Grading Best Practices

Grading is a difficult task and departments are encouraged to set aside time each year to share best practices and to discuss grading strategies within the department or program. New instructors should especially be mentored about grading and grading issues while being introduced to best grading practices.

  • A through F grades are used, with plus and minuses used by almost all instructors. 
  • Instructors should choose a grading strategy appropriate to departmental guidelines, the related discipline, and its professional organization’s recommendations.
  • Grades and grading should be as transparent as possible. Students should have enough information to understand grades earned on various assignments, quizzes, and exams and their relation to the final grade so that the student can reasonably predict the end of the semester grade as the course proceeds.
  • The grading scheme should be described in the syllabus and reviewed with students frequently during the course. (The syllabus date must be current and please include any needed information related to the use of the plus or the minus grade.)
  • Once the semester begins, a grading system may be modified in order to benefit students; however, it may not be adjusted to lower students’ grades.
  • The number of students who drop the course should not affect the overall grades of those who remain in the course.
  • Instructors are obligated to evaluate each student's work fairly and without bias and to assign grades based on valid academic criteria. (See the University Operations Manual on professional ethics and academic responsibility, part 2(e), and the University policy on human rights.)
  • It is especially important that grading be consistent across sections of multi-section courses.
  • While the College discourages indicating superior accomplishment with the A+ grade, it supports grades that accurately reflect the level of the student’s mastery of the course content and related skills regardless of the performance by other students in the course.
  • The DEO or Program Coordinator reviews all semester grades when submitted.

Students from other colleges taking courses administered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are subject to CLAS policies. CLAS students taking courses offered by other UI colleges are subject to the grading policies of those colleges.

A+    A      A-    B+    B     B-    C+  C    C -  D+  D    D-  F   
100-99    98-93    92-90    89-87    86-83    82-80    79-77    76-73    72-70   69-67    66-63    62-60    59 or below