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Section 6. Academic Progress and Grading Policies:
Grading: Tempo Learning®

Rubrics and Scoring

For the purpose of this section, legacy programs are identified as the following:

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) [prior to May 2021]
  • Master of Science in Early Childhood Studies
  • Graduate Certificate in Applied Project Management
  • Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Administration, Management, and Leadership

Standard programs are identified as the following:

  • MS in Criminal Justice
  • MS in Human Resource Management
  • MS in Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology
  • MS in Psychology
  • BS in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Early Childhood Studies
  • BS in Health Studies
  • BS in Healthcare Management
  • BS in Public Health

Revised programs are identified as the following:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • BS in Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) [after May 2021]
  • Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Work Products, Performance Tasks, and Short Answer/Written Response Assessments are each accompanied by a set of Rubrics. Rubrics have two key purposes:

  1. To provide guidelines to help focus the students' work on the most important areas of the Competency.
  2. To provide a scoring guide for faculty members who can use the criteria on each row to provide feedback on specific aspects of the work that do or do not meet the criteria for passing the assessment.

Rubrics for legacy programs include criteria at four levels:

3—Exceeds Expectations

2—Meets Expectations

1—Needs Improvement

0—Not Present

Rubrics for standard programs include criteria at three levels:

2—Meets Expectations

1—Needs Improvement

0—Not Present

Additionally, there is a mastery rubric row in place that will determine if a student has mastered the Competency Assessment.

Rubrics for revised programs include criteria at the following three levels:

Exceeds Expectations

Meets Expectations

Does Not Meet Expectations

Students must meet or exceed expectations on all Learning Objectives in a given Assessment to Achieve the Competency. Any Learning Objectives that are not met may be repeated up to two times, for a total of three attempts.

Scoring Criteria and Total Components of a Grade

To earn their degree, students must pass all Competencies. There are two levels of successful completion: Achieved and Mastered.

Passing scores are dependent on successfully completing all parts of an Assessment.

Students who have successfully completed a Competency Assessment, by earning a score of Achieved or Mastered, must move on to other Competencies. Once a Competency is successfully completed, including when the score earned is Achieved, it cannot be attempted again to earn a Mastered score.

Students who are unable to successfully complete the Competency Assessment will have the opportunity to resubmit all or part of an Assessment two times, for a total of three attempts. After three attempts, students who have not achieved Competency should explore transferring to the course-based modality. Students may speak with their Academic Coach to petition for a fourth attempt at the Competency Assessment. Students who are still unable to complete a given Competency Assessment successfully after the fourth attempt will dismissed from the Tempo Learning® modality, at which time they would have the option to transfer into the course-based version of their chosen program.

Tempo Learning® Grading System

Many Competency-Based programs award a 3.0 (Achieved-level) as the maximum available grade on a 4.0 scale. Tempo Learning® allows for students to master competencies as well, allowing a full range between 3.0 and 4.0 based on the credit equivalent weights of each Competency. A student can earn a successful grade of "Achieved" or "Mastered" for completion of a Competency.

Grade Type: Mastered

Grade Points: Equivalent to an "A" or 4.0

Grade Type: Achieved

Grade Points: Equivalent to a "B" or 3.0

Grade Type: Not Achieved

Grade Points: Equivalent to a "F" or 0.0

Grade Type: Transfer "TR"

Grade Points: Not calculated into GPA

Grade Type: Fulfilled "TR"

Grade Points: Calculated into GPA

For Assessments Scored Using a Rubric (Written Response/Short Answer, Performance Task, and Work Product Assessments)

Legacy Programs

To earn "Achieved," a rubric must be scored with all rubric rows at the Meets Expectations level or higher. To earn "Mastered," 75% of the rubric rows in a given Assessment rubric must be scored at the Exceeds Expectations level on the Rubric.

Standard Programs

To earn "Achieved," a rubric must be scored with all summative rubric rows scored at the Meets Expectations level and a "No" on the Mastery Rubric Row. To earn "Mastered," a rubric must be scored with all summative rubric rows scored at the Meets Expectations and a "Yes" on the mastery rubric row.

Revised Programs

To earn "Achieved," a rubric must be scored with all rubric rows at the Meets Expectations level or higher. To earn "Mastered," 80% of the rubric rows in a given Assessment rubric must be scored at the Exceeds Expectations level on the Rubric.

