Attendance, Grading, and Examination

Class Attendance Policy

(Maintained by the Education Policy Committee. Resolution 2018-1, passed on February 9, 2018)

This policy applies to University approved class absences (listed below). For final examination absences see the Policy on Final Examinations.

Regular class attendance is a student obligation. Students are responsible for all of their work, including assessments, tests, and written work, and for all class meetings. If a course instructor chooses to take attendance and sees that a student misses three or more consecutive class meetings or misses more classes than the course instructor thinks advisable, the instructor may report the facts to the student's advisor and/or academic dean.

No right or privilege exists that permits a student to be absent from any class meetings, except for these University Approved Absences:

  1. Authorized University activities
  2. Disability/religious observance/pregnancy, as required by law and approved by Accessibility Resources and Service and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC)
  3. Significant health condition and/or personal/family emergency as approved by the Office of the Dean of Students, Gender Violence Service Coordinators, and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC).

Instructors may work with students to meet attendance needs that do not fall within University approved absences. For situations when an absence is not University approved (e.g., a job interview or club activity), instructors determine their own approach to missed classes and make-up assessments and assignments.

The University's policy regarding University approved absences as well as the instructor's course-level policies are communicated to students via the instructor's course syllabus on the first day of class.

Students are encouraged to communicate with their instructors early about potential absences and are reminded that they are bound by the Honor Code when making a request for a University approved absence.

Make-up Coursework and Assessment

All students with University approved absences will be treated fairly and equitably, regardless of the reason for the absence.

Instructors will provide reasonable alternatives that permit course objectives and learning outcomes to be met. Alternatives may include a make-up exam, alternative assessment, an additional paper or project of equivalent intellectual effort, an electronically-mediated participation opportunity, a due date extension, or other option that allows students to demonstrate what they have learned without being penalized for the University approved absence. It is a University expectation that instructor be prudent, fair, and equitable when a students misses an assessment due to a University approved absence. Course policies should avoid inequities, including discrepancies in preparation time for in-class versus make-up exams, missed opportunities to take and learn from an assessment, and policies that penalize students who must use their dropped grade option for a University approved absence.

The Undergraduate Testing Center provides a secure, proctored environment for administration of makeup assessments, tests, and exams for undergraduate and graduate courses throughout each term. There are regularly scheduled session times each week in addition to the Center's traditional use during final exams time. Please see the center's web site for more information and instructions as well as teaching and learning resources provided by the Center for Faculty Excellence.

Final Examinations

(Maintained by the Education Policy Committee. Resolution 2017-5, passed on April 21, 2017; Resolution 2017-5.1, passed on May 15, 2017)

This policy applies to all undergraduate courses across the University.

Undergraduate courses taught on campus must include a final assessment of students’ mastery of course material (i.e., final examination) unless the provost grants an exception. A traditional final examination is administered at a predetermined time as specified in the official final examination schedule, and takes place at a designated location in Chapel Hill. Any other type of final examination is considered nontraditional.

The final examination schedule, announced prior to the beginning of the semester, sets the day and time for each examination. No examination may start later than 7:00 p.m. Once having been established, the schedule cannot be changed. Traditional final examinations must be held at the day and time shown on the schedule unless an exception is granted as described below.

Only the provost can grant exceptions to the scheduled day or time of a traditional examination, after review and approval by the appropriate department head and the dean. No examination (except for laboratory sections) may be held at a time other than that specified in the general schedule except with the advance approval of the provost.

A course instructor may, due to highly unusual circumstances, petition for a change in the examination schedule. The instructor must submit the request in writing to his or her chair no later than the last day of late registration for that term, and it must be cleared by the chair and the appropriate dean (e.g., Associate Dean, Academic Advising) before consideration by the provost. If the petition is approved, the course instructor assumes responsibility for making special arrangements to give the examination to any student who has a schedule conflict as a result of the change. This process only applies to requests to change a day or time for an individual section.

