Policies on Course Materials and Student Grades


It shall be the policy of the Department to guarantee:

  1. Consistent application of clearly announced requirements appropriate to each English course
  2. The student’s right to know, within a reasonable time, academic progress in the course
  3. The student’s right to an explanation of how course grades were determined. Further, the Department shall not allow:
    1. The belated imposing of requirements not originally made clear
    2. Assignment of marks based on criteria other than academic performance in the course
    3. Grading criteria that do not provide a dependable method of evaluating student progress. In all English Department courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of the ideas being conveyed. All student writing should be distinguished by correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs.

Greensheets (Syllabi)

A "greensheet" (syllabus) or list of instructions for the course shall be prepared for each class during the first week of the term and two copies filed with the Department office (one electronic and one paper). The greensheet shall include:

  • The course number and title as well as the instructor's name, phone extension, office location, and a list of days and times during which the instructor is available for consultation.
  • A course description that briefly states the nature and scope of the course.A statement about prerequisite courses and skills, if any.
  • A detailed description of course requirements, including the nature and length of required assignments, quizzes, tests, class participation, final examination, and the nature and amount of writing. The format of essays and tests need not be described on the greensheet; however, it is suggested that the instructor indicate how students will be informed about such requirements.
  • A detailed explanation of the way in which final grades will be determined. Consideration should be given to:
    1. Various weights accorded to graded assignments
    2. Other required activities, such as class participation
    3. Penalties exacted for late or missing assignments
    4. Policy on incompletes. University policy notes that student attendance is essential to the educational process. “Attendance per se, however, shall not be used as a criterion for grading.” The greensheet may, nonetheless, list “participation” as a criterion for course grades.

The Department mandates that all greensheets shall include the following statement: “The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the SJSU Catalog (“The Grading System”). Grades issued must represent a full range of student performance:

  • A = excellent
  • B = above average
  • C = average
  • D = below average
  • F = failure

Courses graded according to the A, B, C, No Credit system shall follow the same pattern, except that NC shall replace D or F. In such cases, NC shall also substitute for W (or Withdrawal) because neither grade (NC or W) affects students’ GPA.”

  • A statement that explains the penalties for academic dishonesty, e.g., a standard statement: "All students are responsible for knowing and observing University policies regarding academic dishonesty. See University policy: "Academic Integrity".
  • A list of all required and suggested texts and other materials, including any requirements to purchase duplicated materials.A tentative schedule of due dates for graded assignments and examinations.
  • A tentative schedule of due dates for graded assignments and examinations.A statement that the instructor reserves the right to revise the requirements and to notify students of such revision in a timely manner, e.g., "subject to change, announced at least one class meeting in advance."