Academic Policies

BHSEC Queens Academic Program and Grading Policies



The mission of Bard High School Early College is to provide bright, highly motivated students of high school age the challenge of a rigorous course of study that emphasizes thinking through writing, discussion, and inquiry, enabling them to begin college upon completing the 10th grade.

The fundamental principles guiding Bard High School Early College are:

  • That many motivated students, having had the benefit of a rigorous course of study in the 9th and 10th grade, are fully capable of beginning college work by the time they would normally reach the 11th grade;
  • That meeting the particular needs of such students requires a faculty as committed to fostering adolescent development as they are to teaching and scholarship;
  • That a strong general education in the liberal arts and sciences should be the foundation of the curriculum for these students; and
  • That an early college based on these principles could provide a model for reforming the education of American high school students.

The academic program at Bard High School Early College is the intellectual embodiment of the early college’s principles and mission. The program is designed to engage students in the life of the mind through an exploration of cultural heritage from around the world. At Bard High School Early College, students gain exposure to a broad spectrum of thought in the liberal arts and sciences, develop their intellectual curiosity, and work to satisfy this curiosity by thinking and learning independently and collaboratively. Students are also encouraged to test theory through practice – in the laboratory, the studio, in rehearsal and performance, and outside of school.

In addition, students at BHSEC develop a sense of themselves as thinkers and creators with individual voices and perspectives who gain these skills and perspectives:

  • An understanding of the scientific method – its approaches to inquiry, its strengths and limitations as a mode of analysis, and a basic comprehension of the fundamental laws governing both physical phenomena and human behavior;
  • An appreciation of several forms of artistic and literary expression, the creative process, and the disciplined use of imagination, formal structure, and aesthetic values;
  • A flexibility of thought that allows for creative problem solving through an integration of quantitative and qualitative techniques;
  • Knowledge of some of the most influential works of world culture and critical understanding of the values, assumptions, ideologies that they express;
  • Knowledge and appreciation of modes of thought of a broad variety of cultures and distinct subcultures.
  • A sense of history – ideas, movements, peoples, and events of the past – and an understanding of how our view of the past is shaped, and shapes our understanding of the present and future;
  • Sensitivity to the moral and ethical dimensions of thought and action, and developing the ability to make informed moral and ethical decisions.


Every fall semester at BHSEC begins with The Writing & Thinking Workshop, a five-day intensive learning experience that provides students in every grade level with interesting exercises in critical reading and writing upon which they can build in their regular courses. Conceived by Bard College president Leon Botstein and based on the principle that strong writing and close reading enrich and enliven the classroom experience in all disciplines, the workshop sets the stage for the kind of interdisciplinary, intensive work students will tackle during their time at BSHEC.

Faculty members from all disciplines lead workshop sections of about eighteen students in short writing activities, critical reading exercises, and group discussions about the texts at hand—a shared selection of traditional and contemporary poetry, plays, essays, and fiction—developing a common vocabulary that will serve students well as they continue to grow as readers, writers, and thinkers.

Whether engaged in a ten-minute “focused free-write,” or debating the meaning of a line of poetry, students not only work with faculty and with each other to build their critical language skills, they also experience what it means to participate in an intimate intellectual community. They learn to take initiative, speak up, and think differently while listening to alternative ideas, presenting personal work for feedback, and providing thoughtful criticism on others’ work. By the end of the workshop, students produce a piece of polished prose that can become a tool for reflection, skill assessment, and continued development.


English Grade 9 American Literature 1 & 2
Grade 10 World Literature 1 & 2
Social Studies Grade 9 History of the Americas 1 & 2
Grade 10 Global History 1 & 2
Math Grade 9 Algebra I and Geometry
Grade 10 Algebra 2 and Trigonometry
Science Grade 9 Biology 1 or Computer Science; Biology 2
Grade 10 Chemistry and Physics
World Language Grade 9 Chinese I, Latin I or Spanish I
Grade 10 Chinese II, Latin II, or Spanish II
Language Arts Grade 9 Visual Art, Music, and/or Theater
Grade 10 Visual Art, Music, Creative Writ. or Theater
Physical Ed Grade 9 Fitness, Dance; Health
Grade 10 Fitness or Dance


In their last two years at BHSEC, students are encouraged to explore a variety of fields and to build their skills as independent thinkers, as critical readers, researchers and writers, and to prepare to transition smoothly into a four-year college of their choice. Students select from the college courses offered each semester in the College Course Guide. Sample course guides from previous years are available on our website.



