Student Handbook

Grading & Progress Policies

Students are evaluated on skill and theory in each program during the academic term. Progress reports, attendance records, and work evaluations are maintained on each student in the Banner system. Students' files are maintained electronically in the College's Student Services Office.

Instructors shall have a course outline/curriculum that stipulates the customary length of time for a module of study. Instructors shall consult with their advisory committees on their course outline/curriculum. Student Services personnel shall communicate the concept of pace/progress to new enrollees during orientation. Instructors shall communicate their program’s specific pace/progress schedule to every incoming student. Instructors shall inform all students, existing and new, of the grading policy.

Since all occupational training offered in the area Colleges involves technical knowledge and occupational and employability skills, students are encouraged to apply themselves to achieve success in their chosen vocational objective.


Academic and Readmission Policy

 I. Student Attendance

 A. The nature of the programs at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology is such that it is necessary for every student to attend regularly. Excessive interruptions due to absences will have an adverse effect on student progress.

 1. A full-time student enrolled for a full term (432 hours) and that has been absent for more than 5.5% (24 hours) of the scheduled hours enrolled, will receive written communication alerting the student to the number of hours remaining prior to suspension. Available community and institutional resources will be shared to assist students with attendance issues. The number of hours of absence triggering notification must be prorated for all part-time students and full-time students enrolled for less than a full term.

2. When a full-time student enrolls for a full term (432 hours) and has absences exceeding 9.7% (42 hours) of the scheduled hours enrolled, that student will be suspended. A student suspended for attendance may appeal the suspension in writing to the president within three (3) days of receiving notification of the suspension. A student appealing suspension of attendance may remain in class until the suspension has been reviewed. The number of hours triggering suspension must be prorated for all part-time and full-time students enrolled for less than a full term.

3. A student is considered tardy if not in the classroom at the designated time for class to start. Multiple tardies will result in the following discipline:

a. Five (5) tardies: Student will be given a written warning by instructor.

b. Six (6) tardies: Student will be placed on probation by the president or the president's designee.

c. Seven (7) tardies: Student will be referred to the president and may be suspended.

 4. An attendance record for each student shall be maintained in the student information system.

B. When a student misses three (3) consecutive days without contacting the college, that student may be presumed to have withdrawn from the college.

II.  Exceptions for Suspension Due to Student Attendance

A. In individual cases of extenuating circumstances, the president may make exceptions to the requirement of suspension or presumed withdrawal due to absences. The circumstances warranting such exceptions should be fully documented.

III. Student Progress

A. Evaluations of student achievement toward a program's identified occupational competencies are recorded for each student at the end of 432 hours of instruction that comprise a term. Those evaluations shall be based on the following scale of progress:

  • A = 90 – 100
  • B = 80 – 89
  • C = 70 – 79
  • D = 60 – 69
  • F = 0 – 59
  • P = Pass
  • CONT = Continuing/Incomplete
  • W = Withdrew

 B. Grades for courses will be determined as described in course syllabi. Students will be graded in the following categories:

1. Skill Proficiency

2. Theory/Related Information

IV.  Prior Learning Assessment/Transfer Credit

A. Each TCAT will establish a process for prospective students to submit prior learning or transfer credit for review by an instructor in the student’s selected program of study. The process will be advertised to all students and will be outlined in the student handbook.

B. Transfer credit for previous training from other institutions or prior learning experience may be given credit toward program completion requirements upon demonstration of common competencies. Students requesting credit for prior education/training or experiences may do so through two sources of prior credit that can be reviewed by instructors for recommendation for the student to receive credit towards a course in a TCAT program of study.

1. Credit from a sister TCAT institution.

2. Credit from all other institutions, work experiences, certifications, etc.

C. For the purpose of GPA, the prior learning or transfer credit will appear on the student’s transcript. A grade of ‘TP’ for Transfer--Full Course Credit or ‘TC’ for Transfer—Partial Course Credit will be assigned and will not be included in the GPA calculation.

D. Transfer credit provisions are set by each technical college in keeping with best practice guidelines. As such, transfer of prior credit is limited in a number of areas. For example,

1. the number of hours that may be transferred,

2. in equivalency of requirements,

3. the procedures for acceptance of transfer credits, including GPA requirements,

4. the period in which courses may be taken and time limits on work varies by institution,

5. department and academic program.

V. Grade Point System

A. The following grade point system is to be used in grade point average (GPA):

  • A: 4 points per customary clock hour
  • B: 3 points per customary clock hour
  • C: 2 points per customary clock hour
  • D: 1 point per customary clock hour
  • F: 0 points per customary clock hour

B. The grade point average is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of customary clock hours for the courses which the student attempted. Customary clock hours in courses from which the student withdraws or in which the student receives grades such as pass/fail are not considered when determining the GPA.

