2016-17 Catalog

Publication date June 2016

Grading System, Grading and Credit Policies, and Final Exams - Undergraduate

University grading system 

Scholastic standing is determined by the grade point system. Grade points are used to determine an official scholastic average for each student. A semester grade point average is calculated by dividing the grade points earned by the number of credits attempted that semester. The cumulative average is the total number of grade points earned divided by the total number of credits attempted.

Undergraduates must maintain an average of 2.00 as the minimum standard for satisfactory work after attempting 45 credits. See the retention standards policy for more information about academic eligibility.

To successfully complete a course at the graduate level, a grade of "C" (or better) or "P" must be earned. No graduate credit will be applicable to a degree for courses completed with grades below "C".

Note: UWL grade point averages are determined only by grades in UWL courses. Probationary status and grade point deficiencies of students already matriculated at UWL may not be improved by enrolling in courses at other institutions.

Grading scale

Effective January 1994, the university adopted a seven-step grading scale with point values assigned as follows:

A4.00 grade points/credit
AB3.50 grade points/credit
B3.00 grade points/credit
BC2.50 grade points/credit
C2.00 grade points/credit
D1.00 grade points/credit
F0.00 counted as credits attempted

Additional university grades and grade points used but not part of the grading scale:

Iincomplete / 0 (not counted as credits attempted)
IPin progress / 0 (not counted as credits attempted)
W, WPwithdraw passing / 0 (not counted as credits attempted)
WFwithdraw failing / 0 (counted as credits attempted, averaged into GPA)
EP1emergency withdrawal / passing / 0 (not counted as credits attempted)
EF1emergency withdrawal / failing / 0 (not counted as credits attempted)
ASaudit satisfactory / 0 (not counted as credits attempted)
AUaudit unsatisfactory / 0 (not counted as credits attempted)
Ssatisfactory / 0 (counted as credits attempted)
Uunsatisfactory / 0 (not counted as credits attempted)
Ppass / 0 (counted as credits earned)
Ffail / 0 (counted as credits attempted; averaged into GPA)
F01 - F14not active / 0 (counted as credits attempted; averaged into GPA). Student did not withdraw from the course officially, but failed to participate in course activities through the end of the period. There is insufficient evidence to make possible a meaningful evaluation of academic performance. The appropriate grade from the F01 to F14 range will appear as an "F" on the student record.
NRno report / 0 (not averaged into GPA; the "NR" grade is posted for all missing grades
PR2in progress for thesis, seminar paper, culminating projects / 0 (not counted as credits attempted)

The faculty Committee on Academic Policies and Standards has established EP and EF as grades that are to be utilized only for the emergency medical withdrawal of students and military call-ups. These grades will be recorded on the permanent academic record to indicate level of performance at the time of withdrawal; however, such grades will not be averaged into the student grade point average.


 The "PR" grade is only used at the graduate level.

University pass/fail policy

  1. Credits taken on a P/F basis will not be averaged into a grade point average if "P" is filed by the instructor. The credits will count as credits earned. An "F" will be averaged in and will be counted as credits attempted.
  2. Specific courses are approved for pass/fail grading. Students do not have the option to request a graded course be taken as P/F.
  3. A maximum of 21 credits of P/F course work can be used toward an undergraduate degree.
  4. UW-L does not accept graduate transfer credit from other institutions in which a grade of "pass" was earned.

Students should realize that P/F graded courses might not be accepted in transfer to other institutions of higher learning. Professional schools are especially reluctant to accept P/F graded course work.

Some employers, principals, and/or superintendents may be unable to acknowledge credits or reward employees, especially graduate students working on advanced degrees, when course work has been taken under the P/F grading system.

Credit by exam and retroactive credit policy

For details on the ways to earn credit by examination and/or retroactive credit, newly admitted students should contact the Admissions Office and continuing students should contact the college or school in which they are enrolled.

University policy on credit by examination and retroactive credit

  1. All credits earned by examination or through retroactive credit will have full academic value, i.e., they will count toward the total required for graduation and, if applicable, fulfill prerequisite requirements for advanced courses, general education requirements, college core requirements and/or major/minor requirements.
  2. Credit will be entered but no grade will be recorded on the permanent academic record.
  3. Credits earned in this manner will not be counted in determining the grade point average.
  4. Credits earned by examination or by retroactive credit will not be counted as part of a student’s course load.
  5. Restrictions:
    1. No student will be permitted to attempt to receive credit by examination or retroactive credit for a particular course more than once.
    2. A student may earn credits by examination or by retroactive credit from UW-La Crosse only after admission to and enrollment at UW-L. A student will be regarded as "regularly admitted and enrolled" after attending on a full-time or part-time basis and paying the appropriate fees in a regular semester or summer term.
    3. No one who has received a final grade in a course or an "incomplete" may earn credit by examination or retroactive credit for the same course.
    4. A student may not receive credit by examination or retroactive credit for a course they are auditing or have audited at UW-L.
    5. No student who has withdrawn from a UW-L course after the first four weeks may earn credit for the course by examination or by retroactive credit.
    6. Prior or concurrent enrollment in a course as reflected on a student's transcript negates the opportunity for retroactive credit in that course.

