Undergraduate Officers and Academic Administrators play several roles in CAP's End of Term Review, during:
CAP is also glad to consult with officers and administrators at any time regarding its responsibilities, policies, and procedures.
Each term after most grades have been recorded the Registrar's Office sends the Undergraduate Academic Administrator a list of students in your department showing the term's registrations and grades. This Term Summary flags students whose records are below the Institute's standard for satisfactory performance:
- Term Rating (GPA) of 3.0 or below , or
- Term Load is 35 units or less.
These records are indicated by a # sign in column 4 (Flag). Note that Term Load (number of units for which the student was registered at the end of the term) is the first number in column 6, not to be confused with the second number, which is the number of units passed.
Departments differ in the way they respond to the Term Summary. Some hold formal meetings of all or selected departmental faculty; others gather information through informal conversations with advisors of flagged students. The result, however achieved, must be a set of recommended actions to CAP—what Institute response the department thinks would best help the student improve performance. These recommendations include:
If the department has not received enough information to make an appropriate recommendation, it may recommend Soft Deferral, which triggers a letter to the student and advisor stating that a Warning may be voted at the Deferred Action Meeting. The student is urged to contact the advisor immediately and write a one-page statement to CAP explaining their situation; the advisor is sent a questionnaire. Advisors are expected to contact students who do not respond promptly to this letter. Note that Soft Deferral commits the advisor to attend the Deferred Action Meeting later in the month for more detailed discussion.
Recommendation for Required Withdrawal are never voted at the Grades Meeting and trigger a Hard Deferral, a letter to the student and advisor stating that Required Withdrawal will be considered at the Deferred Action Meeting. The student is urged to contact the advisor immediately and write a one-page statement to CAP explaining their situation and plans for change; the advisor is invited to appear at the Deferred Action Meeting. Advisors are expected to contact students who do not respond promptly to this letter.
CAP Grades Meetings
At the end of each term, in the first weeks of January and June, the Committee on Academic Performance reviews all undergraduate records below the minimum standards. Both Undergraduate Officers and Academic Administrators are expected to attend CAP's Grades Meetings to present their departmental recommendations.
SinceJune 2011 Second-, Third-, and Fourth-Year (non-degree) records are reviewed in a single meeting. See the Academic Calendar for precise dates.
Each department appears separately. CAP's Staff Associate will ask you to appear at a specific time between 9 am and 4 pm. Please arrive at the meeting room shortly before your appointment in case the Committee is ready for you earlier. When you arrive, please sit in the chairs at the back of the room until the Chair invites you to the guest seats.
Once settled at the table, please speak clearly into the microphone, introduce yourself, and begin presenting your department's recommended action for each student, beginning with sophomores. The Committee has full records before it: please do not read subject numbers and grades. Rather, explain your recommendation with information gathered from advisors and others who know the student's situation. Committee members may ask you questions as they discuss each case. They may also discuss the student with ex officio members and resource staff present (MIT Medical members do not attend Grades Meetings).
CAP carefully considers departmental recommendations, but reserves the right to vote as it sees fit.
Deferred Action is voted either when information is missing that may lead to Warning, or when the department or CAP believe Required Withdrawal is the best option. Required Withdrawal is voted only at the Deferred Action Meetings.
Decisions made at the Grades Meetings are communicated by email to the student, advisor, and Academic Administrator after each meeting. Printed letters are also sent to the student (term address in January, term and home in June) and the advisor. Students voted Deferred Action also receive a printed letter at home.
CAP Deferred Action Meetings
At the Deferred Action Meetings, in the third weeks of January and June, CAP reviews two sets of student records in more depth. These include:
- information not available at the Grades Meeting;
- students who may be required to withdraw.
Undergraduate Officers and Academic Administrators do not ordinarily attend the Deferred Action Meetings. Instead, the student's advisor is invited to represent the student. When the advisor is not able to attend, a departmental colleague, the Undergraduate Officer, or the Academic Administrator should substitute. CAP's Staff Associate coordinates scheduling of five-minute appointments for advisors and substitutes.
Other members of the MIT Community are welcome to attend the Deferred Action Meeting with the advisors, if the student desires. Appropriate guests include a faculty or staff member, housemaster,graduate resident tutor, representative of the Office of Minority Education, or ROTC advisor. If the faculty advisor agrees that one or more of these people is in a position to comment on the reasons for the student's poor academic performance, the advisor should arrange their attendance ahead of time with the CAP staff associate. It is often helpful to the student, advisor, and the CAP alike if the student discusses his or her difficulties with a dean in Student Support Services (Room 5-104, 3-4861) or, if more appropriate, with one of the clinicians in the Medical Department (Room E23-376, 3-4481).
At the Deferred Action Meetings the nine-member Committee is joined by eight ex-officio members (including MIT Medical staff) and six resource staff. These representatives of various offices help the Committee understand the situations of students whose records are being reviewed.
Decisions made at the Deferred Action Meetings are communicated by email to the student, advisor, and Academic Administrator the morning after each meeting. Printed letters are sent to the student (term address in January, term and home in June) and the advisor. At the end of the review, CAP's Staff Associate sends Academic Administrators a summary of all actions for students in their department.