Jul 18, 2024  
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Grades and Grading

Academic Integrity

Academic honesty is very important. It is dishonest to cheat on exams, to copy terms papers or to submit papers written by another person, to “fake” experimental results, or to copy parts of books or articles into your own papers without putting the copied material in quotation marks and clearly indicating its source. Students committing or aiding any of these violations may be given failing grades for an assignment or for an entire course, at the discretion of the instructor. In addition to any academic action taken by an instructor, these violations are also subject to action under the University of Maine Student Conduct Code. The maximum possible sanction under the student conduct code is dismissal from the University. For details concerning these policies and the avenues of appeal open to students contact the Division of Student Affairs.


The overall policy of the University is that students are responsible for attending all class meetings for courses for which they are registered. Each instructor determines the specific attendance policy for the course and makes it known to students. Instructors may assign a lower letter grade for failure to adhere to the attendance policy.

Students sometimes miss classes because of ill health, family emergency, or other reasons beyond their control. It is the student’s responsibility to notify instructors of the reasons for missing class and to make arrangements for making up missed work. If absences are extensive, even for legitimate reasons, it may be impossible to meet the objectives of the course.

Participation Policy for Online Courses

The University of Maine expects all students enrolled in online coursework to actively participate in the course. For fully asynchronous courses and for asynchronous elements of hybrid courses, “participation” is defined as the student’s virtual presence for, and participation in discussions, activities, and related forms of electronic contact occurring in a course’s learning environment(s): e.g. participation in on-line discussion about academic matters, podcast viewing, group writing sessions, whole class or one-on-one chat, completion of assignments. Broad discretion regarding the required frequency and quality of a student’s participation rests with the instructor of record and should be delineated in the course syllabus.

Final Examinations

At the end of each semester final examinations are held in most courses. Final examinations are held according to a published schedule and cannot be taken before the scheduled time. Students who are scheduled for four or more final examinations in one day may have an examination rescheduled through the Office of Student Records. A student who misses the regular examination at the end of a semester for a legitimate reason should make arrangements with the instructor to make up the examination.

Grading System

The University of Maine uses a letter-grade system ranging from A to F. Faculty members have the option of adding + (no A+) and - grades to the basic letter grades, but such fine distinctions may be inappropriate for many courses. Whatever the system used, it is important to understand that there is no University-wide equivalence between percentage grades (such as 80%) and letter grades (such as B). Each instructor makes these determinations according to the grading system described in the course syllabus.

The qualitative value of the five basic letter grades is defined as follows:

  • A, Superior work.
  • B, Good work.
  • C, Satisfactory but undistinguished work.
  • D, Poor work that does not adequately prepare students for more advanced work in the discipline. While some courses completed with D grades may contribute towards the total credits needed for graduation, others may be unacceptable for certain specific requirements and within the academic major.
  • F, Failure. No credit is earned for a failed course.  If student has not participated in at least half of the class, then the L grade is appropriate.

The grades A-F have the following numerical values used in calculating a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA):

                 A = 4.00 B = 3.00 C = 2.00 D = 1.00
  A- = 3.67 B- = 2.67 C- = 1.67 D- = 0.67
  B+ = 3.33 C+ = 2.33 D+ = 1.33 F = 0.00

The University uses a variety of grades on transcripts to designate special circumstances. These include:

  • AU, assigned only for courses taken under the audit option.
  • DG, deferred grade. This is used only for courses that extend beyond a single semester.
  • F*, for a course failed on the pass/fail grading option. No credit is earned and the GPA is not affected.
  • I, for “Incomplete.” This grade means that, in consultation with the student, the instructor has postponed the assignment of a final grade to allow the student to complete specific work not turned in before the end of the semester. Instructors assign the “I” grade only when they are persuaded that events beyond the student’s control prevented the completion of assigned work on time and when the student has participated in more than 50% of the class. If the incomplete work is not submitted within the time allotted by the faculty member, the grade will automatically be changed to an “F” grade. Students receiving an “I” grade are not allowed to re-register for the same course until the incomplete has been made up or converted to an “F” grade. A student receiving an “I” grade may not make up missed work by sitting-in on the course the next time it is taught. Refer to the Incomplete Grade and Graduation section below.
  • L, Failure for lack of participation. This grade indicates that a student participated in less than 50% of the class, but did not formally withdraw from the course. This grade counts the same as an F.
  • LP, Low Pass, for a course passed on the pass/fail grading option with a D+, D, or D-.  Credit is earned, but the grade point average (GPA) is not affected.
  • P, for a course passed on the pass/fail grading option with a C- or above. Credit is earned, but the grade point average (GPA) is not affected.
  • TH, final grade deferred. This is used only for the undergraduate thesis.
  • W, indicating that the student officially withdrew from the course.

