Policies and Grading

Program Schedules

At Blackstone, we make sure that we have an effective system in place for our programs. The time limit for the completion of lesson assignments depends upon the program or course in which you are enrolled and will either be six months or one year from your official start date. If additional time is needed an extension may be granted if requested in writing, by phone, or by e-mail.

• The Legal Assistant/Paralegal Program has 31 lessons and exams. You will need to complete a lesson and submit an exam every week to two weeks in order to complete your studies within 12 months.

• Career Training Programs range from 16 to 18 Study Units. You should complete a lesson and exam approximately every two to three weeks in order to complete your studies within 12 months.

• Certificate Courses range from 4 to 9 Study Units. You should complete a lesson approximately every month to complete your studies within 12 months.

• Advanced Paralegal Courses have six lessons and six exams. We recommend that you complete a study unit once a month to finish within six months.

Career Diploma programs can be completed within four (4) months, students are permitted up to twelve (12) months from date of enrollment to complete their program. Students may request two (2) 6-month extensions for a nominal fee.

Academic Progress

BCI’s learning model allows students to complete the coursework at their own pace without specific deadlines for each individual lesson. However, if a student has not completed a lesson within a 30 day time frame, the student is contacted by BCI staff to in an effort to motivate the student, or identify an issue the student might be experiencing and provide assistance. BCI continually encourages and motivates students throughout their program to achieve their goal of completion. If a student has not completed all coursework within 30 days of the expiration of their enrollment period, BCI will notify the student of options for extending their program.

Upon entering the program, if a student has difficulty with the first lesson and consequently, the first exam, our staff will contact the student to assess the reason for difficulty. If it proves to be an issue of the program content or delivery of instruction being too difficult for the student, we will first initiate assistance to the student to see if the issue can be overcome. If this cannot be resolved, BCI will provide a full refund to the student.

If students encounter difficulty later in a program, each case is treated individually with academic dismissal used only as a last option. BCI remains committed to the graduation of its students and will certainly work with any student expressing a desire to continue and complete their program of study. Upon meeting graduation requirements, students will be awarded their diploma.

Exams and Grading

Upon conclusion of each lesson or study unit, using a unique username and password, students complete and submit exams through the school’s Online Student Center. Grade Reports provide instant feedback and can be viewed in the Online Student Center. Assignment and project results are emailed or mailed to the student.

In order to maintain fairness, consistency, and accuracy, BCI relies on the following:

• Grading rubrics are used where applicable, to ensure fairness and accuracy in grading projects and homework assignments

• The Education Department ensures the course material provided supports the objectives being assessed

• Online examinations are built on a secure platform and graded automatically

• Feedback is provided to the student when assignments are graded

• Students may dispute a grade received by contacting the school

Exam Results: BCI’s Online Student Center delivers examinations to students. A secure username and password is provided to each student and ensures security for both the student and BCI. Because online examinations are automatically graded, students have access to their score immediately.

Assignment Results: Students are notified of graded assignment results via mailed or emailed grade reports. Student Services regularly checks student accounts for missing assignments and will notify the student via email to encourage assignment submission.


Students who receive 69% or lower on any exam will be eligible for a retest. Blackstone’s policy is that any student who passes a retest may not score higher than 70%, no matter what grade they received on the retest. Students who fail to achieve a minimum passing grade (70%) on a retest will receive the higher grade of the two failed exams and the score will be calculated into the final average. No further retesting is available.

Grading System

Examinations are scored on a straight numerical basis. Once a student has completed all of the examinations in a course, the final grade is determined by averaging all the lesson grades together. The equivalent letter grade is determined by the following scale:

Letter Grade Numerical Equivalent
A- Excellent 94-100
B- Good 86-93
C- Satisfactory 78-85
D- Passing 70-77
F- Failing Below 70

Homework assignments or projects, if included in your program, are graded on a satisfactory vs. unsatisfactory basis. Students are required to resubmit an unsatisfactory assignment. Homework grades are not calculated into your average; however, satisfactory completion of all assignments is required for graduation.