This grading policy applies to all high school students at BHSEC Queens. It will be reviewed and updated annually and emailed to families in the beginning of each school year. Updated versions and Spanish and Bengali translations will be posted on our school website.  The Academic Honesty Policy is also an integral part of the grading policy in that students receive an F on any assignment or assessment when the Academic Honesty Policy in not followed, and receives an F in a course if the Policy is not followed three or more times during a student’s time at BHSEC Queens. We have a Revised Academic Honesty Policy in effect during our remote learning period.

As an indication of academic performance, students receive quarterly reports of letter grades for each course taken, as well as written narratives describing course objectives, the student’s success in meeting them, and suggestions for how to address particular difficulties. More extensive narrative feedback is provided to high school students at the midterm and to college students at the semester’s end. Students receive paper copies of their report cards in their Advisories. Midterm grades are not grades of record, but are intended as indications to students of their progress and success in achieving the learning objectives of a course, along with suggestions for improvement. Narratives at the midterms will be more extensive for student in our high school program. End-of-term narratives will be more extensive for our college students.

All syllabuses will indicate the percentage weight attributed for each type of assignment:

For example:*

Exams: 30%
Quizzes: 25%
Papers: 25%
Homework: 10%
Class Participation: 10%

*Measures of academic performance will be specific to a given class. Note that Regents exams can be included, but never for more than 33% of the grade. The measures and percentages will be explicitly noted in the syllabus for each class. Teachers will have the opportunity to share individual grading policies within departments as high school syllabi are collaboratively designed and reviewed. Grading policies for new courses are reviewed and approved by our interdepartmental liaison committee. All historical syllabi, which include course-specific grading policies are archived and available for download on our website.


All work for a course is due by the deadlines given out by the teacher. Students unable to meet a particular deadline, for whatever reason, should consult the course syllabus for information about the teacher’s policy on late work and should make every effort to conform to it. If illness or other problems prevent a student from completing all work for a course by the end of the semester, and the teacher is willing to accept late work, the teacher should state in the final narrative what exactly is missing; what the deadline is for submission; and how the student is to submit it (E.g., email, snail mail with address).

Teachers may submit a grade change up to 2 weeks after the end of a given semester (that is typically February 15 for fall semester and July 15 for spring semester), so all deadlines for late work should be set to enable the teacher to meet that deadline. To change a grade, faculty must attain a grade-change form from the Dean of Academic Affairs, and return the completed form to the Dean’s office by the deadline.

If a student has an unexcused absence on the day of an exam, quiz, or an assignment due date, consult the course syllabus for teacher policy. It is possible that no credit will be given and/or no makeup assessment will be allowed for the missed work. Although any work handed in will be given feedback even if the work is not eligible for credit.

If there is an excused absence on the day of an exam, quiz, or an assignment due date, students must consult with faculty on the day that they return to school even if it is not a day that the class typically meets. If those procedures are followed, there will be no academic penalty for an excused absence.

As per school policy, if you leave school early due to an unexpected illness on the day of an exam, quiz, or an assignment due date, as per school policy, the student must be signed out by a parent/guardian.

If there is a planned absence, be certain to talk to the teacher well in advance.


Two transcripts are maintained for BHSEC students: The Department of Education transcript and the Bard College transcript. Instructions for requesting copies of both are available on the BHSEC Queens web site.

The Department of Education transcript records all courses taken to satisfy the Regents High School diploma. This record includes courses taken while at BHSEC as well as high school courses taken at other New York City Public Schools. The Bard College transcript lists only courses taken in the college program that are being applied toward the Associate in Arts degree.

End of semester letter grades are recorded on the student’s official academic transcript; on the Department of Education transcript those letter grades are translated into the New York Department of Education 100 point scale where the highest possible grade is 95, since BHSEC does not give A+ grades. Letter grades in college courses also appear on a Bard College transcript where they also appear numerically in the 4.0 scale used at Bard College and throughout higher education.

