Online Courses & Grading at StraighterLine

Our online course format allows you to complete courses — and access course content — on your schedule and complete assignments at your own pace. Online learning makes it convenient and accessible for all our students to make progress on their degrees.

How Our Courses Are Structured

We offer over 70 courses that have been recommended for credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). These courses are self-paced. You can start immediately and work on your own time, taking as little — or as long — as you need to get through the material.

Our courses do not have structured due dates. You’re able to work through assignments and submit them whenever you feel ready to do so.

Each StraighterLine course follows a syllabus. Though the topics and components of our courses vary, each topic may include a reading assignment, a lesson presentation, review activities, homework assignments, and other methods to help you learn the essential concepts. The topics represent the fundamental outcomes that you will need to master in order to successfully complete the course.

Completing a Course

For a course to be eligible for earning credit and credit transfer, the course must be completed. In order for a course to be considered complete, all required coursework must be attempted, submitted, and graded. Required coursework consists of graded assignments. Any Academic Integrity Policy violations may prevent a course from being considered complete.

Required coursework may consist of graded and ungraded assignments. You will receive a final score for the course after all of the assessments and required assignments have been completed. Any Academic Integrity Policy violations may prevent your course from being considered complete.

Retaking a Course

If you’ve completed a course, and you’re not satisfied with your grade (or you haven’t achieved a satisfactory score — 70% by default as per ACE), you can retake the course by repurchasing and reattempting it in full. The highest final satisfactory score across all attempts will be used for your transcript. Students must complete all required exams and assignments in order for the course to be eligible for completion and credit transfer. Only grades from your current attempt will be used towards your final grade.

Assignments & Assessments

Your course may consist of both graded and ungraded assignments, but graded assessments are the ones that will count toward your final overall score. Most assessments can only be taken one time (see below on certain retake policies), and some graded assessments have a time limit.

You will receive a final score for the course after all of the assessments and required assignments have been completed.

Written Assignments

All written assignments are formatted consistently throughout our courses. All of our written assignments are:

  • Located in your course topics. Some assignments may be optional, while others are required
  • Graded individually in the order in which they are received

  • Labs

    StraighterLine offers lab courses in addition to our science courses, and we strongly recommend that our students take labs in conjunction with the respective lecture course.

    For lab courses, you’ll complete at home experiments, track and record results, and take lab-based exams. To successfully complete your lab course, you must submit lab-based worksheets.

    To understand how your grade will be calculated for your online lab course, please review your course syllabus. Your course syllabus includes an overview of course topics and how each assignment contributes to your grade in the course.

    All labs require a lab kit. Students will be responsible for purchasing a custom, physical lab science kit. Your lab kit will contain all the essential materials needed for completing the required experiments in your course, so you can complete your lab in the comfort of your home without having to travel or acquire any specialized lab equipment. Some labs may also require household items to conduct experiments. If this is the case, you can download the list in your course.

    All our lab experiments are formatted consistently throughout our courses. All our lab experiments:

  • Can be found in your course topics
  • Include a downloadable worksheet that you’ll use to complete and submit your lab
  • Require photographs as part of the submission to illustrate your completed assignment
  • Are graded individually in the order in which they are received

  • Exams & Proctoring

    Exams can be a crucial part of testing your understanding of course material and a major contributor to your final grade. StraighterLine requires final exams to be proctored.

    Most courses have practice assignments throughout the course to test your knowledge of topics and materials covered. While these exams may not be required as part of the completion criteria for your course, we recommend leveraging these resources as a tool to help you prepare for the required exams that will count towards your grade.

    All graded exams are formatted consistently across our courses. Graded exams, quizzes, and tests:

  • Can be found in your course topics. Some assignments may be optional, while others are required
  • Have some permitted materials (e.g. resource textbooks and assigned reading materials) and some non-permitted materials (e.g. search engines and cell phones) — make sure to double check for your course
  • Allow students to review and change their answers throughout the duration of the exam
  • Allow students to review the exam’s questions and answers after the exam has been submitted to study correct and incorrect answers for future exams

  • All StraighterLine final exams are proctored. A proctored exam is an exam that is supervised by an approved, neutral person (a proctor) who ensures the identity of the test taker and the integrity of the test-taking environment. StraighterLine uses an online proctoring service called ProctorU for this purpose. Proctoring sessions are taken in the comfort of the student's home (or preferred location) and require a webcam.

    Retaking Assignments & Exams

    Online and self-paced courses can be difficult, especially if you’re accustomed to a more traditional schooling environment. To help our students get a successful start to their course, we allow students to retake most first assignments for a higher grade–with science labs and writing assignments being the exception to the rule. To retake the assignment, simply visit the assessment in your course where we provide instructions. Be sure to set aside enough time to study, have a quiet, distraction-free area to take your exam, and be well-rested before you take any assessment in the future.

    We also allow students to retake the first exam of their course, but this policy does not extend to all other quizzes, tests, or exams.


    Grading varies by course, but each course’s particular mixture of assignments will make up your final grade. Some courses may also include ungraded assignments. These will likely be important for building your knowledge and your skills, but they will not impact your final grade. Consult your course syllabus for detailed information on the types of assessments and grading scale for your course.

    StraighterLine provides a percentage score and letter grade for each course. A passing percentage is 70% or higher. Each college has policies with respect to grades for transferred coursework. You should check with the college you plan to attend to determine its specific grade-posting policies.

    Your StraighterLine transcript will reflect the percentage score and corresponding grade.

    Students will earn points on their assignments, and they’ll receive the total number of points they earned at the end of each course. Your grade is determined by dividing the total amount of points you have achieved by the total amount of points available in the course (typically 1,000).

    Grades on Written Assignments

    All StraighterLine graders have at least a master’s degree or a PhD in their field of study and are highly qualified, trained professionals who have experience in college-level teaching or tutoring. They’re here to help you succeed!

    In most cases, you will receive a numerical grade on your written assignments, but you’ll likely receive qualitative feedback as well. You should allow for a few days to receive your grade and feedback.

    Get Started On Your Degree with StraighterLine Today

    StraighterLine has over 70 courses that are affordable, self-paced, and entirely online. We can help you save time and money on your degree. Explore our courses and get started today.

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