Requests to combine all sections of a specific course into one final exam day and time (regardless of the number of sections involved), is considered a request for a Common Hour exam and has an earlier deadline for submission. Requests for all common hour exams must be cleared by the chair or appropriate dean and approved by the provost. Requests for common hour exams must be made to the registrar the first week of February for fall semester final examinations and the first week of September for spring semester final examinations. There is no exception to this deadline.

No graded quizzes or exams (excluding in-class presentations) may be given during the last five days of the semester (last two days of the session for summer school) before the beginning of the final examination period.

For a standard three-credit-hour course, the University has a required three-hour final examination period, which includes 180 minutes of instruction in each semester (see UPM #29 – Definition of a Credit Hour). Thus, the University requires instructors to provide a full three hours of instruction for final assessment purposes (e.g., written final examination, presentations, portfolio review, performance, review and evaluation, or some combination of these assessments). It is up to the discretion of the instructor of record to determine the form, content, and function of the final examination (e.g., whether it is cumulative; whether it is a three-hour exam or a shorter exam preceded or followed by a period of review; etc.). A traditional final examination should not exceed a period of three hours. Only examinations requiring an exceptional portion of practical work should be longer than three hours (e.g., student teaching).

Chairs (i.e., heads of instructional units) must give permission for faculty members to use nontraditional examinations. Examples of nontraditional examinations include those requiring more than three hours to complete; or other final assessments such as a portfolio of a semester’s work, a final project, or a take-home examination. For multidisciplinary and cotaught courses, permission to give a nontraditional examination must be granted solely by the chair of the instructional unit in which the course is based. Even when faculty members have permission to administer nontraditional final examinations, the scheduled examination period must be utilized for instructional hours. The chair should submit to their academic dean’s office an annual summary of the exceptions that were granted.

Students who are absent from an examination receive a course grade of AB (absent), which is equivalent to F (zero quality points), or FA (absent and failing regardless of performance on the final examination). When students are unable, for reasons clearly beyond their control, to take a traditional final examination at the scheduled time, they can be excused only by the director of Campus Health Services or their academic dean (who can issue an “examination excuse”). An absence may be excused for severe health problems leading to the student’s placement on the Infirmary List by either Campus Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services, for significant personal or family circumstances, for religious observances required by the student’s faith, for a scheduling conflict involving multiple examinations at the same time, or when a student has three or more final examinations scheduled in 24 hours. In cases of illness, personal or family emergency, or religious observance, additional documentation may be required by the dean. Primary holy days for religious observances are noted on a Web-based interfaith calendar site. Students are responsible for providing the course instructor and the dean a written request for an excused absence from a final exam for a religious observance or for a scheduling conflict involving multiple examinations no later than the last day of classes. Students must be given the opportunity to make up final exams missed due to an excused absence.

For any University undergraduate courses offered entirely online or via other distance modalities, exams will be offered and must be completed during the scheduled final examination period, but requirements concerning the time of day and place of the exam will be appropriate to the course’s mode of delivery. Self-paced courses are exempt from both the time and place requirements of the exam policy and the requirement that exams be held during the scheduled final examination period.

Campus Health Services

Students who are seriously ill during the time of their final examination(s) (including complications related to pregnancy) should consult Campus Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services about having their names entered on the Infirmary List. In some cases, outpatient treatment can also result in a student’s name being entered on the Infirmary List. Students on the Infirmary List may obtain an official permit from the Office of the University Registrar to take the final examination to remove a grade of AB. They must make arrangements with their course instructor to take the final examination and provide the instructor with their official permit. If students are treated at Campus Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services but do not appear on the Infirmary List, they should see the dean of their college as soon as possible.

Academic Dean

If students know in advance that they must miss one or more final examinations because of illness, religious observance, or other serious problems, they should notify in writing both the course instructor and the dean of the school in which they are enrolled no later than the last day of classes. If this is not possible, they should see their dean as soon after the fact as possible. For students in the College of Arts and Sciences, only the associate dean for advising (or designee) is authorized to issue examination excuses for reasons other than three exams in 24 hours or two exams at the same time. For other students, only the dean of the school in which the student is enrolled has that authority. The dean may require documentation of a student’s religious observance, illness, or problems.