C. Finally, a single student transcript will include term and cumulative GPA calculations. The cumulative calculation will be used in determining the required GPA for graduation, honors, and financial aid eligibility. The term calculation will be used when determining suspension.

D. For the purpose of increasing mastery in a course when such is necessary for program progression or for the purpose of increasing the GPA, institutions may permit students to repeat courses in which their final grades are C or lower. Allied Health programs may outline specific repeat course guidelines in their respective Allied Health student handbook.

E. In computing the GPA, the question of how to count repeat courses must be specifically addressed in the Student Handbook of each institution. In the event a student repeats a course, the repeat course grade is calculated into, and the original grade is excluded from the GPA. If courses are repeated more than twice (three attempts), GPA is calculated using the third attempt and all subsequent attempts.

VI. Retention Standards

A. GPA TCATs

1. A student who fails during any term to attain a cumulative GPA at or above the level indicated below for the customary clock hours attempted or the average grade per course will be placed on suspension at the end of the term.

a. Standards:

I. A student must earn a "D" (60) or better per course for each term and an overall 2.0 GPA or better per term.

II. Allied Health Programs require a "B" (80) or better per course for each term.

III. Truck driving programs require a "B" (80) or better per course for each term.

2. Additional retention standards for specific programs may be established by the college based on accreditation or licensing requirements applicable to a program.

VII. Readmission from Suspension for Grades or Attendance

A. The president may consider for readmission the applicant who has been suspended.

B. Criteria that the president will consider in assessing candidacy for readmission are as follows:

1. Assessment of the candidate's willingness to address those deficiencies that contributed to the prior suspension, and

2. Assessment of the likelihood that the readmitted student may succeed in pursuing their training objective.

Grading and Progress for All Programs (except Nursing & Truck Driving)

Grade Scale (except Nursing & Truck Driving)

A (90-100) F (0-59)
B (80-89) P = Pass
C (70-79) CONT = Continuing/Incomplete
D (60-69) W = Withdrew

Each student will be evaluated on a term basis. The term grade report will reflect each student's progress in the categories of Skill Proficiency and Related Information (theory).

A student must maintain a "D" or better average per course code and an overall combined average of a "C" or better for the 72-day period of instruction, which comprises a term. Failure to maintain the required grade average will result in suspension at the end of the term. Additional retention standards for specific programs may be established based on accrediting or licensing requirements.

Pace/Progress: Instructors shall have a course outline/curriculum that stipulates the customary length of time for a module of study. Instructors shall consult with their advisory committees on their course outline/curriculum. Student Services personnel shall communicate the concept of pace/progress to new enrollees during orientation. Instructors shall communicate their program's specific pace/progress schedule to every incoming student. Instructors shall create and maintain a grading system whereby those students not maintaining the stated pace/progress for a specific module of study will receive a grade that reflects that lack of pace/progress. Instructors shall inform all students, existing and new, of the grading policy.

Since all occupational training offered in the area Colleges involves technical knowledge and occupational and employability skills, students are encouraged to apply themselves to achieve success in their chosen vocational objective.


Student Grading and Progress for Nursing & Truck Driving

Nursing and Truck Driving students receive a theory grade in each subject. Academically, grades of A, and B are considered satisfactory progress; grades of C, D or F are considered unsatisfactory progress. A student who receives an unsatisfactory academic grade at the end of the term or unit will be suspended from the program due to failure to progress. All grades/grade averages will be calculated to the tenth place. If the tenths place is 0.5 or greater the next higher whole numerical number will be assigned. (i.e. 79.5 = 80) If the tenths place is 0.4 or less the numerical grade will be rounded down. (i.e., 79.4 = 79). Students must maintain a satisfactory average (80) for each unit of the curriculum.

Grade Scale for Practical Nursing & Truck Driving

A (90-100) D (60-69) Failing
B (80-89) F (0-59) Failing
C (70-79) Failing  

Once grades have been awarded and posted, they may not be changed without written authorization of the instructor and the approval of the President unless altered pursuant to a grade appeal. Students enrolled in the Practical Nursing and Truck Driving programs must maintain a satisfactory average of 80 for each unit of study.


Worker Characteristic Grading (Work Ethics Program)

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 80 percent of workers who lose their jobs do so not because of lack of occupational skills, but because of poor work ethics. The mission of technical education is to provide business and industry with trained workers who possess both strong occupational skills and good work habits.

Business and industry leaders have identified essential worker characteristics that should be taught and practiced to help develop a viable and effective workforce.

The ten worker characteristic traits identified are:

1. Attendance 6. Productivity
2. Character 7. Organizational Skills
3. Teamwork 8. Communication
4. Appearance 9. Cooperation
5. Attitude 10. Respect

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology has incorporated a worker characteristic course focusing on the worker characteristics to be taught each term. These sessions are conducted throughout the term weekly, depending on the class schedule. Each student will receive a worker characteristics course grade, which will be recorded on the student's transcript.