Incomplete Grade and Graduation

A student is allowed to graduate with an “I” on the academic transcript only if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The course was taken no more than one academic year preceding graduation.
  2. The student has at least 120 credits of graded work.
  3. All college, department, and general education requirements have been satisfied.
  4. The incomplete when counted as an “F” grade does not reduce the accumulative grade point average below 2.0

No grade or incomplete grades remaining on the record at the time of graduation will subsequently be replaced by a regular grade on the official record. If the incomplete work is made up following graduation but within the regularly allowable time period, the grade(s) will be noted at the end of the transcript and will not affect the grade point average which was in effect at the time of graduation.

Grading Options

Students select one of three grading options for each course at the time of registration.

  • Grade option. This is the option normally selected. It results in a grade (A-F) upon completion of the course. Courses in the major and courses meeting general education requirements must be taken for A-F grades.
  • Pass/Fail option. Students may take a limited number of courses Pass/Fail. Students passing the course receive the P or LP grade and degree credit; students failing the course receive the F* grade and no degree credit. Neither grade affects the student’s grade point average. The purpose of the Pass/Fail option is to encourage students to take elective courses outside their area of expertise by allowing them to do so without risk to their GPA. Students taking Pass/Fail courses may be ineligible for some academic awards, or for selection as Valedictorian or Salutatorian. The following restrictions apply to use of the Pass/Fail option:
    • Students must have sophomore standing or higher and have a grade point average of at least 2.0 to register for a course Pass/Fail
    • No more than one course per semester may be taken Pass/Fail
    • The Pass/Fail option is not allowed for courses used to fulfill program requirements for the major, for the college, or for general education
    • Students normally select the Pass/Fail option when registering, but have until the end of the add/drop period for the course to change to the Pass/Fail option or back to the Grade option. 
  • Audit option. Students registered to audit a course attend class meetings but usually do not take exams or complete formal assignments. No grade is assigned and no degree credit is earned for an audited course, but full tuition is charged. The Audit option is appropriate only under special circumstances, and should only be used upon the advice of an academic advisor.
  • Courses may be changed from the Grade or Pass/Fail option to the Audit option before the date specified in the Academic Calendar with the approval of an academic advisor and the student’s dean.  A student cannot change from an Audit to a grade beyond the add period for that class.

Deferred Grades for Honors Students

Students who are registered for Honors Directed Study (HON 498) and Honors Thesis (HON 499) have the option to receive a deferred grade (“T”) while they are working on the Honors thesis. Students will not be allowed to graduate with a “T” grade.  Students who have not completed their thesis work in the time frame allowed to complete graduation requirements, will be contacted by the Honors College and will either apply for graduation at a later date, or will be given a grade for the work that has been done and the student will graduate without Honors.

Grade Reports

Students may access their course grades via the Internet using MaineStreet. Course grades are available as they are received from instructors and processed following final exams.

Considerable care is taken to ensure that all grades entered on a student’s permanent record are accurate. Any student who suspects an error in a grade should contact the course instructor without delay. Records are considered to be correct if a student does not report errors to the Office of Student Records within six months of the completion of a course.

Appealing Grade Assignments

The University of Maine has formal procedures by which students may appeal the assignment of grades by an instructor, accusations of cheating or plagiarism, or certain aspects of classroom procedure. The details of these appeal processes can be found in the online Student Handbook. 

Repeat Policy

A student may repeat a course regardless of the grade or grades previously earned in that course. Full tuition is charged each time a course is repeated, but credit for a given course may be earned only once, even if the course is passed more than once. Only the most recent grade earned in a repeated course counts towards the accumulative grade-point average, even if the most recent grade is lower than one previously received for that course. When a repeated course is failed, any previously earned credit for that course is lost. The grades for all attempts of a course taken for credit appear on the student’s transcript. Students will normally only be permitted to repeat a course twice, i.e. take the course for a maximum of three times, regardless of grade. Please note that there may be Student Financial Aid implications for repeating a course more than once after the student has earned a passing grade.

There may be limitations on the number of times that specific courses may be repeated in specific programs. Students should contact their academic advisor, the associate dean of their college or their program director about such limitations, and to discuss the advisability of repeating a course if they are eligible. Repeating a course may affect financial aid eligibility. Federal regulations limit financial aid funds to paying for one repetition only of a previously passed course even if a higher grade is still needed to advance in the academic program or is required for a subsequent course.