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This document presents the policy on grades and other formal evaluations of students' performance in all facets of the School of Professional Psychology (SOPP) program. The program explicitly subscribes to the comprehensive evaluation of student competence. Accordingly, for the purpose of this policy, the SOPP program includes course work, supervised professional practice, dissertation and Comprehensive Clinical Examination (CCE) requirements, the internship requirement and professional role development of students. In addition, this document details the consequences of professional performance that is below satisfactory or expected levels and provides the procedures for appealing grades, performance evaluations and any actions taken by the Faculty as a consequence of unsatisfactory professional performance.
The Grading System and Expected Performance Levels
A.1: The current grading system
- A: Outstanding quality work. Above expectancy.
- B: Meeting expectancies in a satisfactory manner.
- C: Unsatisfactory Performance. Failure to achieve at the expected level.
- D: Significantly below expectancy.
- F: Clear failure to achieve at even a minimal level.
- P (Pass): Permanent grade that indicates acceptable or passing performance in a course, seminar, lab or other educational experience graded on a pass (P)/unsatisfactory (U) basis. A grade of P may also indicate proficiency for students who, by arrangement with an instructor, demonstrate proficiency in a content area or skill in lieu of taking a course. Both Supervised Experience (PSI 9971 - PSI 9974) and Internship (PSI 9990) are graded on a Pass (P)/ Unsatisfactory (U) basis. In addition, Practice Tutorial (PSI 9080), Professional Dissertation (PSI 9980) as well as some elective courses and laboratories are graded on a P/U basis.
- X: Permanent grade indicating that a student did not complete a course or officially withdrew. An X grade carries 0 points per credit hour.
- XU: Student attended or participated in a P/U graded class course effort but did not complete the course or officially withdraw.
- U (Unsatisfactory): grade of U is a permanent grade indicating failure to perform at a satisfactory or expected level. Both Supervised Experience (PSI 9971-PSI 9974) and Internship (PSI 9990) are graded on a P/U basis. In addition, Practice Tutorial (PSI 9080) and Professional Dissertation (PSI 9980) as well as some elective courses and laboratories are graded on a P/U basis.
- NU: No record that the student attended or participated in course effort for a P/U graded class – Student did not attend or officially withdraw.
- I (Incomplete): Temporary grade indicating that a student has not completed some of the assignments or required work in a course, seminar or lab and that prior arrangements have been made with the instructor for the timely completion of all requirements. An Agreement for the Grade of Incomplete Form must be signed and submitted by the course, seminar or lab instructor at the time the grade sheet is submitted. Please note that instructors should not assign a grade of Incomplete (I) when a student has submitted work that is not satisfactory in quality or when a student has not made prior arrangements to complete required assignments. In these circumstances, the instructor should assign a letter grade or other permanent grade indicating failure to complete course requirements. A grade of Incomplete which is not resolved prior to the last day of the semester following the semesterr in which the Incomplete was assigned will be changed by the Faculty member to a grade of F. In the case of curricular offerings graded on Pass/Unsatisfactory (P/U) basis, the Faculty member who assigned the grade of I will change it to a grade of U. Students should note that once a grade of Incomplete has changed to a grade of F (or U), the grade is a permanent one and will remain on the transcript. If this circumstance arises, the student may retake the course in its entirety and obtain another grade when the course is retaken (See Section B.2). Nonetheless, once the permanent grade of F (or U) is on the transcript, that grade is considered an indication of unsatisfactory professional performance and could be cause for a range of actions on the part of the Faculty , including termination from the program (See Section B, Consequences of Unsatisfactory Professional Performance)
- W (Withdrew): Withdrew—students may drop a class or withdraw from the university based on the university’s approved academic calendar. May also be assigned on the basis of a successful petition to withdraw.
- W: No report--instructor did not report a grade.
A.2: Coursework and Training Experiences Outside the SOPP Program
SOPP students have opportunities to take coursework or engage in training experiences in departments, schools or programs outside the SOPP. Nonetheless, all required and elective courses counted toward the Psy.D. degree must be taken in the SOPP curriculum, with the following exceptions: students with prior graduate training in psychology may request credit transfer for some of SOPP’s required or elective courses and, if transfer of credit is granted, these credits will be counted toward the degree. Students may not substitute any course or training experience outside the SOPP for any of SOPP’s required or elective courses, practicum experiences or other program requirements. Similarly, students may not use coursework or training experiences in a program, department or school outside the SOPP to remediate unsatisfactory performance in any course, practicum or other requirement in the SOPP program.
