Grading Guidelines

Fall 2021 End of Term Information For Faculty  (pdf)

Assessment Methods

Evaluation of student work may be based upon a variety of methods, including essays, multiple choice testing, presentations, etc. The book below is a good reference for ways to assess a college level class in a variety of field. You can also check out the section in the handbook on SLOS, assessment and rubrics.

Angleo, Thomas A., and Cross, K. Patricia. Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teacher, 2 edition. Jossey-Bass. 1993.

Attendance and Grading

Please be aware that attendance is to be encouraged but should not be used in grading. Actual, substantive, class participation can be used. Let students know at the beginning of the class what is to be expected of them throughout the semester. Handouts listing examination dates and assignments are helpful.

Legal opinion from the Chancellor's Office


Scantron machines are available to assist you in grading multiple-choice tests. Students may purchase scantrons in the Bookstore. Please let them know what size scantron they need. (50 or 100 questions)

IVC students may purchase scantrons at IVC Admissions & Records or the Career Study Center (Building 17).

The locations of the scantron scanners are:

Kentfield Campus

  • SMN 318

Indian Valley Campus

  • Building 27, Room 200
  • Building 9, Room 127 (IVC Mailroom)

Final Exams

To avoid penalties of the MCCD/UPM-AFT Contract (Article 24) final examinations are held at fixed times and are designated in the schedule. Instructors are not to give examinations in advance of the regular exam week schedule. If you need to change the time or location of your final, you must get the approval of the Vice President of Student Learning.

In addition, the final exam schedule is listed in the print and pdf versions of the class schedule each semester. Please announce the date, time and place of your final to your class often as it may be different than your regularly scheduled class time.

Midterm and Final Grade Submission

Instructors should enter the midterm grades and final grades on the rosters in their MyCOM Portal accounts before the posted deadline dates listed in the Academic Calendar.

You can access the Midterm and Final Grade Rosters in the Faculty Dashboard of the Employees Tab in the MyCOM Portal:

  1. Make sure to chose the correct semester in the drop-down menu.
  2. Click on the Midterm Grades or Final Grades links
  3. Select the CRN of the course you are looking for.
  4. Enter the grades for this course.

Academic Record Symbols and Grade Point Average

The College’s grading system shall provide students with a realistic assessment of their academic performance consistent with state regulations which encourage exploration of different academic fields and reinforce serious commitment to ­educational goals.








Passing, less than satisfactory




Pass (at least satisfactory; units awarded but not used to calculate GPA.)


No Pass (less than satisfactory or failing; used to determine progress, probation and dismissal but not to calculate GPA.) 


Incomplete (used to determine progress, probation, dismissal but not to calculate GPA.)


In Progress (not used to determine progress, probation, dismissal or to calculate GPA.)


Non-progress Grade (grades of I, NP, and W.)


Report Delayed (not used to determine progress, probation, dismissal or to calculate GPA.)


Withdrawal (used to determine progress, probation, dismissal or to calculate GPA.)


Failing for non attendance withdrawal (used to determine academic probation and dismissal)


Military Withdrawal (used when students are called to active duty.)

Grade Points:

Each letter grade has the following point assignment for each unit:

A= 4.0, A-= 3.7, B+=3.3, B=3.0, B-=2.7,C+=2.3, C=2.0, D+=1.3, D=1.0, D-=.7, F+=.3, F=0

Successfully Completed:

Successful completion of a course is defined as receiving a grade of P, C or better.

Grade Point Average:

Divide the total grade points earned by the number of units attempted. Do not include I, IP, W, P/NP, or MC.

Honor List:

Students will be placed on a semester honor list when their semester GPA is 3.0 or higher. These students may not be on probation or have any “I”, “NP”, or “F” grades, and must be enrolled in 12 units of letter-graded classes at the College.

FAQs About Plus and Minus Grading

College of Marin has adopted a system of grading that, pursuant to Title 5, Section 55023, allows the use of plus and minus symbols. Patrick Kelly, former Vice-President of the Academic Senate prepared the following answers.

Does the use of a plus or minus affect GPA?

Yes.  A= 4.0, A-= 3.7, B+=3.3, B=3.0, B-=2.7,C+=2.3, C=2.0, D+=1.3, D=1.0, D-=.7, F+=.3, F=0

Is there really an F+ ?

Yes, believe it or not, there is.  I am not sure when one would use an F+, but it is in the regulations.

I noticed there is no C-.  Why is that?

The freedom for districts to adopt a +/- system has been approved by the chancellor’s office with the requirement that grades of C- will not be allowed.  If C- were allowed it would create ambiguity as to what is a passing grade, especially when the grade of C or better is required for a course completion for prerequisites and transfer programs. Meaning, if C- were allowed, a student could get a passing grade at CoM (C-), but would have to take the class over upon transfer since it does not meet the prerequisites at the four year school he or she transferred to.

