Grading & Attendance Policies

The below grade letters and descriptions are the generic standard of the College of Optical Sciences for both undergraduate and graduate students. Individual instructors may have different standards that will be described in the course syllabi.

For Undergraduate Classes

  • A: Excellent – has demonstrated a more than acceptable understanding of the material; exceptional performance; greatly exceeds expectations.
  • B: Good – has demonstrated an acceptable understanding of the material; good performance; meets or exceeds expectations.
  • C: Average – has demonstrated a barely acceptable understanding of the material; adequate performance; meets minimum expectations.
  • D: Poor – has not demonstrated an acceptable understanding of the material; inadequate performance; does not meet expectations.
  • E: Failure – little to no demonstrated understanding of the material; exceptionally weak performance.

For Graduate Classes

  • A: Excellent – has demonstrated a more than acceptable understanding of the material; exceptional performance; exceeds expectations.
  • B: Good – has demonstrated an acceptable understanding of the material; adequate performance; meets expectations.
  • C: Average – has not demonstrated an acceptable understanding of the material; inadequate performance; does not meet expectations.
  • D: Poor – little to no demonstrated understanding of the material; exceptionally weak performance.
  • E: Failure – usually reserved for non-attendance. 
 

Class Attendance and Participation Policies

 
The College of Optical Sciences adheres to the University of Arizona's Class Attendance and Participation policies stated at the website https://catalog.arizona.edu/policy/class-attendance-participation-and-administrative-drop, which states "Students are expected to be regular and punctual in class attendance and to fully participate in the course. The University believes that students themselves are primarily responsible for attendance and class participation. Since students may be permitted to add classes beyond the official start date, instructors should be attentive to student enrollment dates when assessing adequate participation for the purposes of administrative drop."  
 
For in-person undergraduate and graduate classes, "Excessive or extended absence from class is sufficient reason for the instructor to administratively drop the student from the course."  Furthermore, "The date the administrative drop is posted on the class roster in the UAccess Instructor Center will determine how it affects the student's academic record. If the administrative drop is completed by the first drop deadline, it will result in cancellation of registration in the course." The first and second drop deadlines are defined according to whether the class is an undergraduate or graduate course.  
 
For Optical Sciences undergraduate and graduate in-person courses, instructor permission is needed for a student to register for or remain in a course whenever
  • the student is enrolled in another class that has complete or partial overlap in time, for all or part of a semester, with the Optical Sciences course.  In some cases, the Academic Programs staff may be able to resolve class overlap problems when the two classes in question are Optical Sciences courses;
  • the student is enrolled in another class (or has another regular schedule commitment) that meets immediately before the Optical Sciences class, but is sufficiently far away that the student will not be able to arrive at the Optical Sciences class on time on a regular basis;
  • the student is enrolled in another class (or has another regular schedule commitment) that meets immediately after the Optical Sciences class, but is sufficiently far away that the student will not be able to remain in the Optical Sciences class for the full duration of the class period on a regular basis;
  • the student has a known travel schedule due to work or research (or other activity) that will cause the student to miss an excessive number of classes.  The instructor of the course may determine what is considered excessive;
  • Nominally, and unless otherwise stated by the course instructor, known or planned absences totaling more than 10%-15% of the class periods are considered excessive and the student must discuss the situation with the instructor and receive explicit permission from the instructor prior to taking the course;
  • an emergency situation arises after the start of the semester that will cause the student to miss an excessive number of classes.  In emergency situations, such student or family illness, or a death in the family (or other reasons), the College of Optical Sciences asks the instructor to work with the student to find  reasonable accommodations for either completing the course or taking an incomplete in the course.  In some graduate courses, for instance, the student may be able to watch recorded lectures;
  • due to schedule conflicts, the student will not be able to participate in required or expected activities out of the usual classroom meeting times, such as required outreach events (for outreach classes).

The College of Optical Sciences considers class participation to be an essential component of the educational process.  Each instructor may involve class participation in their grading policies, or in otherwise evaluating whether or not a student making sufficient academic progress.  "Class participation" may involve some or all of the following:

  • students answering questions asked by the instructor, when called upon, or voluntarily;
  • students adhering to the schedule set by the professor, including turning in homework on time, taking in-class quizzes, participating in group activities, etc.;
  • students refraining from making distracting comments or asking distracting questions during class, or other distracting behavior, such that other students in the class are not able to effectively learn or participate in the class.  If a student makes frequent comments that the instructor determines to be distracting, the instructor should make the student aware that their comments are distracting or out of place, and help the student understand why the comments or questions are distracting.  If such behavior continues, the instructor should again ask the student to refrain from such comments in an email message, also sent to one of the Optical Sciences Associate Deans for Academic Affairs (Undergraduate, or Graduate) prior to taking any further action (such as grade reduction or administrative drop);
  • a student with substantially inadequate preparation (such as the absence of prerequisite courses or technical background and math skills) may hinder the student's ability to adequately participate in the class.   The instructor may then choose to administratively drop the student from the course after consultation with one of the Optical Sciences Associate Deans for Academic Affairs, after notifying the student via email of the situation, and after the student has been given an opportunity to demonstrate adequate preparation (such as grades received in prerequisite courses).  The instructor should make every effort inform the student of such a concern prior to the first drop deadline, if there is adequate means of making such an assessment early in the semester.   Substantially inadequate preparation, coupled with inadequate class participation, may become excessively time consuming for the instructor and student, and may be a distraction to other students in the class.  
 
