Frequently Asked Questions - Staff & Faculty
Communicating with Students
Q: How does the grading system work at Trent?
In response to student and faculty concerns about the timeliness of the release of final grades, we will be piloting a new grade release process this April 2015 for Winter and Fall/Winter grades. Instead of waiting until all grades are submitted and then releasing the grades all at once, grades will be released to students as they are verified by Department Chairs. Final grades will become official 30 days after they have been released by the Office of the Registrar and academic departments may raise or lower grades during this 30 day timeframe.
Q: Who do I contact with my grades entry questions?
For questions about using the grades entry system, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: When are my grades due?
University policy requires that instructors submit final and mid-year grades within 10 calendar days after the exam is written or take-home exam is submitted or by the last day of exams if no exam is scheduled. The Office of the Registrar sets a final grade deadline each session and circulates that deadline widely.
Department secretaries run prerequisite rosters to check for students who did not meet the prerequisite requirements in the preceding term. It’s important that they can run these early enough to request that the students are deregistered before the start of the next term. Getting this done on time gives the students enough time to register in a different course. It also prevents them being charged late registration fees. Timely submission of grades also assists the Office of the Registrar with finalizing eligible graduates for convocation.
Q: How do I accommodate a student with extenuating circumstances?
There are two options for helping students with completing their courses under extenuating circumstances:
Incompletes are to be used for students who, for a compelling reason, are not able to complete their work during the term. The instructor sets the final date for the student to submit the outstanding work, which is at his/her discretion up to the final date allowed for incompletes specified in the Academic Calendar. When the work is received, the department will submit a change of grade form to the Registrar’s Office and the student’s record will be updated.
An incomplete form must be obtained from the department, signed by the student, the instructor and the chair, and then submitted to the Office of the Registrar before the deadline for grade release.
There is no option to extend the deadline on an incomplete. The original deadline is entered into the system when the paperwork is received and the grade will be applied to the student’s record once the deadline has passed, if we have not received a change of grade form. However, there is no deadline to submit the change of grade form. So while the original low grade may show on the student’s record for a while, it can be changed once the work is complete.
If an incomplete form has been submitted to the Office of the Registrar, please leave that student’s grade blank when entering grades through myTrent.
In unusual circumstances, a student may be exempt from writing a final exam. This decision is at the instructor’s discretion. The instructor has the right to request documentation from the student. The RO must receive notice of aegrotat standing for a student from the department chair. The RO will add a notation of AG next to the assigned grade on the student’s transcript once notification from the Chair is received.
Enter an aegrotat grade the same way as a regular grade when submitting grades on myTrent.
Q: A student in my class only submitted one assignment. Do I have to enter a grade?
It is important that every student who did not submit incomplete paperwork be assigned a grade. Please assign the student the grade s/he earned in the course, no matter how low it is. Students who have indicated they will be petitioning for late withdrawal should still be assigned a grade; if the petition is approved, the grade will be removed from the record.
Q: When should I assign an NTE versus assigning a zero?
NTEs should be assigned for students who never attended class and did not submit any work. Please use this notation for a student who never attended class. Any student who has submitted any kind of work or earned any attendance should be assigned that grade, even if it is 1%.
Q: How do I change a grade I entered for a student?
Before grades have been verified by your chair, you should be able to make changes through the grades entry system. After grades have been verified, you will need to let your department know.
Grades are not considered official until 30 days after they have been released by the RO. Because there are so many changes being made, the RO accepts email notification of required changes as long as the department chair has explicitly approved them. After 30 days have passed, we will require the regular change of grade form.
Q: What is the difference between mid-year and final grades?
Mid-year grades are provided to assist students in assessing their performance in full-year courses. They are not official, do not show up on the student’s transcript and do not require chair verification. The same due dates are associated with mid-year and fall final grades. Once the grading system is closed, you will not be allowed to submit your mid-year grades. The Office of the Registrar uses these mid-year grades to complete the mid-year review, which helps to identify students at risk and put them in touch with people who can help them.
Q: Can I enter grades on Blackboard?
Blackboard does not download data into Colleague (our student information system). All grades entry must be done through the myTrent portal. Any grades entered in Blackboard will not be considered official.
You are welcome to post individual assignment grades to Blackboard throughout the term, but are reminded that “instructors and/or departments are not permitted to release final grades” (Academic Calendar, “Official Final Grades”).
Communicating with Students
Q: Do I have to use my Trent email account or can I use my personal email account?