Students must be approved to engage in coursework or other training opportunities outside the SOPP, including involvement in certificate programs or other degree programs. Students wanting to be approved to pursue outside education or training should contact the Office of Academic Affairs to obtain the forms for the academic advisor to review and sign. Once the approval of the academic advisor has been obtained, the forms should be returned to the Office of Academic Affairs for the approval of the Associate Dean.
Any unsatisfactory or unacceptable performance in a department, program, school or training program outside the SOPP will be treated in the same manner as performance deficits exhibited in the SOPP program (see Section B, below).
A.3: Expected Performance Level
The expected level of performance for students will be reflected in the attainment of a grade of B or P in all facets of the program in which grades are assigned, including required and elective courses and labs, Professional Development (PSI 8080) and Practice Tutorial (PSI 9080) Seminars, Professional Dissertation (PSI 9980), Practicum PSI 9971 - PSI 9974) and Internship (PSI 9990). Grades of C or below, including a grade of U, are considered failing grades and indicators of unacceptable performance. In addition, evaluations indicating less than acceptable performance levels on the Comprehensive Clinical Examination (CCE) or on either the oral or written evaluation of the dissertation are considered unacceptable. Students who believe that their performance evaluations in any aspect of the program, are not accurate may appeal these evaluations (see Section C below). As noted above, the SOPP program is defined as all formal program requirements which are part of the School's curriculum as approved by the Faculty. These include course work, practicum, dissertation and Comprehensive Clinical Examination requirements, the internship requirement and related professional role development of students. Unacceptable performance, or a pattern of unacceptable performance, in any or all aspects of the program may result in requirements for remediation, probation, or an immediate hearing for termination from the program (see section B below).
A.4: Grading of Required and Elective Courses and Labs
With few exceptions, student performance in all required and elective courses and labs is evaluated on a letter grade basis. The exceptions are Professional Development (PSI 8080), Practice Tutorial (PSI 9080), Professional Dissertation (PSI 9980), Practicum (PSI 9971-PSI 9974), and Internship (PSI 9990), all of which are graded on a Pass (P)/Unsatisfactory (U) basis. Instructors may petition the Curriculum Committee if they wish to deviate from these standard grading formats.
A.5: Grading of Supervised Experience (PSI 9971-PSI 9974)
Grading for Practicum (PSI 9971-PSI 9974) is on a Pass (P)/ Unsatisfactory (U) scale and is managed through the Office of Clinical Training (OCT). (Details concerning the assignment of grades for PSI 9971-PSI 9974 are provided in the Practicum section under the SOPP Academic Policies and Procedures.
A.6: Grading of Internship (PSI 9990)
Grading for Internship (PSI 9990) is on a Pass (P)/ Unsatisfactory (U) scale and is managed through the Office of Clinical Training (OCT). Procedures and standards for the assignment of grades for Internship are outlined in the Internship section under the SOPP Academic Policies and Procedures.
A.7: Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)
To remain in good standing in the program, students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher. Students whose grade point average falls below a 3.00 will automatically be placed on probation for the following semester, based on the Graduate School's policy. In addition, students whose GPA falls below 3.00 may lose scholarships, tuition waivers and other sources of financial aid. Failure to improve the grade point average to at least a 3.00 within one semester will result in dismissal from the program.
A.8: Temporary Grades
As noted above, temporary grades are grades of M and I. To remain in good standing in the program, students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher. Students whose grade point average falls below a 3.00 will automatically be placed on probation for the following semester, based on the Gaduate School's policy. In addition, students whose GPA falls below 3.00 may lose scholarships, tuition waivers and other sources of financial aid. Failure to improve the grade point average to at least a 3.00 within one semester will result in dismissal from the program.
