Sustaining the Program (Also see Matriculating)

Grading

Context

  • Starr King employs written evaluations rather than letter grades in order to provide a more thorough and useful evaluation of a student’s progress toward course outcomes to that individual student.
  • Letter-grade based evaluations assess student performance based on a comparative system, ranking students best to worse according to one evaluative matrix. The written evaluation provides the instructor and student the opportunity to assess student performance and growth according to a number of matrices on an individual basis, highlighting a student’s particular strengths or significant educative transformations.
  • To be clear, Starr King does not offer courses based on a Pass/Fail system; however, the educational tools we use as part of the Graduate Theological Union utilize that nomenclature. Again, the instructor should not evaluate a student on whether that student has done enough to pass only, but offer a thorough evaluation of that student’s work.
  • Starr King course instructors provide a written evaluation for all Starr King students in their classes each semester. The form is placed in the student personal file. Faculty should also send a copy of the evaluation directly to the students at the end of each course.

Practice

  • If a student fails to achieve sufficient progress towards the learning outcomes as laid out in the course syllabus (covenant), then it is the instructor’s prerogative to not give student credit for the course (in the GTU, an F). It behooves the instructor to check in with a student if there is risk of failure. Students may appeal a failure; instructors may or may not deny the appeal. If there is continued conflict, the dean of faculty is appealed to for the next stage of mediation.
  • Starr King MDIV and MASC students are encouraged to take courses for written evaluations but may request a letter grade in addition at the outset of the semester. In these cases, the student should present why they are requesting a letter grade and discuss with the instructor, the framework for this particular evaluative matrix. Students should also have this conversation with their advisor. Starr King M.A. students receive both written evaluations and letter grades. The evaluation provides guidance and the grade maintains compliance with the Common MA program.
  • Evaluation of a student’s overall program of study is assessed at three points using three different mechanisms.
  • Students provide an initial assessment of where they are in relationship to the thresholds. The assessment is discussed with their advisor and used to point towards future educational planning. The advisor will provide guidance on timing of the written assessment but must be on file in the student’s file before a student can do their portfolio conference. See also Initial Threshold Assessment as well as Threshold Assessment form in forms area of resources.
  • At approximately the midpoint of a student’s program of study they complete a Mid-Degree Portfolio Conference designed to assess where they are at that stage. See also Mid-Degree Portfolio Conference as well as the Mid-Degree Portfolio Conference form in the forms section of SKSM’s website.
  • Finally, at the end of a student’s program of study, the student petitions the faculty and provides a final assessment of where they are in relationship to the thresholds. The faculty use this assessment and the advisor’s input to approve (or disapprove) of the petition. See also Petition to Graduate.

Leave of Absence

Starr King does not grant a leave of absence for work considered a normal part of an individually designed course of study at the school. Therefore your advisor must be clear on your reason for the request and what will be accomplished during the leave of absence. Work accomplished during a leave of absence cannot be counted as credit toward the completion of a degree. This includes write-ups and incompletes.

A Leave of Absence form must be completed for each semester of leave. PRIOR to leaving the form with the Registrar, ALL signatures listed above the Registrar’s signature MUST be acquired. If a leave is not officially requested, approved and on file in the student’s file, the student may be terminated when they do not register for classes.

Students are advised to consult with the Financial Aid Office about whether a leave is the best financial decision. Students with educational loans need to check carefully about how a leave will affect deferment and payment of loans. Payments on all state and federal loans may go into repayment within six months.

Participation in the school’s health insurance program is not available during a leave of absence. MASC students are not normally granted more than four total semesters of leave, and no more than two semesters consecutively, in the course of their degree program. MDIV students are not normally granted more than six total semesters of leave, and no more than three semesters consecutively. Accrediting agencies require institutions to enforce a reasonable continuity in the program.

Leaves of absence taken once matriculation in the degree program has begun do count toward the total allowed in the program. (Semesters deferred before beginning the program are not considered leaves and do not count.)

See Leave of Absence Form on the SKSM website

Transcripts

Starr King School maintains transcripts for each student. Transcripts are maintained outside of the registration system (aka Student Planning) since write-ups prior to Spring 2014 and summer CPE programs are not registered within Student Planning. This means that classes outside of the registration system will not be available for viewing from Student Planning and will only be seen on the Starr King School transcript. Transcripts are housed in a student’s file until they have graduated.

See also Student File.

To request a transcript:

When requesting transcripts, please submit your request online (http://www.sksm.edu/transcript-request-form/) and remember to include:

  1. The term/year of attendance (i.e., Spring 2010)
  2. The exact number of transcripts needed (the first transcript is free; subsequent transcripts are $5 each, as are RUSH copies)
  3. Whether the transcript needs to be “official” (the schools official seal and the Registrar’s signature is included), or “unofficial” (no seal or signature included). Please note that students can only receive “unofficial” transcripts for personal requests.
  4. The exact USPS mailing address and name/title of the person(s) who should receive the transcript(s)
  5. The requester’s/student’s personal contact information including a USPS mailing address, and current telephone number
  6. If a fee of $5 or more is needed for your request, please mail the check to the Registrar, address the check to Starr King, and put ‘transcript’ in the memo line to expedite the transcript process. Your transcript will be mailed upon receipt of payment.
  7. Please note that the Ministerial Fellowship Committee requests copies of evaluations be sent in addition to the transcript. In order to stay in compliance with federal law, students *must* explicitly request evaluations accompany the transcript during your initial request.

On average, it takes approximately 7-10 business days to process a transcript request. If you request a RUSH copy, it will be sent in 1-2 business days and will be $5 upon request.

Please note: Policy prohibits us from emailing transcripts. We can, however, fax a transcript if it is deemed particularly time-sensitive.