UPM #24 – The Grading System

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Effective Date: December 2011
train image 7 Purpose
train image 7 General Provisions
train image 7 The Grading System
train image 7 Reporting Grades
train image 7 Assigning Grades In Courses Numbered Higher Than 099 (prior to Fall 2006) or Higher Than 399
train image 7 Special Use Grading Symbols
train image 7 Grade Changes

PURPOSE

This publication is intended to bring together the policies and procedures developed by the University for the administration of the grading system.

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GENERAL PROVISIONS

The Faculty Council has approved various policies and procedures regarding the grading system. In order that we may have uniform administration of this policy, the procedures below were developed to apply to all schools and departments.

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THE GRADING SYSTEM

Grades based upon the following system of marking are the only authorized grades to be used on the Official Grade Rosters and on any official grade change form.

1. Undergraduate Grades

Letter grades of A, B, C, D, and F are used. Pluses and minuses may be assigned to grades of B and C. Minus may be assigned to an A, and plus may be assigned to a D. Grades of AB, FA, IN, PS, SP, and W are assigned as explained below.

Important:  Effective Fall 2013, the S grade is no longer available as a permanent graduate grade.

Grade points are assigned as follows:
A 4.0 C 2.0
A- 3.7 C- 1.7
B+ 3.3 D+ 1.3
B 3.0 D 1.0
B- 2.7 F 0.0
C+ 2.3

Temporary grades of IN or AB are treated as an F (zero quality points) until removed. Courses with a grade (or notation) of PS, SP, BE, W or PL are ignored in establishing the quality point average.

To determine the grade point average, first determine the total quality points earned by multiplying the number of grade points awarded for each course by the course’s assigned number of semester credit hours and adding the resulting quality points earned for each course. Then divide the total quality points earned in the term by the number of semester credit hours attempted (for letter grades) in the term.

Example

Course Grade Grade
Points
X Credit
Hours
= Quality
Points
Course A C+ 2.3 x 3.0 = 6.90
Course B B- 2.7 x 3.0 = 8.10
Course C B 3.0 x 3.0 = 12.00
Course D C- 1.7 x 3.0 = 5.10
Course E A- 3.7 x 1.0 = 3.70
Course F F 0.0 x 1.0 = 0.00
Course G A 4.0 x 3.0 = 12.00
Total Quality Points Earned: 47.80
Total Graded Hours: 18.0
Term Grade Point Average: 47.80 ÷ 18.0 = 2.656

The following definitions will be used as a guide for the assignment of undergraduate grades.

A Mastery of course contentat the highest level of attainment that can reasonably be expected of students at a given stage of development.

The A grade states clearly that the students have shown such outstanding promise in the aspect of the discipline under study that he/she may be strongly encouraged to continue.

B Strong performancedemonstrating a high level of attainment for a student at a given stage of development.

The B grade states that the student has shown solid promise in the aspect of the discipline under study.

C A totally acceptable performance demonstrating an adequate level of attainment for a student at a given stage of development.

The C grade states that, while not yet showing unusual promise, the student may continue to study in the discipline with reasonable hope of intellectual development.

D A marginal performance in the required exercisesdemonstrating a minimal passing level of attainment.

A student has given no evidence of prospective growth in the discipline; an accumulation of D grades should be taken to mean that the student would be well advised not to continue in the academic field.

F For whatever reason, an unacceptable performance. The Fgrade indicates that the student’s performance in the required exercises has revealed almost no understanding of the course content.

A grade of F should warrant an advisor’s questioning whether the student may suitably register for further study in the discipline before remedial work is undertaken.

AB Absent from final examination, but could have passed if exam taken.

This is a temporary grade that converts to an F* after the last day of class for the next regular semester unless the student makes up the exam.

FA Failed and absent from exam. The FA grade is given when the undergraduate student did not attend the exam, and could not pass the course regardless of performance on the exam.

This would be appropriate for a student that never attended the course or has excessive absences in the course, as well as missing the exam.

IN Work incomplete.

This is a temporary grade that converts to F* at the end of eight weeks into the next semester unless the student makes up the incomplete work.

PS Passing grade for a course using Pass-Failgrading.

For undergraduate students who elect to take a class under the PS/D/D+/F option, the instructor must assign the regular appropriate letter grade.

Instructors are not informed of which students have elected the Pass-Fail option. The Office of the University Registrar will convert grades of C- or better to PS.

SP Satisfactory Progress

(Authorized only for the first portion of an Honors Program.)

W Withdrew passing.

Entered when a student drops after the eight-week drop period.

2. Graduate Grades

Important: Effective Fall 2013, the S grade is no longer available as a permanent graduate grade

H High Pass
P Pass
L Low Pass
F Fail
S Satisfactory progress on research courses, thesis, dissertation and courses taken to fulfill language requirements (including the computer science substitutes).
IN Work Incomplete.