B.: Consequences of Unsatisfactory Professional Performance
Unsatisfactory or unacceptable performance in any facet of the SOPP program, including coursework, Practicum, Professional Dissertation and Comprehensive Clinical Examination (CCE) requirements, the internship requirement and related professional role development of students may result in a faculty review of the student’s plan of study that might result in placement of the student on a special remedial plan (see B.2-B.6 below), placement of the student on probation (see B.1 below), or a hearing for termination from the program (see B.7 below). The Associate Dean also may impose an emergency suspension when a student’s behavior poses a significant threat to the safety of others or threatens to disrupt the educational process of the School or University (see separate policy on Professional Integrity and Conduct of Students). In addition, unsatisfactory or unacceptable performance in any program of study outside the SOPP, whether in another department or school at Wright State University, or in a program or training experience outside the university, will be treated in the same manner, in terms of the consequences detailed above, as performance deficits exhibited in the SOPP. Students taking coursework outside the SOPP must also understand that any remediation of unsatisfactory performance will be dictated by the policies and procedures of the outside program in which the unsatisfactory performance was exhibited. The SOPP will not be responsible for remediating unsatisfactory performance in any course, educational or training experience outside the School.
Placement of a student on probation indicates that the student has not successfully met SOPP program expectations or requirements. There are many ways in which a student may be placed on probation. For example, when a student receives two unsatisfactory grades or performance evaluations (e.g., coursework, practicum, dissertation, CCE, and internship, and required professional role development, the student will be automatically placed on academic probation. (see section B.7 below). In addition, a hearing for termination conducted as a result of unsatisfactory professional performance or violation of any SOPP or university policy by a student may result, in part, in the student’s being placed on probation in lieu of his or her being terminated from the program. Finally, by university policy, students’ whose grade point average falls below 3.00 are automatically placed on probation. Students must raise the grade point average to 3.00 or better within two terms; failure to do so results in automatic dismissal from the University.
Probation represents a change in a student’s status in the program. Typically, it represents an intermediary step between good standing and termination from the program (see section B.7 below). A student who is on probation is not considered in good standing in the program. When a student is placed on probation a formal probationary plan will be developed by the Associate Dean and the student’s advisor that specifies the time period over which the probationary status will extend as well as any requirements that must be met for the probationary status to be lifted and the student to be returned to good standing in the program. The probationary plan must be approved by the vote of a majority of the Core Faculty. In addition, a majority of the Core Faculty must approve any modifications to, or departures from the approved probationary plan, and removal of the student from probationary status requires the approval of a majority of the Core Faculty. A student who is on probation may not apply for the Psy.M. degree until the formal probationary remedial plan is completed and the student is returned to good standing in the program. In addition, a student who has been placed on probation will not be permitted to enroll in coursework or other training outside the SOPP, start or apply for internship, sit for the CCE, serve as a teaching assistant, serve as a volunteer on faculty research or service projects, represent students on SOPP committees, or represent SOPP to the University or the larger professional/academic community. For a student on probation, any further instance of unsatisfactory performance in any aspect of the program, including violation of School or University policies, will result in an immediate hearing for termination from the program.
B.2: Course Remediation: Required Courses
Required courses are those courses that are intended to develop basic competency in the knowledge, attitudes, and skills fundamental to psychological practice. Because mastery of the required courses is essential to satisfactory performance in practicum (PSI 9971 - PSI 9974 or PSI 9990), all required courses must be taken in the SOPP unless course credit transfer from another graduate program is granted prior to entry to the SOPP program; with the sole exception of approved credit transfer from a prior graduate program, no coursework taken outside the SOPP curriculum may be substituted for a required SOPP course. Similarly, neither SOPP directed studies (PSI 9950) nor any form of independent study may be substituted for a required course in the SOPP curriculum.
All required courses must be passed with a grade of B (or P) or better. (As noted in Section A.6 above, required coursework in Professional Development, Practice Tutorial and Professional Dissertation is graded on a P/U basis). Performance below a grade of B (or P) in any required course must be remediated until it is determined that the student has sufficiently mastered the material to be able to proceed with the curriculum. Required courses that are considered prerequisites for Practicum (PSI 9971-PSI 9974) must be completed in a satisfactory manner or successfully remediated prior to the initial placement on clinical practicum. Required courses must be completed satisfactorily and the requirements of the Comprehensive Clinical Examination must be met in a satisfactory manner prior to the Internship Readiness Review. (See the complete list of requirements for Internship Readiness in the Internship section under the SOPP Academic Policies and Procedures.