A grade of "Not Achieved" is assigned in cases where a student has exhausted all attempts without achieving or mastering the assessment. Students receiving transfer credit for a course will receive a grade of "TR," which does not calculate into the student's GPA. If a student satisfies a course via previous Walden coursework, it is considered "Fulfilled" and is calculated into the GPA.

For Assessments That Are System-Scored (Selected Response or Objective Assessments)

Legacy and Standard Programs Only

Selected Response Assessments (SR) or Objective Assessments (OA) are system-scored and can include items such as multiple-choice questions, ranking, sorting, or matching tests.

To earn "Achieved," the student must select the credited response to 80% of the questions up to below 90%. To earn "Mastered," the student must select the credited response to 90% of the questions or higher.

Grade Point Average

Credit is only given for a course if all of the competencies included in that course are satisfied with a grade of "Achieved" or "Mastered." Each Competency holds a weight in terms of how significant that Competency content is relative to the completion of the overall course. The final grade given for a course is the result of the grades earned for each Competency and the weight associated to each Competency. All courses completed during a student's program are included in the program GPA.

Assessment Feedback

Faculty SMEs will return submitted Assessments with their feedback within 72 hours. Students who do not achieve Competency should leverage their faculty feedback prior to resubmission.

Keeping Assessment Work

Student access to the platform will be limited after their program is finished. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that students retain copies of all completed Assessments and related documents and files they wish to keep. The university is not responsible for lost or missing work.

Assessment Retake Policy

Students will have three attempts at passing each Competency Assessment to successfully prove competency, with the opportunity for one additional attempt after an approved student appeal. Before the third attempt, students will be required to work with their Faculty SME to create a study or learning plan to ensure the student is taking the necessary steps to achieve Competency. The Faculty SME must grant the student permission to submit the third attempt at a Competency Assessment. Inability to successfully pass a Competency Assessment after three attempts (four with an approved petition) on any given Competency will trigger a process that removes the student from the Tempo Learning® modality. Academic Coaches will counsel the student to consider the course-based version of their chosen program, if applicable.

Walden has designed the Assessment Retake Policy to provide flexibility to the student learner while providing the appropriate level of feedback and intervention to ensure that all students receive the help and support they need to make successful academic progress.

Attempt 1

Students wishing to take or submit a Competency Assessment may do so after checking their knowledge (either through completing a Competency Self-Assessment and earning a score of 80% or better on all related quizzes or submitting required pre-assessments) and engaging with a Faculty SME in a substantive, academic way.

Attempt 2

If students do not achieve Competency on the first attempt at an Assessment, they will be provided specific feedback from their Faculty SME based on a detailed rubric. The students, with assistance from the Academic Coach and Faculty SME, will then be able to work with the Modules or Sub-Competencies and associated Learning Resources and Activities to continue their progress toward learning that Competency.

Attempt 3

If students are unable to pass the Competency Assessment on the second attempt, they are strongly encouraged to meet with their Faculty SME and develop a written study plan aimed at ensuring they are successful in achieving the Competency. In order to submit a third Assessment attempt, students must have permission from the Faculty SME. This is to ensure that students have taken full advantage of the Faculty SMEs, necessary learning resources, learning activities, and time needed to demonstrate proficiency in the Competency.

Students are expected to pass a Competency Assessment within three attempts. Students who cannot pass a Competency Assessment after three attempts are exited from the Tempo Learning® modality and counseled on their options, including transferring into a course-based modality if available. This policy only applies to required competencies where the specific Competency is required as part of the program of study. If the Competency is a chosen general education course, elective, or other course that is not specifically required by the student's program and can therefore be substituted with a different Area of Expertise, then it is not considered a required Competency for purposes of this assessment retake policy.

Students who do not successfully complete an Assessment three times may petition for one additional attempt. Students who wish to appeal for one additional attempt may work with their Academic Coach to submit their appeal. Failure to successfully complete a Competency required on a student's program of study on the fourth attempt results in academic dismissal from the Tempo Learning® modality, and therefore, those students will not be able to continue the program in the Tempo Learning® modality.

Transcript Requests: Tempo Learning®

Students in Tempo Learning® programs may access an unofficial transcript through their My Tempo Learning® page or order an official transcript.