Federal Credit-Hours Compliance

Alternative Greensheet Review Proposal for Federal Credit-Hour Compliance:

Background & RationaleFederal legislation was passed on July 1, 2011 that requires institutions and accrediting agencies comply with regulations regarding the definition and assignment of credit hours (CFR Sections 600.2 and 600.24).  For all CSU degree programs and courses bearing academic credit, the "credit hour" is defined as:

"the amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practical, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours."

A credit hour is assumed to be a 50-minute period. In courses in which "seat time" does not apply, a credit hour may be measured by an equivalent amount of work, as demonstrated by student achievement. Credit hour definition can be found here.


To meet this requirement, all greensheets need a “credit hours” statement and courses must require a level of work that meets the credit hours requirement.  One component of our reporting is for SJSU departments to review greensheets and report the results, which SJSU will ultimately provide to WASC.  Meeting federal requirements is a central rationale for this review.  Although including a credit hours statement on greensheets is an additional task, students may directly benefit from these statements about the level of work required for a course.  Such statements can be valuable in orienting students to the amount of time they are expected to devote to each course in order to succeed and can assist students with time management. 


Greensheet Review ProposalWASC allows reporting on a representative sampling of greensheets, and we have developed a sampling approach.  In Fall 2014, each department will review at least 1-2 greensheets from each degree level--lower division, upper division and graduate—including courses taught in-person, on-line and as hybrids, for a statement of the credit hours required and evidence of an appropriate level of work required (as given in the Credit Hours definition, above).  Also sample at least 1-2 greensheets for other academic activities (labs, activity sections, etc.) at each degree level.  These non-lecture courses must require the equivalent amount of work as that required for lecture classes.  Please also be sure greensheets use the most recent accessible syllabus template (See: http://www.sjsu.edu/cfd/docs/accessible%20syllabus%20template.doc).  In Spring 2015, departments will repeat this procedure with a new set of courses. 

In Spring 2015, departments will send their college Associate Dean a spreadsheet listing the courses reviewed.  For each course, include the department, degree level, course type (lecture, lab, etc.), instructional mode (in person, hybrid, on-line), whether there was a credit hour policy on the greensheet, and briefly how the greensheet indicated that the course would meet the credit-hour requirement.  If the course was missing the credit hour policy or work consistent with the credit hour policy, briefly state how the course will be changed to meet the requirements.