Faculty must use their Trent U email account for all email communication with the Office of the Registrar, including requests for manual registration. This is the only way we can confirm an instructor’s identity and safeguard students’ privacy.
Q: What is the 25% rule?
Normally, at least 25% of the grade in a course must be determined and made available by the final date to withdraw (Academic Calendar, “Grading Criteria”). This gives students enough information to make a decision on whether they will be successful.
Q: How do I handle a struggling student?
Instructors are encouraged to accommodate students if provided a good reason. It is also possible to give incomplete and aegrotat standings to students who have difficult personal situations affecting their academics. Instructors are asked not to suggest a late withdrawal petition to students, but rather to refer them to an Academic Advisor for more information. A late withdrawal petition is often not the best solution for students who miss one assignment or who are unable to write the exam for a course.
Q: How do students switch sections of a course?
At the end of the fall term, many students wish to switch sections of their full year courses to avoid conflicts with winter course selections. This is fine, but it is very important that we document section switches by making the appropriate registration change. This is crucial for scheduling purposes, but also from a risk management standpoint. We request that faculty send an email to email@example.com requesting the section switch, including the original request from the student. Please give the old section number and the desired section number (Y01, Y05) rather than the time the section meets. We will drop the student from the old section and register them in the new section. Do not have the student drop the course themselves as this may have billing implications.
There may be implications for you if you are using Blackboard. Student specific data such as discussion posts, grades and feedback may not carry over if a student is moved to a new section of your course.
Q: How do I get Blackboard access for a student?
A student who does not have access to Blackboard is probably not registered in the course. Faculty cannot request Blackboard access for a student who is not registered. See the section on grading work for unregistered students below. Once the student becomes registered, they will have access to Blackboard.
Q: Can a student participate in my course if s/he is not registered?
If a student is not registered in the course, there is no obligation for faculty to grade the student’s work. In fact, it is better not to grade work, as there is no guarantee that the student will ever be successfully registered in the class and graded work does not make it more likely that s/he will be allowed to register, particularly after the deadline to add the course has passed.
Q: What is a prerequisite roster?
A prerequisite roster is process to check for students who have not met their prerequisite requirements.
It is important to run prerequisite checks after each grades entry period to catch any students who did not meet their prerequisite requirements. It often happens that students do not pass a prerequisite course in the fall session that was required to take the continuation course in the winter session. Make sure to run it for each course in your department.
Our Student Information System, Colleague, has a check that you can run. Please use the mnemonic “XSPRT” for your perquisite checks. There are several types of students who do not meet prerequisites but should not be deregistered. Incoming exchange students are flagged by displaying a residency status of IE. Students with programs of CERT.HRM and LOFP should be allowed to continue without the prerequisites as well.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with a list of students you want deregistered from each course. Make sure to keep in mind the students who were granted prerequisite waivers as you build these lists.
Q: What is a manual registration?
Manual registrations are required for students who do not meet the prerequisites, or who wish to be registered in a closed or full course. The department or instructor must grant permission for the student to be registered. Please be aware that students who are manually registered are bypassing waitlists unless the Registrar’s Office is told to waitlist the student. When submitting a manual registration request, you must provide the following:
- The student’s original email requesting the registration. We require this for our enrolment audit.
- The faculty member or department secretary granting express permission to register the student. It is also possible to request that the student be placed on the waitlist.
- The full course code, section number and location, i.e. ERSC 1000Y-A-Y04 PTBO. If you do not provide one of these pieces of information, we will reply to request the information. We cannot choose the section for you or for the student. Additionally, we need the section number (F01, W02, Y03, etc.) and not the time the section meets (Monday at 3:30).
Q: How do grade appeals work?
Grade appeals are submitted by the student to the RO with a $25 processing fee. Once this fee is processed, the grade appeal is sent to the department. The department makes a decision and notifies us. We then notify the student of the decision. A successful grade appeal results in the refunding of the $25 fee.
Q: How do I see student grades once they have been released?
Department administration can access IRIS, which generates reports from the student database. You can access IRIS by logging into myTrent; the link is located under the Tools tab and the Reporting heading. Choose the Academic Departments folder. To see a list of grades, use report 111 Class List by Course Section for Printing. Make sure the “Show Grades?” field is set to Yes.
Q: How do I get a list of student registrations in a particular course?
Run IRIS report 111 Class List by Course Section for Printing to generate a report showing all students registered in a course section.
Q: Where do I get incomplete forms and grade change forms?
The Registrar’s Office keeps these forms. Please email email@example.com requesting more forms be sent to you.