The grade point average (GPA) for work in the college program is calculated by multiplying each course grade times the number of credits per course, adding those calculations, and dividing by the total number of credits. (Note that the grade of Pass does not factor into the GPA; similarly, college courses transferred from another institution appear as credits and do not factor into this GPA.)

This table shows the correspondence between letter grade, grade point equivalence, and score on the 100 point scale.

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D F
4.0 3.7 3.3 3.0 2.7 2.3 2.0 1.7 1.0 0
95 93 88 85 83 78 75 73 65 55

In addition to A-F letter grades, the following special marks may be awarded:

  • A grade of ‘NX’ if a student has a documented, extreme extenuating circumstance that prevents him/her from completing the course in its established time frame (e.g., surgery, death in the family). A student who receives an incomplete must successfully complete remaining course requirements by the end of the term following the termination of the course in order to receive a final grade and credit, as applicable. ‘NX’ does not have a pass/fail or a numeric equivalent.
  • A grade of ‘NL’ for students who enroll in a course after it has started and have missed assignments or assessments needed to generate a complete course grade for a given marking period. These students may be given a grade of ‘NL’ in STARS to indicate this circumstance. ‘NL’ does not have a pass/fail or numeric equivalent. Students who receive a mark of ‘NL’ must successfully complete remaining course requirements by the end of the term following the termination of the course in order to receive a final grade and credit, as applicable.


Bard High School Early College offers students a rigorous academic program. In meeting the academic needs of students eager for intellectual challenge, it moves students from the 9th grade of high school through the first two years of college in four years. Bard High School Early College seeks students ready to rise to this challenge and offers various forms of support to any who have difficulty once at the school. In order to enter the early college program, students must achieve a cumulative average of at least 2.0 (C or 75) in 9th and 10th grade. Because no 11th and 12th grade high school curriculum is offered at BHSEC, students not eligible to begin college after 10th grade either transfer to a traditional four-year high school or opt to stay and repeat 10th grade.

Families will be notified if students are not meeting expectations in their courses as described in our early notification policy. Additionally, families will have the opportunity to discuss student progress following the distribution of midterm grades at parent-teacher conferences.


To be in good academic standing, students in the 9th and 10th grades must complete the required program of classes each semester with an average of at least 2.0 (C or 75). A student who is not in good standing at the end of a semester will be placed on academic support for the following semester. A student who achieves both a semester and cumulative average of at least 2.0 will automatically regain good standing.

At mid-term in the fall and spring semesters, any student whose average is below 2.0 will be required, with his or her parents, to attend a meeting with representatives of Bard High School Early College to discuss the student’s difficulties and to determine what support is necessary. A similar meeting will be required at the end of the fall semester and/or spring semester if the student’s final semester average is below 2.0.

Furthermore, all students on academic support meet regularly with their guidance counselor or advisor, and are encouraged to make use of tutoring offered in the Learning Commons.


The administration and faculty of Bard High School Early College are eager to see all students admitted to the program succeed in earning the A.A. degree, and are committed to supporting those who could benefit from special assistance. A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 is required to enter the early college program and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 is required in the early college program for graduation with the A.A. degree.

To be in good academic standing at the end of Year I, a student must complete the required program of classes with a cumulative GPA of a least 2.0. At midterm in the fall semester of Year I, any early college student whose average is below 2.0 will be required, with his or her parents, to attend a meeting with a representative of Bard High School Early College to discuss the student’s difficulties and to determine what steps and supports would be helpful. A similar meeting is required at the end of the fall semester if the Year I student’s fall semester average is below a 2.0, and the Year I student will be placed on academic support for the following semester. If the Year I student’s average is still below 2.0 at the end of the spring mid-term period, the student will again be required, with his or her parents, to attend a meeting with representatives of Bard High School Early College to discuss the student’s difficulties and to determine what further support is necessary.

If a Year II student’s cumulative average is below a 2.0 at the end of the fall semester, the student will again be required, with his or her parents, to attend a meeting with a representative of Bard High School Early College to discuss the student’s difficulties and the type of degree which the student can realistically expect to receive at the end of the spring semester. Students are expected to graduate from the early college program in four semesters.