Assuming that a student did not take a final examination for one of the reasons previously cited, the dean will issue an official examination excuse, which the student must present to the course instructor when arrangements are made for a suitable time to take the final examination.

A student who has three final examinations scheduled by the Office of the University Registrar within a 24-hour period or two scheduled at the same time may request to his or her dean’s office for permission to have one of the scheduled examinations rescheduled. In the event that one of the scheduled examinations is a common final examination for a multiple-section course, that examination is the one to be rescheduled.

Students who have secured an examination excuse or an official permit and who transmit the document to the instructor or the instructor’s chair or dean must be granted permission to take the exam at an alternate time, although students will need to arrange a mutually convenient time with the instructor. Except when the provost has provided an exception in writing, the exam will be taken at a time subsequent to the regularly scheduled exam, though no later than the end of the following semester.

The final examination in any course may be taken only by regularly enrolled members of the class whose registration has been certified and by students certified to be eligible to take a special examination in that course. The certifying authority is the Office of the University Registrar.

Each student is required to sign a full and explicit Honor Code pledge certifying that he or she has neither given nor received aid during the examination.

Grading System

Permanent Letter Grades

A letter-grade and plus/minus system for evaluating academic performance is employed for all undergraduates. Each letter grade corresponds to a number of grade points. Each letter-graded course receives a numerical value of quality points (quality points equal grade points times semester credit hours per course) to use in determining a student’s average (per credit hour) in a particular term and to find a student’s cumulative grade point average (per credit hour).

A = 4.0 B- = 2.7 D+ = 1.3
A- = 3.7 C+ = 2.3 D = 1.0
B+ = 3.3 C = 2.0 F = 0.0
B = 3.0 C- = 1.7

To determine the grade point average for a term, first determine the total quality points earned in the term by multiplying the number of grade points awarded for each course by the course’s assigned number of semester credit hours and adding the resulting quality points earned for each course in the term. Then divide the total quality points earned in the term by the number of semester credit hours attempted (for letter grades) in the term.

Course Grade Grade Points x Credit Hours = Quality Points
Course A C+ 2.3 x 3.0 = 6.90
Course B B- 2.7 x 3.0 = 8.10
Course C B 3.0 x 4.0 = 12.00
Course D C- 1.7 x 3.0 = 5.10
Course E A- 3.7 x 1.0 = 3.70
Course F F 0.0 x 1.0 = 0.00
Course G A 4.0 x 3.0 = 12.00
Total quality points earned: 47.80
Total graded hours: 18.0
Term grade point average: 47.80 ÷ 18.0 = 2.656

Permanent grades are defined as follows:

A Mastery of course content at the highest level of attainment that can reasonably be expected of students at a given stage of development. The A grade states clearly that the student has shown such outstanding promise in the aspect of the discipline under study that he/she may be strongly encouraged to continue.
B Strong performance demonstrating a high level of attainment for a student at a given stage of development. The B grade states that the student has shown solid promise in the aspect of the discipline under study.
C A totally acceptable performance demonstrating an adequate level of attainment for a student at a given stage of development. The C grade states that while not yet showing any unusual promise, the student may continue to study in the discipline with reasonable hope of intellectual development.
D A marginal performance in the required exercises demonstrating a minimal passing level of attainment for a student at a given stage of development. The D grade states that the student has given no evidence of prospective growth in the discipline; an accumulation of D grades should be taken to mean that the student would be well advised not to continue in the academic field.
F For whatever reasons, an unacceptable performance. The F grade indicates that the student’s performance in the required exercises has revealed almost no understanding of the course content. A grade of F should warrant questioning whether the student may suitably register for further study in the discipline before remedial work is undertaken.

Grades earned and semester hours attempted at other institutions are not included in the calculation of the University grade point average.

Records of progress are kept by this institution on all students. Students can access official semester grades in ConnectCarolina at the end of the term.  Questions about access to student official grades or grade reporting should be directed to the Office of the University Registrar.