After assigning a grade of C or lower in a required course, a faculty member must file a Remediation Plan with the Office of Academic Affairs no later than the third week of the subsequent academic term. The Remediation Plan may take many forms including, but not limited to, requiring the student to: retake the course in its entirety, retake a portion of the course, retake examinations, rewrite papers or complete a special project to demonstrate proficiency in the content area. Once the student has completed the remedial plan, the instructor will inform the Office of Academic Affairs in writing. Failure to successfully remediate a required course will result in a full review of the student’s professional performance by the Faculty and may be grounds for an immediate hearing for termination from the program (See section B.7.a, below). When a remediation plan requires a student to retake the required course in its entirety, the course number and the grade earned when the course is retaken will appear on the transcript and the new grade will be included in the GPA. It is important to note, however, that the original grade will also remain on the transcript and will be included in (and not removed from) the GPA. Students may not remediate a required SOPP course by taking a course in another program in the University or in any program outside the SOPP. If remediation does not require retaking the course in its entirety, only the grade earned when the course was originally taken will appear on the transcript and this grade will be included in the GPA.
B.3: Remediation of Practicum
Remediation is required if a student is not judged to be performing at the program's expected levels of competence in Practicum (PSI 9971-PSI 9974). Unsatisfactory performance may be indicated on the Training Progress Report (TPR) or in other written communications between the supervisor and the Director of Clinical Training and the student. Remediation will be required when ratings on the TPR indicate unsatisfactory overall performance, when performance in any domain(s) evaluated on the TPR is judged to be unsatisfactory, and/or when other written evaluation from the supervisor indicates unsatisfactory performance. Based on this information, a remedial plan will be developed by the Director of Clinical Training in consultation with the student’s practicum supervisor and academic advisor. The process of developing and monitoring remediation of Practicum is detailed in the Practicum section under the SOPP Academic Policies and Procedures. Failure to successfully remediate Practicum will result in an immediate hearing for termination from the program (see Section B.7.a, below).
B.4: Remediation of the Internship Requirement
Students who are not performing at expected levels of competence while on internship will be dealt with according to the policies and procedures of the internship site. Appeals of internship supervisor's evaluations, remedial plans developed, evaluation of performance on remedial plans and/or dismissal decisions should be directed to the Director of the Internship or elsewhere in accordance with the policies and procedures of the internship site. Students who are dismissed from an internship will be automatically reviewed for termination from the SOPP program.
B.5: Remediation of Elective Courses, and Other Program Requirements
Remediation of elective courses may be required if the Faculty determines that such is necessary for satisfactory completion of a particular student's program of study. In any event, if a student earns an unsatisfactory grade in an elective course and does not remediate, the elective course will not count toward graduation from the program. If a student remediates unsatisfactory performance in an elective course this will be reflected on the transcript and GPA in the same manner as described in section B.2 above for required courses. As with required courses, students may not remediate an SOPP elective course by taking a course in another program in the university or in any program outside the SOPP. Similarly, neither SOPP directed studies (PSI 9950) nor any form of independent study may be used to remediate an elective course in the SOPP curriculum. In addition, the Faculty may require remediation of any program requirement, e.g., all or portions of the Comprehensive Clinical Examination (CCE) or either or both of the written or oral portions of the Dissertation, if a student's performance is judged to be below acceptable standards. In these instances, the specific requirements for remediation and the means of documenting successful remediation are developed on a case-by-case basis.
B.6: Special Remedial Programs
In some instances, the Faculty may require the student to undertake more extensive remedial actions and/or to follow a special program of matriculation. Special programs are developed by the Associate Dean in consultation with the student and the Faculty. Special remedial programs must be approved by the vote of a majority of the Core Faculty. In addition, a majority of the Core Faculty must approve any modifications to, or departures from the approved special remedial program and a majority of the Core Faculty must approve a student’s successful completion of a special remedial program. Because special programs usually involve extensive remediation, continuance in the program is normally contingent on successful completion of the requirements of any special program of matriculation.