A temporary grade that converts to an F* unless the grade is replaced with a permanent grade by the last day of classes for the same term one year later.

AB Absent from Final Examination.

A temporary grade that converts to an F* unless the grade is replaced with a permanent grade by the last day of classes for the same term one year later.

NOTE: Graduate students enrolled in courses numbered 099 and below (prior to Fall 2006) and 399 and below (starting with Fall 2006) should receive undergraduate grades.

3. Law School Grades

Effective August 2007, letter grades of A, B, C, D, and F are used. Pluses and minuses may be assigned, but there is no grade of D-. In rare instances, a grade of A+ is awarded in recognition of exceptionally high performance. Some designated courses are graded on a pass-fail basis.

A+ 4.3 C+ 2.3
A 4.0 C 2.0
A- 3.7 C- 1.7
B+ 3.3 D+ 1.3
B 3.0 D 1.0
B- 2.7 F 0.0

From Fall 1993 – August 2007, grades were assigned on a numerical scale ranging from 4.0 to 0.0. A grade of .7 will be considered the lowest passing grade. In rare instances, a grade of 4.3 may be awarded in recognition of exceptionally high performance.

4.3 3.5 2.9 2.3 1.7 1.1
4.0 3.4 2.8 2.2 1.6 1.0
3.9 3.3 2.7 2.1 1.5 0.9
3.8 3.2 2.6 2.0 1.4 0.8
3.7 3.1 2.5 1.9 1.3 0.7
3.6 3.0 2.4 1.8 1.2 0.0
IN Work Incomplete
AB Absent from Final Examination
PS Passing grade for course using Pass-Fail grading
F Failed

4. Pharmacy Professional Program (PHARMD) Grades

Effective Fall 1997 Semester for Professional Pharmacy (PHARMD) students:

H Clear Excellence
HP Above Average
P Entirely Satisfactory
LP Below Average
L Low Passing
F Failed
IN Work Incomplete
AB Absent from Final Examination

Adopted in 1997, and amended in 2001 to eliminate +/- grading for all cohorts admitted to the Doctor of Pharmacy (professional degree) program in or after Fall 2002:

5. Classroom & Laboratory Courses

A Clear Excellence
B High Level of Achievement
C Satisfactory Level of Achievement

Clinical Courses

H Clear Excellence
P Entirely Satisfactory

1. All Courses

F Failed

Unacceptable Level of Achievement

AB Absent from Final Examination.

A temporary grade; converts to an F* unless replaced with a permanent grade by the last day of classes for the same term one year later OR at the end of the term in which the course is next taught.

IN Work Incomplete

A temporary grade; converts to an F* unless replaced with a permanent grade after one year OR at the end of the term in which the course is next taught.

PS Passing grade

for elective courses using pass-fail grading under the University’s PS/D/D+/F option

NOTE: Graduate Programs in the School of Pharmacy (MS or PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences) use the standard University graduate grading scheme. No quality points are assigned to these grades.

2. Dentistry Professional Program (DDS) Grades

A Highest Level of Attainment
B High Level of Attainment
C Adequate Level of Attainment
D Minimal Passing Level of Attainment
F Failed, Unacceptable Performance
IN Work Incomplete
AB Absent from Exam
PS Pass

3. Medical School (MD) Grades

The School of Medicine records their own grades and houses the transcripts for students seeking the MD degree.

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Reporting Grades

Reporting Forms

There are three “forms” provided by the University Registrar’s Office for the purpose of reporting grades:

  1. The electronic Grade Roster for final grades in a course in the Faculty Center in ConnectCarolina.
  2. The Official Report of Grade Change or Change of Temporary Grade.
  3. Post-Semester Registration/Drop/Add Form.

Procedure for Reporting Grades by Instructors

Faculty legislation requires that grade reports be submitted to the University Registrar’s Office within 72 hours after the examination is given.

  1. Regular Grades
    Instructors report final grades on the Official Class Roll and Grade Report. Every registered student must have an appropriate grade designation (no blanks). If a student did not show up for the final examination or has not been attending classes, a grade of AB or FAmust be assigned.For undergraduate students who elect to take a class under the PS/D/D+/F option, the instructor must assign the regular appropriate letter grade. Instructors are not informed of which students have elected the Pass-Fail option. The Office of the University Registrar will convert grades of C- or better to PS.
  2. Temporary Grades
    IN Instructors should assign an IN where the student took the final examination but did not complete some other course requirement.

    The student could pass the course if the assignment was completed. The IN is computed as an F in an undergraduate student’s GPA. For undergraduate students, an IN is changed automatically to an F* if the grade is not cleared by eight weeks into the next regular semester. For graduate students, an IN will revert to an F* (administratively assigned grade) if the grade is not cleared within one year from the original examination.

    AB Must be given to a student who did not take an exam regardless of the reason, but might have passed the course had they done so.