Final exams policy

A finals week exists to allow students time to read, review, write, integrate, synthesize, and collaborate to maximize the student leaning outcomes of courses. Instructors are encouraged to use finals week for significant papers, assignments, exams (cumulative or not; take-home or in class), etc. in order to allow students the maximum time to distribute their workload and attend to quality. For the sake of student learning, the last week of classes should not be used as a proxy for finals week.

A final examination will be given in each course within a special examination period except for one-credit courses, which will have exams scheduled at the last regular meeting of the class. The examination periods, dates, and times are found in the Office of Records and Registration's Final Exam Schedule. Final exams for online courses will be administered by the published end date of the course. The nature and relative importance assigned to the final examination is determined by the instructor in charge of each course.

Any changes to the final examination policy above, including the published schedule, must be approved by the department chair and the dean of the school or college and will only be granted under extraordinary circumstances. Instructors may send requests to change an examination time via email to the chair of their department. If the department chair approved of the request, the chair will then forward the request to the dean.

No student will be required to take more than three final exams on the same day. If a night class is not involved, instructors of the fourth and subsequent exams on that day will be obliged to reschedule that student's exam if the Office of Record and Registration certifies that such an overload exists. If a night class is involved, the night class and the student's first two exams of the day will remain as scheduled and the other instructors will be obliged to reschedule their exams for that student.

Study Day: No final examination shall be given to any student on Study Day. Study Day is a day to prepare for the final examination period. No student activities of any sort with the exception of optional review sessions for final examinations shall be scheduled on Study Day. This includes make-up classes or tests,  committee meetings involving students, and athletic practices or events.

University incomplete (I) grade policy

An incomplete (I) is a temporary grading symbol (not a final course grade) that may be reported for a student who carried a subject through the last date that one may withdraw from a course and then, because of illness or other unusual and substantiated cause beyond the student’s control, was unable to take the final examination or complete a limited amount of remaining course work.

In no case may an incomplete be recorded by an instructor for a student who, through personal fault, has failed either to complete the requirements of the course on time or failed to report for the final examination as scheduled.

Before an incomplete is reported, there should be, in the judgment of the instructor, a reasonable probability that the student can complete the course successfully without attending class sessions again.

An incomplete (I) will be removed when the student submits all work due. An incomplete must be removed and a final grade recorded in the Office of Records and Registration no later than one calendar year (12 months) following the term in which the Incomplete was incurred, whether or not the student is enrolled.

In order to remove an incomplete, the student must make arrangements with the instructor for the satisfactory completion of the work remaining to be done in the course. This work was indicated on the "Incomplete Grade Request" that was submitted by the student and the instructor when the "I" was originally requested.

When the work has been completed, the instructor submits a final grade, which must also be approved by the department chair and the student’s dean. If the deadline for completion is not met, a grade of "F" will be recorded automatically at the time stated above. If the instructor indicated a grade other than "F" on the information sheet that was filed, that grade will be used instead of "F."

Note: A student should never register again for any course to remove a previously recorded incomplete unless the "I" grade has been converted to "F." This conversion of the "I" must be done prior to re-enrollment. The grade earned in repetition will supersede the "F" recorded, according to the established policy for course repetition.

Change of final grade policy

An instructor may request to change a final grade for an undergraduate course three semesters immediately following the close of the semester in which the grade is first recorded, excluding summer. The instructor and department chair authorize the change by signing a "Change of Grade" form and forwarding it to the appropriate dean for signature. The dean will then file it with the Office of Records and Registration.

A change of grade after three semesters may be made only upon approval of the faculty Committee on Academic Policies and Standards (CAPS). Requests must be made in writing and must be supported in writing by the instructor and the department chair. These papers are forwarded to the student’s academic dean for presentation to the faculty committee.

Appeal of final grade policy

All departments have established policies and procedures which enable students to appeal final grades. These policies and procedures outline the progression of a formal appeal and specify who, if anyone, is empowered to change a final grade. All appeals for a final grade change must be initiated in writing through the department in question during the semester immediately following the semester in which the grade was earned. A copy of each department’s policies and procedures are filed in the office of the appropriate dean.

Report of final grades policy

Official grades are submitted at the end of each term and are available to students through the WINGS Student Center. Academic action is taken at the end of each semester. Grades are not mailed; they are available electronically via the WINGS Student Center.

Students with unsatisfactory grades are expected to seek counseling and help with their studies. Available resources include the instructor(s), advisor, and department tutors. Student services staff, particularly Counseling and Testing Center personnel, will provide assistance on a confidential basis. First years, especially, are encouraged to seek help at the earliest sign of academic difficulty. The university assumes that students will communicate regularly with interested parties (e.g. parents) with respect to academic status and progress.

Deans' Lists

To be eligible for inclusion on any honors list compiled and published by a dean’s office at the end of each semester, students must have earned not less than a 3.50 semester grade point average and have carried a minimum of 12 semester credits.

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