High school students who fail a class (receive a grade of F) during the school year must retake that class. In such a case, both the failing grade and the new grade will be recorded on the student’s high school transcript. Occasionally, when only a few elements of the course requirements were not met, the student can work with the teacher, guidance counselor, and administration to complete the requirements while enrolled in a Credit Recovery Course in the semester following the failure. The original grade and the Credit Recovery grade both appear on the DOE transcript.


Year 1 and Year 2 students are required to take between 12 credits and 18 credits each semester, unless they receive approval of an exception from their guidance counselor and the dean. Students may request approval to change their classes during the first week of the semester through the Add/Drop process, as long as the resulting schedule meets the course load requirements and will enable the completion of A.A. requirements on schedule. The final dates for making such changes each semester are listed on the school calendar.

After the deadline for Add/Drop, a student in the college program may petition to Withdraw from one regular class in a given semester as long as it will not mean dropping below the 12 credits required to be a full-time student. The student’s guidance counselor, and the academic dean must approve the withdrawal. The deadline to submit requests for withdrawal each semester, typically one week after midterm grades are distributed and after parent-teacher conferences, is listed on the school calendar. Upon withdrawal, a W grade is listed on the student’s Bard College transcript. It appears as an NC grade on the DOE transcript.


A college student who is carrying at least 14 credits may request to take one course, excluding Seminar or other courses meeting the A.A. graduation requirements, on a Pass/Fail basis. This grading option must be exercised before the Withdrawal date for the semester, and is subject to approval by the guidance counselor and the academic dean. Students should be aware that classes taken Pass/Fail will not be accepted for transfer at most colleges.


This option is designed only for those students who are not able to earn the 60 credits required for the A.A. in their 4 semesters in the college program. Year 1 and Year 2 students may transfer in up to 6 college credits to be applied toward the 60 credits the Associate in Arts Degree. Students who elect to take courses at other colleges who do not need them for the A.A. should simply wait and apply to transfer them to their four year college after leaving BHSEC. Students should request approval from the academic dean for the specific courses proposed before taking college courses at another institution, and are responsible for providing documentation (official transcript and syllabus) after satisfactory completion of the course.


College students, typically those in Year 2, may earn academic credit by successfully completing tutorial projects on topics that are not available through the regular course offerings. Before such a course of study can begin, a formal written course description and statement of student interest including discussion of relevant preparation, as well as a contract of student and faculty responsibilities (including credits, readings, number of meetings, and number and types of assessment) must be submitted and approved by the Dean of Studies and the Principal. Because tutorials require additional work and responsibility on the part of both the instructor and the students involved, these projects are only considered when comparable topics are not available in the regular course catalogue for a given semester.


BHSEC offers two degrees, a NY State Regents diploma and an Associate in Arts degree from Bard College. Students complete the requirements for the two degrees concurrently over four years. Students are enrolled in college courses for the final two years, for this reason, BHSEC does not offer AP courses or Advanced Regents Diplomas.


And how they are met at BHSEC Queens


    • 8 semester of English
    • 8 semesters of History
    • 6 semesters of Math
    • 6 semesters of Science
    • 2 semesters of a Language other than English
    • 2 credits of Art, Music, Dance, or Theater
    • 4 credits of Physical Education
  • 1 credit of Health

     = 44 total credits


    • English
    • US History and Government
    • Global History and Geography
    • Algebra I
  • Living Environment


To enter the college program, students must have completed 2 years of English, History, Mathematics, Science and Language with a cumulative BHSECQ GPA of 2.0.

    • 4 semesters of Seminar taken in sequence
    • 4 semesters of Humanities courses, in addition to Seminar
    • 2 semesters of college Math
    • 2 semesters of college Science
    • 2 semesters of Foreign Language or Language and Culture courses in the college program
    • 3 credits of college Art
    • A minimum of 60 college credits, including electives
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above in the college program  

Transfer students

Students who transfer into BHSEC after starting 9th grade will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Students who transfer out of BHSEC are subject to their new school’s graduation requirements.

Academic Policy Last Updated October 2018