An FW appears on the grading dropdown menu in the MyCOM site. What is an FW?

According to Title 5: “FW grade symbol (may be used) to indicate that a student has both ceased participating in a course some time after the last day to officially withdraw from the course without having achieved a final passing grade…its grade point value shall be zero (0).” 

An FW is similar to an F in that it results in a GPA of 0.0 and, if the course is retaken can be lined out. The purpose of the FW is to indicate to anyone looking at a student’s transcript (a four-year school for instance) that the student received the F as a result of non-attendance and not for academic reasons.  It is the understanding of the Academic Senate that instructors will be able to do “Instructor Withdraw” at around midterm time as in previous semesters. Therefore, if someone hasn’t shown up to class in a while, it is better to drop them than to wait and have to issue and FW.

What procedure should I use for giving an "I" (for incomplete)?

All of the criteria and procedures are the same as those previously used.  Simply mark an “I” using the MyCOM dropdown grading menu. Then go to Admissions and Records to fill out the appropriate form.

What about C/NC?

Credit/No Credit is now called Pass/No Pass. The same basic rules apply. However, now that we are using Banner, students MUST choose the P/NP option themselves. The student must choose this option during the first 30% of the semester for full term courses.  If students choose P/NP and then change their minds BEFORE the deadline, they can simply switch back to the letter grade option. However, after the deadline, no further changes can be made by the student or the instructor.

Is an instructor for a course required to use plus and minus grades?

The new +/- system provides more grade options, but how those options are used is the decision of the instructor.  In short, no, it is up to you whether you use +/- grades.

Is there a standard in terms of the 100-point scale where people draw (or where we should draw) the cut points for these new grades?  That is, are we required to use 90, 80, 70, etc as cutoffs for grades?  Is there any recommendation as to where the new cut-point should be?

There are no recommended guidelines for establishing cut points with the +/- system, just as there are no guidelines recommended within the previous system.  Once again, the assignment of grades is strictly under the purview of the individual instructor. If more than one section of the same class is being taught by two different instructors, it may be a good idea to discuss this question among yourselves.

Can an instructor opt ot give +/- grades to those students who want them and standard A, B, etc grades to those who do not want a +/-?  Or do instructors have to grade all students in any one class alike?

A basic principle of academic freedom is that the individual instructor is responsible for the assignment of grades.  That being said, if an instructor chooses to establish an individual contract with each student regarding the grading scale, the instructor could encounter complaints after grades are awarded, as students who exhibit the same performance in the same class could receive different grades.  We would highly recommend that each instructor use a consistent grading scheme for all the students in a class.

Do students have catalogue rights with respect to grading symbols?

Students do not have catalogue rights, i.e. they cannot demand to be graded using only straight letter grades if the rest of the class is graded using the =?- scale.

Pass/No Pass

The Board of Trustees has approved the academic grading symbol of Pass “P”, No Pass “NP” (formerly Credit “CR”, No Credit “NC”).

A Pass “P” signifies that a student is passing (at least satisfactory – the units are not counted in GPA, and has the same meaning as “CR”). To receive a pass grade, course work must be “C” level or higher.

A No Pass “NP” signifies that the student is not passing (less than satisfactory, or failing – units are not counted in GPA and has the same meaning as “NC”).

Procedures for Selecting a Pass “P”/No Pass “NP” or Letter Grading Option

The Board of Trustees has approved certain courses at the College of Marin to be offered in either of the following categories:

  1. Courses wherein all students are evaluated on a “pass/no pass” basis.
  2. Courses wherein each student may elect on registration, or no later than the end of the first 30% of the term, whether the basis for evaluation is to be “pass/no pass” or a letter grade.

It is important to understand that the option of Pass/No Pass is to be selected by the student when the student registers for the course OR within 30% of the length of the term.  Students may make that selection when registering online at or by completing a Pass/No Pass/Letter Grading Option Form and submitting it to the Office of Admissions and Records at either campus within the specified deadline dates.


A student may change his/her selection until the 30% deadline date. Once the deadline date has passed, the selection cannot be changed.

Incomplete Grade  "I"

An Incomplete grade may be assigned to a student who cannot complete a small portion of the required academic work for justifiable emergencies or unforeseeable reasons at the end of the semester. This will result in an "I" symbol being entered in the student's record.

The decision to give an Incomplete rests solely with the instructor.  A student who receives an Incomplete must make arrangements with the instructor and must make up the work no later than one semester following the end of the semester in which the “I” was assigned, (excluding summer sessions). When entering Incomplete (I) grades an alternative grade must be entered. After one semester the alternative grade will become permanent if the student fails to resolve the incomplete.