The policies stated above are the default policies pertaining to Optical Science classes.  Instructors may supplement these policies, or determine what is considered "excessive" in terms of course attendance and absences, by email communication to the class prior to the first drop deadline for the class.  Students that do not adhere to the policies described above, or who do not receive appropriate instructor permissions for enrolling in or remaining in the class, may be administratively dropped from the class by the instructor.  
 

Incomplete Grade

 
The Wyant College of Optical Sciences adheres to the University of Arizona's Incomplete policy as stated on the UA Report of Incomplete Grade form found here: https://registrar.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/incomplete_grade_report_revised_dec_2017.pdf.  As stated on this form, "This form is to be completed by the instructor issuing the “I” grade, signed by all parties, and filed in the department with a copy to the student."
 

Incomplete policy

The UA policy on the submission of "incomplete" for a course grade is stated on the Report of Incomplete Grade form as follows:

The University policy for issuing an “Incomplete” grade is stated in the University Catalogs. An “Incomplete” can only be awarded at the end of the semester when all but a minor portion of the course has been satisfactorily completed, and when the student is unable to finish due to extremely unusual circumstances and/or exceptional hardship. The grade of “I” is not to be awarded in place of a failing grade or when a student is expected to repeat the course; in such a case, the appropriate grade must be assigned. Students should make arrangements with the instructor to receive an “Incomplete” grade before the end of the semester. After the course work is completed, the instructor will assign the appropriate grade through the Instructor Center Grade Roster system.

Consistent with University policy and for additional clarification, the Wyant College of Optical Sciences suggests the following additional items for instructors and students to consider when determining whether or not to submit or accept a grade of incomplete for a course:

  • The Report of Incomplete Grade form has important rules regarding incomplete grades that must be read and agreed to by the student and the instructor.  The form must be filled out and submitted to the Wyant College of Optical Sciences graduate advisor when an incomplete is submitted for a student at the end of a semester.
  • In the above policy statement, "extremely unusual circumstances and/or exceptional hardship" should be taken seriously.  Such examples would be if the student falls seriously ill, is in an accident, or has a family emergency during the semester, either near the end of the course and is unable to complete the course due to illness, or earlier in the semester and is unable to catch up (but still completes most coursework).
  • The instructor should consistently apply their criteria for submitting an incomplete to all students in the class.  If many students all fall seriously ill at the end of the semester, for example, and cannot take the final exam, the instructor should be consistent in their use of the incomplete for all of these students.  
  • A grade of incomplete will typically not be used in cases where a student has not endured unusual hardship, and would simply like additional time to complete coursework such as extra time to prepare for the final exam. The instructor should keep in mind that if such a request is granted to this one student, the same request would need to be granted to all students in the class if requested.
  • In instances where a grade of incomplete is submitted for a student, and the student does not submit all graded course materials or does not take one or more exams for the course, the instructor may insist that the student take the exams or complete the work in the following year's course instead (without registering for the course).  If this approach is to be taken, the instructor and the student should discuss an alternate plan if the course is not offered the following year.  The instructor is also not obligated to give the student the same exams at a later date as were given when the student took the course, OR to create new equivalent exams for the student, but the instructor may choose to pursue either option.  
  • While certain circumstances such as serious illness, accident, or family emergency may be examples of when an incomplete grade may be submitted at the discretion of the instructor, consistent with university policy, many other cases may be more in a "gray zone."   The instructor has discretion over the incomplete policy for their classes, and whether or not to submit an incomplete; the instructor is not obligated to submit a grade of incomplete at the request of a student, and alternative actions may also be considered.   In cases of illness immediately before the final exam, for example, rather than submitting an incomplete an instructor may opt to use the average of previous exam grades as the final exam grade in order to submit a final course grade on time as required by university policy.  In all cases, the course instructor must ensure that grading policies are consistently applied across their class. 
  • Special considerations regarding Incompletes for Non-degree Seeking Graduate Students enrolled in OPTI courses:  It is the policy of the Wyant College of Optical Sciences that non-degree seeking students must obtain department and instructor permission to enroll in OPTI courses.  Additionally, if a non-degree seeking student has received a grade of C or lower in any two OPTI graduate-level courses, or a grade of D or lower in a single OPTI graduate-level course, the student MUST obtain the permission of Optical Sciences Associate Dean for Graduate Academic Affairs to enroll in further OPTI graduate courses.  The student must also obtain such permission if they have an unresolved incomplete in an OPTI course, in which case the Associate Dean may discuss the student's situation with the course instructor in order to help determine continued permission to take OPTI courses until the incomplete is resolved.    See related information in the last section of the web page here regarding non-degree seeking students enrolled in OPTI courses.