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Course Validation Policy

Course prerequisites sustain academic quality and ensure that, prior to enrolling in any given course, students will possess the skills necessary for success in that course. The Department expects students will have either taken or validated (following established NPS procedures) all prerequisite(s) for registered classes prior to the first day of instruction. While the Department, in general, strongly encourages qualified students to take maximum advantage of their time at NPS, and therefore to validate courses instead of repeating material in which they are already proficient, the Department also will strongly discourage, or when appropriate, request dis-enrollment of students lacking adequate prerequisite skills. This memorandum outlines the policy and procedures of the Department for course validation requests.

Primary responsibility for ensuring that a student meets the prerequisites for courses in which they wish to enroll rests with that student, and the Program Officer and Academic Associate who must approve the student's program and any changes thereto. The Department will assist, however, by notifying its Course Coordinators, as soon as PYTHON locks (final iteration) for a subsequent quarter of instruction, of all individual students pre-registered in classes for which they do not appear to meet course prerequisites. The Course Coordinators will inform those students of the Department's policy on validation and of the students' apparent course deficiencies.

The decision to approve a requested course validation rests primarily on the professional judgment of the Course Coordinator. Coordinators are likely to approve validation requests when the student has taken essentially the equivalent course, at an accredited institution, within the past five years with a grade of B or better. Coordinators may also approve validation requests in other circumstances when the student has taken essentially the equivalent course, provided that the student's background is sufficiently strong and recent, in the Coordinator's judgment. At the discretion of the Coordinator, a validation exam may be scheduled to occur no later than the final week of classes prior to the quarter for which the student has pre-registered. The validation exam should focus on verifying basic, essential skills in the relevant course, and when appropriate, may be open book, in order to ascertain the student's ability to quickly refresh fine points. The primary intent of the validation procedure is to determine when students meet minimum skill requirements necessary in order to avoid repeating a course. Results of any validation exam and Department recommendations will be forwarded to the student, the student's Program Officer, the student's Academic Associate, and the Mathematics Instructor(s) scheduled to teach the course for which the student has pre-registered.

Students who do not successfully pass a validation examination, and who feel they nevertheless have adequate mastery of the relevant material, may appeal to the Department Chair. Any such appeal must be in writing, supported by appropriate documentation, e.g. transcripts, etc. Upon review of the request, the Chair may allow the student to take a second validation examination, prepared and administered by the Department. Upon successful completion of this examination, the student will receive validation for the prerequisite course. In special circumstances, the Chair may allow a student to enroll in a subsequent course with the understanding that if the student is not performing above a certain minimal level by mid-quarter, they will drop the course.

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