Temporary Grades (IN and AB) and FA Grades

Any student who ceases to attend a class without officially being dropped or withdrawn may receive a temporary grade of AB or IN or a permanent grade of FA.

Students who do not complete all requirements in a course by the end of the semester, but who could pass the course if they did, receive a temporary grade of IN (incomplete) or AB (absent from the final exam) in place of a permanent letter grade. Grades of IN and AB carry the value of an F grade (zero quality points) and are used in the computation of semester and cumulative grade point averages. Students who do not complete the course requirements within a specified period of time are assigned permanent F* grades on their academic transcripts by the Office of the University Registrar.

The instructor must report the grade of AB for any student who did not take the final examination and who, by taking the final examination, could pass the course. This AB grade carries the value of an F in computing the student’s cumulative and semester grade point average, and later converts to an F* unless the student arranges to take the final examination before the last class day of the next scheduled semester (fall or spring). If the student cannot pass the course regardless of a final examination performance, the instructor must report the grade FA. The grade of FA (cannot pass the class) is a permanent failing grade. A grade of F may be assigned instead of a temporary grade or a grade of FA when a final examination is not required in the course.

The grade IN may only be assigned by an instructor to a student who took the final examination in a course but did not complete some other course requirement (including signing the honor pledge) and who, by virtue of completing that missing work, might pass the course. An IN carries the value of an F (zero quality points) in computing a student’s cumulative and semester grade point average. Unless removed within eight weeks of the beginning of the regularly scheduled semester (fall or spring) following its assignment, an IN converts to an F*.

When submitting an AB or IN, an instructor must enter the grade on the instructor’s grade roster and must also complete a temporary grade assignment form available online through the Office of the University Registrar. The purpose of this form is to establish a record of what arrangements, if any, have been made between the student and instructor to clear the AB or IN.

Absence from a final examination may be officially excused only by the student’s dean or the director of Campus Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services. Please see “Final Examinations” above for information about final examination excuses.

Important Rules and Procedures Pertaining to AB and IN Grades

The decision to report an IN grade is solely the responsibility of the course instructor; however, a student may present proper justification for the instructor’s consideration.

Temporary grades should be cleared by completing the work outstanding, preferably no later than the start of the following semester. The deadline for clearing a temporary grade of AB is the last class day of the next regularly scheduled semester (fall or spring) after the AB grade is awarded. A temporary grade of IN must be cleared within the first eight weeks of the regularly scheduled semester (fall or spring) after the IN grade is awarded.

If students intend to remove IN or excused AB grades, they should not officially enroll in the course(s) during the next semester or summer session. If recommended by the course instructor, a student may attend by officially auditing a part of that instructor’s section of the course or another instructor’s section of the same course in which the temporary grade was awarded.

If a student enrolls in a course in which a temporary grade has been previously received, the second enrollment is taken as evidence that the student could not or is not permitted to remove the temporary grade. This results in replacing the temporary grade by F* after the deadline for removing the temporary grade. The grade earned during the second enrollment is also reported on the student’s academic transcript and is used along with the F* grade in the computation of a cumulative grade point average.

Other Grades and Notations

A notation of BE (By-Examination) is entered in the grade column of academic transcripts if students are awarded credit for a course as a result of evaluation by departmental, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or SAT II Subject Test examinations. BE credit confers credit hours and can be used to fulfill General Education requirements. For first-time, first-year students entering UNC–Chapel Hill in fall 2009 or thereafter, no more than two courses (six to eight credit hours) of BE credit can be applied to a major and no more than one course (three to four credit hours) of BE credit can be applied to a minor in the College of Arts and Sciences. BE credit may not be used to satisfy the requirement that students earn at least 12 or 18 hours of C or better grades in courses making up the minor or major respectively.

A notation of NG (no grade) is not used by individual instructors but rather is assigned by the Office of the University Registrar when a permanent grade is pending a judicial review by the Honor Court.

A notation of PL (placement) is entered in the grade column of academic transcripts if students are awarded exemption for a course as a result of an evaluation that would ordinarily place them in a succeeding course. PL does not confer credit hours.

