Evaluations. At the undergraduate level, grades on exams and courses are often the only factor in evaluating your academic achievement and potential. Grades are important in graduate school, too, but assessment of your overall professional development and capacity for independent and imaginative work is more important. If your studies are directed towards long-range professional development, good grades will generally follow (although do note that your grade point average must remain above a 3.0 throughout your graduate experience else you risk probation). Each spring, the Geosciences faculty evaluate all graduate students to identify which students are on-track and which students may need additional assistance or attention. In addition to performance in courses and progress towards thesis/capstone project, faculty members discuss the teaching performance and professionalism (if relevant) of GTAs and the research progress and professionalism of GRAs. This evaluation influences funding-decisions for subsequent semesters, and ideally serves to recognize outstanding achievement and also cases where students may need more support and guidance.