B.7: Termination from the Program
Unsatisfactory performance in any facet of the program, as indicated by a letter grade of C or below or other formal evaluation indicating unsatisfactory performance, may be cause for a student to be terminated from the program. Grades of U, D or F or evaluations indicating clear failure in any aspect of the program are particularly unacceptable and receipt of one of these grades or evaluations alone could result in a hearing to terminate the student from the program. With the exception of instances in which a single unacceptable evaluation results in a hearing for termination, a student who receives her or his first grade of C (or U) or below in a course, or a grade of U in an evaluation for Practicum (PSI 9971 - PSI 9974) or other performance evaluation will be provided with a formal plan for remediation and his or her performance will be fully reviewed at a regularly scheduled Faculty meeting, at a meeting for annual review of students or at a meeting of the Faculty scheduled for the purpose of reviewing a student's performance. Receipt of a second unsatisfactory grade, or a grade of U for Practicum (PSI 9971-PSI 9974) or other unsatisfactory performance evaluation, whether or not this or any prior unacceptable grade or evaluation was remediated, will result in the student being automatically placed on academic probation and provided with a remediation plan that is approved by the Core Faculty (see Section B.1, above). In any case, the cumulative receipt of three unacceptable grades or performance evaluations, whether remediated or not, will be viewed by the Faculty as a sustained pattern of unacceptable performance and will result in an immediate hearing to terminate the student from the program. A hearing to terminate a student from the program might be conducted at a regularly scheduled Faculty meeting, at a meeting for annual review of students or at a meeting of the Faculty scheduled for the purpose of reviewing a student's performance. When a hearing to terminate a student from the program is scheduled, the following procedures will be followed:
B.7.a: Faculty Hearings for Student Termination
Procedures: A hearing to terminate a student from the program requires the presence of a quorum of the Core Faculty and will be conducted according to the procedures outlined below:
- The student will be informed by the Associate Dean in writing and at least seven working days prior to the hearing, that the hearing has been scheduled. At the Associate Dean's discretion, the portion of the meeting devoted to the student termination hearing may be audio or video recorded (the faculty's deliberation of the issue will be private, confidential and not recorded).
- The student will be permitted to have a faculty advisor to assist in the review process. The faculty advisor may counsel the student and assist in preparing for the meeting. The faculty advisor may also assist in preparing an appeal. The faculty advisor may not directly question members of the Faculty during the meeting.
- The student will be permitted to address the Faculty and to present information bearing on the issue. The student may ask others to present information to the Faculty and the student may question Faculty members or others who are presenting information bearing on the issue.
- In considering whether to terminate a student from the program, the Faculty will conduct a complete review of the student's performance in all aspects of the program. The Associate Dean will coordinate this review as identified at the beginning of this section. To facilitate this review, the Associate Dean will compile a summary of the student’s professional performance while in the program. This summary will be disseminated to the Core Faculty prior to the hearing. At least five working days prior to the date of the hearing, the student must provide the Associate Dean with several pieces of information related to the hearing. If the student fails to submit any of these within the five working day deadline, she or he loses the opportunity to have them available for the hearing. First, the student should provide the Associate Dean with any written information or formal written statement(s) the student would like disseminated to the Faculty prior to the hearing. To avoid duplication of effort, confusion and disorganization, all materials disseminated to the Core Faculty prior to the hearing will be disseminated by the Associate Dean. The student should not send information directly to the members of the Faculty prior to the hearing. At least five working days prior to the hearing, the student should also inform the Associate Dean if s/he would like to address the Faculty personally or would like to invite other individuals to present information on the issue. Finally, the student should inform the Associate Dean if s/he will have a Faculty advisor present and who that individual will be.
- After all information has been presented in the hearing, the Faculty will deliberate privately and decide whether to terminate the student. Comments made by Faculty during discussion of the student’s performance and deliberation shall remain strictly confidential. A decision to terminate a student from the program must receive the approval of two thirds of the Core Faculty present at the hearing.
- The Associate Dean will communicate the decision to the student, in writing, within seven working days of the date the decision is made.
B.7.b: Further Appeals Process
The student may appeal the faculty’s decision to the Dean of the School if she or he believes new information has come to light that was not presented in the hearing, but that bears directly on the issue that was the focus of the termination hearing, or if she or he believes either that she or he was not granted due process or that her or his rights were otherwise violated in the hearing. The mere fact that a student dislikes or disagrees with the outcome of a hearing is not sufficient grounds for an appeal (see Section C.2 below).