There are some courses for which only a grade of PS (pass) or F (fail) can be awarded. For all other courses, students may opt to take a class on a Pass/Fail basis.

A grade of SP (satisfactory progress) may be used in the first course of a departmental undergraduate honors program. The honors program runs through two semesters, and a final grade is not reported until completion of the second course. When the final grade is reported, the previously assigned SP grade must be changed to the appropriate permanent letter grade by an official grade change form. Credit hours are awarded for the first honors course only after a letter grade replaces the SP grade. An SP grade is not computed in the grade point average.

A notation of W (withdrawn) is entered in the grade column of academic transcripts if students are permitted by their school to drop a course after the eighth week of classes or proportional equivalent for summer terms and other nonstandard enrollment periods. This notation is automatically entered unless the student’s academic dean specifies otherwise.

When a course is dropped between the second and eighth week of classes, a grade of WC (withdrawal by choice) shall be recorded and used internally for tracking and reporting purposes. For external purposes, a withdrawal by choice is equivalent to the W notation. Once recorded, a WC cannot be rescinded unless it is determined the student withdrawal was due to extenuating circumstances.

A notation of XF is entered to indicate that a student has not passed a course as the result of an Honor Court violation. The grade of XF can be replaced by a final grade of F if the student follows prescribed steps to remediate the violation.

A blank space or a grade of NR (not reported) is shown in the grade column when the instructor has not submitted the official grade for the student.

Repeating Course Enrollments

See Registration, Enrollment, and Withdrawal.

Grades Earned at Other Institutions

With the exception of courses taken via interinstitutional registration, grades earned and semester hours attempted at other institutions are not included in the computation of a grade point average at the University. A grade point average earned at another university may not be used to restore academic eligibility; however, academic hours earned at another university may be used to restore academic eligibility if the student is lacking only credit hours and has a satisfactory grade point average. Special rules regarding transfer courses apply; see Transfer of Credit and Academic Eligibility.

Grade Appeals

The grades of H, HP, P, LP, L, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, PS, F, FA, F*, and numerical grades in the Law School are considered permanent grades. Once reported, the instructor’s grade report may not be changed except under certain conditions. For a grade change to be considered, it must be based upon one or more of the following grounds and upon allegation that the ground or grounds cited influenced the grade assignment to the student’s detriment:

  • Arithmetic or clerical error
  • Arbitrariness, possibly including discrimination or harassment based on the race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of the student
  • Personal malice
  • Student conduct cognizable under the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance

A grade appeal must be made no later than the last day of classes for the succeeding fall or spring semester.

Grade Appeals Correcting a Clerical or Arithmetical Error

An instructor who has reported an incorrect grade for a student because of an error in calculating the grade, or in entering it on the official grade roster, may change the grade to one of the other letter grades, provided this change is made no later than the last day of classes of the succeeding fall or spring semester. Grade changes are submitted online using the Grade Change Request process, with electronic approvals required by the instructor, the department chair, and student’s dean’s office.

Other Grade Appeals

Any student who protests a course grade shall first attempt to resolve this disagreement with the instructor concerned. (As explained in the preceding paragraph, an instructor may change a permanent grade only when a clerical or arithmetical error is involved.) Failing to reach a satisfactory resolution, the student may appeal the grade in accordance with the procedures outlined below. Such appeal must be made no later than the last day of classes of the succeeding fall or spring semester.

Students should present the appeal in writing to the dean of their school (students in the College of Arts and Sciences must submit it in writing to the associate dean for advising). The dean will refer the appeal to the administrative board of his/her school, which will meet to consider whether the student has offered sufficient grounds for referring the appeal to the chair of the department concerned. If the administrative board determines that further review by the academic department is appropriate, the department chair will then appoint a committee to consider the appeal and will make a recommendation to the administrative board based on the committee’s findings. The administrative board will make the final decision, and no change of grade will be made except as a result of the decision by the board. The chair will report such decision to change the grade to the Office of the University Registrar.