Faculty must complete the Incomplete Requirement Form to document the outstanding requirements.

  • Keep one copy for faculty reference (for at least two years)
  • Send one copy to Enrollment Services email
  • Send one copy to the student

Incomplete grades should never be assigned to student without their knowledge of the requirements for resolving the grade.

In extenuating circumstances, and with the instructor’s approval and the Dean of Enrollment Services’ approval, the student may petition for an extension of not more than one additional semester.

The instructor shall submit a Change of Grade Form to Enrollment Services when the work is completed. The form is available to faculty only in person at Enrollment Services. If the Incomplete is not removed by the end of the subsequent year, and no extension has been granted, the Incomplete grade shall be changed to the alternate grade indicated on the MyCOM portal and Incomplete Requirement Form.

NOTE: Incomplete grades set resolve at the end of the spring 2020 term were automatically extended to spring 2021 due to COVID 19. Incomplete grades submitted during the spring 2021 will resolve at the conclusion of the fall 2021 term. NOTE: Students may petition for an extension of not more than one additional semester with instructor consent and approval from the Dean of Enrollment Services.

In-Progress Grade

An In-Progress “IP” grade is used when a class is scheduled as open-entry, open-exit or extends beyond the normal end of an academic term. An “IP” indicates that work is “in-progress”. The “IP” symbol shall remain on the student’s permanent record. A student who receives an “IP” must re-enroll for the course in the subsequent semester and complete the required work to achieve a grade and the appropriate grade shall be assigned by the instructor when the course is completed.

Students who receive an IP grade MUST re-enroll in the subsequent semester or they will receive the alternative grade assigned by the instructor. The enrollment fee will be charged for re-enrollment.

An “IP” shall be recorded only once for any given class.  It shall not be used in calculating grade point average or determining progress probation. The instructor shall submit an “IP” Alternative Grade Form to the Office of Admissions and Records that includes a final grade to be posted if the student fails to re-enroll. If the student does not re-enroll AND complete the class in the next regular semester, the student shall receive the grade indicated on the “IP” form.

Incomplete or In Progress Grade Resolution – Remote Process

To resolve an incomplete, or change any grade, please send the following information via email, from your College of Marin email address, directly to Jon Horinek at

  • Student Full Name
  • M00 Student ID Number
  • CRN for course where Incomplete or In Progress Grade was earned
  • Previous Grade
  • Replacement Grade

"FW" Academic Grading Symbol

It is the responsibility of each student to register for and drop a course if necessary. You can support students by notifying them of add and drop regulations and deadlines. If, however, you have a student who has stopped coming to class, you may be able to assign and "FW" if the following criteria apply:

The “FW” grade is an indication that a student has ceased participating in a course after the last day to officially withdraw from the course without having achieved a final passing grade, AND that the student has not received District authorization to withdraw from the course under extenuating circumstances (late withdrawal). The “FW” symbol may not be used if a student has qualified for and been granted military withdrawal “MW”. If an “FW” is used, its grade point value equals zero (0), and it will be calculated into the GPA in the same manner as an “F” grade.

• Faculty must enter a last date of attendance for all students receiving a FW grade. If the date of last date of attendance is not known an approximation is acceptable. This is a requirement for institutional compliance with Department of Education Title IV Financial Aid.

Effect of Cheating on Grades

In 2007 the Chaffey College Faculty Senate submitted the following questions to the Chancellor's Office regarding cheating:

The Chancellor's Office sent the following response:

"On October 17, 2007, you wrote to Chancellor Woodruff requesting a legal opinion on two issues regarding the ability of a faculty member to penalize a student for suspected cheating or academic dishonesty. Specifically, you asked:

1. May an instructor discourage cheating by giving a student a grade of "Incomplete" in response to an egregious cheating incident?  The instructor would not change the Incomplete to a passing grade until the student completed a module designed to discourage cheating.

2. May a faculty member issue an F grade to a student at any time during the semester, after census, when a cheating incident occurs?

For the reasons which follow, we conclude that neither of these practices is permissible."

To read the rest of the opinion, please click HERE.

Directions for Faculty to View Previously Submitted Grades on MyCOM Portal

Log onto Portal
  1. Click on Employees Tab
  2. Click on any link in the Faculty Dashboard (bottom right)
  3. Click on Faculty Services Tab (top of the page)
  4. A Menu will Appear
Choose either:
  1. Select Term (First link)
  2. Click on any of the following:
    • Faculty Grade Summary or
    • Incomplete Grade Summary
    • Select Course/CRN (you can scroll down until you see the correct one)

Application for Independent Study

The application below can be filled out online. Instructions are on page 2.

Application for Independent Study