor determines an earlier date.

Specific dates are posted in Key dates and Deadlines distributed each semester to faculty and students. They are also available on the Registrar’s web page.

Extension of the deadline beyond the designated one should not be necessary. However, under extreme circumstances, a student may submit a Petition for Extension of Incomplete form. The petition must state reasons for the request, and contain documentation supporting the request. The student submits the petition to the course instructor and advisor for signature indicating support of the request. The petition is then submitted to the division dean for final approval. The approved forms are submitted to the Registrar for recording.

The Registrar will send notification of outstanding incompletes to students and their instructors, indicating specific deadlines and any approved extension dates.

Any incomplete grades not resolved by the designated deadline via incomplete extension form or grade change form will be converted to failing grades. These failing grades will not be changed back to incomplete grades, so both faculty and students must be attentive to these deadlines.

Incomplete grades may not be changed to "W" grades at a later date.

Degrees will not be awarded to students who have Incomplete grades. The student must opt to change the Incomplete to an "E/F" or complete the coursework and reapply for the degree during the semester in which the course requirements are completed.

Final Grades

All faculty are required to submit final grades no later than 48 hours after administration of the final exam. Grades must be submitted via Grade Entry on Faculty Web Services.

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