Grade Disputes

A student may contest a grade by contacting the school, preferably via email to instructor@blackstone.edu. If the student does not feel the response and explanation resolves his or her question or complaint, the student may request that the Director of Education review the complaint and make a final decision.


Student Identity Verification

The student identity verification policy enables BCI to verify that the student who registers in a course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program. All students are assigned an individual Student Identification Number (ID) and secure login credential at the time of enrollment. These assigned identifiers are used to access BCI’s Online Student Center.
Students who have forgotten their password or request to change their password must contact Student Services. The Student Services representative will ask the student to confirm identifying information before updating the password.

Appropriate use of technology is the student’s responsibility. Students should take precautionary measures to keep login credentials secure and make arrangements to change password credentials periodically or in the event a breach is suspected.

Academic Integrity

Blackstone Career Institute maintains a Student Code of Conduct to protect the rights of students, faculty, staff, and Blackstone itself. Blackstone Career Institute students are required to adhere to the following policies in their academic and personal conduct.

Students must:

  • Be respectful and courteous to fellow students, faculty, and staff
  • Accept responsibility for their own actions
  • Adhere to all policies that appear in Blackstone catalogs, student handbooks, study materials, website and enrollment agreements
  • Never misrepresent the school or its staff in any online social communities
  • Follow all rules on submitting work and taking examinations
  • Not use others work, or present another individual’s ideas as their own
  • Not seek, receive, or give unauthorized help on assignments, quizzes, or examinations

The Student Code of Conduct applies to all Blackstone Career Institute students. Failure to comply will automatically be referred to the Education Director for review and recommendations. If any student is found to have engaged in academic dishonesty in any form — including but not limited to cheating, plagiarizing and fabricating — that student will be dismissed from Blackstone Career Institute. There will be no exceptions.

Academic Honesty

Each student doing their own work is the basis of independent study. Since students study at their own pace and schedule their own exams, there should never be any undue pressure when taking an exam. Blackstone does encourage students to be fully prepared prior to taking any exam. The use of any notes or program materials is allowed since each exam is open-book. The objective is to learn and understand the materials you are studying. Any student suspected of academic dishonesty will be suspended from the program. There are many different forms of academic dishonesty. The following kinds of honesty violations and their definitions are intended to serve as examples of unacceptable academic conduct.

Cheating: Any inappropriate activity in which the work submitted to the school does not represent the work of the enrolled student. This would include submission of someone else’s work, submission of answers obtained through inappropriate measures, or providing answers to another student.

Plagiarism: Using another person’s ideas or finished work as your own without giving credit to the source. It includes copying or paraphrasing something and using it as if you had done the work yourself.

Fabrication: Falsifying or inventing information and presenting it as legitimate; misrepresenting oneself or one’s status, potentially damaging Blackstone’s reputation or any of the members of its academic community.

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: Assisting another student in an act that violates the standards of academic honesty; providing information, material, or assistance to another person knowing that it may be used in violation of academic honesty policies; providing false information in connection in any academic honesty inquiry.

Course Interruptions

If students need a temporary leave of absence from their program, a request should be made in writing to Blackstone. One three-month leave of absence will be granted for good cause. A leave of absence does not extend the required time for completion.

Complaint Resolution

If a student has a question or problem, please contact the Blackstone Student Services staff. If the problem is not resolved, you may direct your complaint in writing to the Manager of Business Operations who will respond within 10 business days. Concerns that have not been satisfactorily resolved by the Blackstone staff may be directed to: 1) Pennsylvania Department of Education, State Board of Private Licensed Schools, 607 South Dr, Floor 3E, Harrisburg, PA 17120, Phone: 717-783-8228, 2) Distance Education Accrediting Commission, 1101 17th Street, Suite 808, Washington, DC 20036, Phone: 202-234-5100.