C.: Appeal Processes
A student may appeal a course grade, practicum evaluation and any other formal evaluation made by faculty members in connection with the CCE, dissertation or other program requirement when he or she believes that the grade or other evaluation was made on grounds that reflected a violation of the grading or evaluation procedures, unfairness, inaccuracy in grading or evaluation, a bias, discrimination or other violation of students' rights. The mere fact that a student is not happy with or disagrees with a particular grade or evaluation does not constitute adequate grounds for making a formal appeal of the grade or evaluation. Students appealing grades or other formal evaluations made by faculty members are required to be very clear and explicit about the grading or evaluation violation that has occurred, and how this placed her or him at an unfair disadvantage relative to other students so graded or evaluated. The process and procedures for these appeals are provided below:
C.1: Appealing a Course Grade, Practicum Evaluation or Other Formal Evaluation
A student who decides to appeal a course grade or other formal evaluation, including formal evaluations associated with the practicum, and the Comprehensive Clinical Exam (CCE), the dissertation requirement or other program requirement must first make a good-faith effort to appeal directly to the course instructor, clinical supervisor or other Faculty member(s) responsible for the grade or evaluation. If the issue is not resolved at this level, appeal can be made to the Associate Dean. Appeal of the grade or other evaluation made by the Dean will be appealed to the Provost. Appeal of grades or other evaluations by the Associate Dean should be directed to the Dean, who will render a decision.
Appeal must be made within 30 days of the student's receipt of the grade or evaluation or the right to appeal will be forfeited. The student initiates the appeal process by submitting a written appeal. As noted above, the written appeal must be very clear and explicit about the grading or evaluation violation that has occurred, and how this placed the student at an unfair disadvantage relative to other students graded or evaluated in the same course, same or similar practicum experience, other educational experience, dissertation or CCE. The Associate Dean will render a decision in the matter following investigation and, at his/her discretion, consultation with other faculty members. The Associate Dean will respond to the appeal, in writing, within 60 days of receipt of the appeal. If the outcome of the appeal is a recommendation for a change in a grade or other formal evaluation, the Associate Dean will direct the faculty member(s) involved in the grading or evaluation to change the grade or modify the evaluation to reflect the outcome of the appeal. In all cases, faculty members directly involved in the appeal, as well as all core faculty members will be kept informed of the appeal process and outcome.
A student who believes that the outcome of the appeal reflected unfairness, inaccuracy, bias, discrimination or other gross violation of student rights may appeal the decision to the Dean of the School (see C.2 below). The Dean's decision in the matter will be final. (As noted above, a different appeals process is employed when the appeal involves a grade or evaluation made by the Dean.)
C.2: Appealing Faculty Decisions to the Dean
As noted above, students may appeal to the Dean any Faculty decisions concerning termination from the program (see B.7 above) as well as decisions concerning student-initiated appeals of course grades, practicum evaluations, remedial plans, and evaluations made in connection with the CCE and dissertation requirements (see C.1 above). As noted above, students must present a reason for the appeal; the mere fact that the student dislikes or disagrees with an evaluation or decision does not constitute sufficient grounds for an appeal.
The student must submit the appeal including clear and explicit reasons for the appeal, in writing, to the Dean. A written petition must be presented to the Dean within seven working days of receiving the letter notifying the student of the decision by the Associate Dean(s) or Faculty. The Dean will review the relevant documents and other information and the student will be informed, in writing, of the Dean's decision within 30 days of receipt of the appeal. Failure to appeal within the allotted time renders the decision final.
The Dean's decision is final in all instances except when the decision by the Faculty and/or the Dean is to terminate the student from the program. In instances of termination, and only in these instances, the student has the option of appealing the Dean's decision directly to the Provost of the University.
C.3: Appealing the Dean’s Decision to the University Provost
As noted above, students may appeal the Dean’s decision to the university Provost only in instances in which the decision is to terminate the student from the program. A written petition must be presented to the Provost within seven working days of receiving the letter notifying the student of the Dean's decision. As is true at all levels of the appeal process, clear and explicit reasons for the appeal must be detailed in the written document presented to the Provost. The Provost’s decision is final. Failure to appeal within the allotted time period renders the Dean's decision final.
Adopted by the Faculty 17 February 2010, updated 20 August 2012