    The AB is computed as an F grade in an undergraduate student’s GPA.

    For undergraduate students, an AB grade is changed automatically to an F* if the grade is not cleared by the last day of class in the next regular semester.

    For graduate students, an AB will revert to an F* (administratively assigned grade) if the grade is not cleared within one year from the original examination.

    Instructors report the removal of a temporary grade on the Official Report of Grade Change or Change of Temporary Grade Form.

    Temporary grades of IN (Incomplete) and AB (Absent), unless assigned in error, are recorded as a part of the official record, but are not reflected on a student’s external official transcript after conversion to a permanent grade.

    Important: Effective Fall 2013, the S grade is no longer available as a permanent graduate grade
    S The grade of S is used to indicate satisfactory progressin research and thesis courses taken by graduate students in cases where such courses are not completed during a term and when there is need for a grade to indicate that the student has been actively engaged in productive research.

    A grade of S is also used to indicate satisfactory completion of the Language Reading Requirement.

    SP The grade of SPmay be used in the first course of a departmental Undergraduate Honors Program.

    The Honors Program runs through two semesters and a final grade is not reported until completion of the second course. When the final grade is reported for an Honors Program, any previously assigned grade of SP must be changed to the appropriate permanent letter grade using an Official Report of Grade Change Form.

  3. Failure to Hand in Exam PaperInstructors should report a grade of F for a student present at the examination but who fails to hand in their examination paper. Instructors are requested to note that the student was present but failed to turn in their paper.

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ASSIGNING GRADES IN COURSES NUMBERED HIGHER THAN 099 (prior to Fall 2006) OR HIGHER THAN 399 (starting in Fall 2006)

Grades assigned in courses numbered above 099 (prior to Fall 2006) or above 399 (starting in Fall 2006) depend upon the individual student level. Students with undergraduate levels should be assigned grades using the undergraduate grading system. Students with graduate or professional levels should be assigned grades using the appropriate graduate or professional grading system.

Please use the following academic level tables to help you determine the appropriate assignment of grades.

Undergraduate Academic Levels (receive undergraduate grades)

FR First Year Undergraduate
SO Sophomore
JR Junior
SR Senior
FYR Fifth Year (Pharmacy) – last admitted in 1995
SPU Special Undergraduate Non-degree
II Inter-institutional
SDS Special Degree Seeking and Off-Campus Nursing Program
FX* Foreign Exchange

Graduate & Professional Levels (receive graduate or professional grades)

GD Grad Doctoral
GM Grad Masters
GPM Grad Post Masters
GMD Grad Masters then Doctoral
GPD Grad Post Doctoral
SPG Special Graduate Non-degree
1st First Year MBA or Professional
2nd Second Year MBA or Professional
3rd Third Year Professional
4th Fourth Year Professional
II Inter-Institutional
FX Foreign Exchange
SPP Professional Non-degree
SDS Currently used for Off-Campus Professional Pharmacy Program

Notes

The levels that start with “SP” (SPU, SPG, SPP) are used for non-degree students. Levels that start with “G” (GD, GM, GMD, GPM, GPD) are graduate levels.

* Levels II and FX can be used for undergraduate or graduate students.
** Part-time Classroom Studies post baccalaureate students (SPG) are allowed to choose either the undergraduate or graduate grading system in courses numbered 100 through 199 (prior to Fall 2006) or 400 to 699 (starting in Fall 2006) for grade assignments. The student should inform the instructor at the beginning of classes as to her/his choice of grading system.

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SPECIAL USE GRADING SYMBOLS

The following symbols are not used by individual instructors but are assigned by the University Registrar’s Office under the circumstances indicated.

BE By Exam

A notation of BE (By Exam) is entered in the grade column of students’ academic transcripts if they are awarded credit for a course as a result of evaluation by examination.

The notation of BE should be used for any course for which credit hours are awarded.

F* Administrative F

The Office of the University Registrar automatically converts the temporary grades of AB and IN to F* when the time limit for a grade change on these temporary grades has expired.

NG No Grade

The symbol of NG is recorded as a notation for failure of the Language Reading Requirement, for authorized professional school non-degree courses which are not assigned a grade, and for Judicial Pending cases.

PL Placement

A notation of PL (Placement) is entered in the grade column of students’ academic transcripts if the result of an evaluation places them in a succeeding course without awarding credit for the preceding course.

W Withdrew Passing

Entered in the grade column when a student “drops” a course after the official eight week drop period in a fall or spring semester without “adding” an equivalent credit hour course. After the drop period, this symbol will be entered unless the office approving the “drop” (normally the student’s academic dean) specifies on the drop-add form that the W should not be posted.

The W is also employed in summer session courses when a course is dropped after the equivalent drop period for the particular summer session.

The Graduate School and Law School do not employ the symbol W for their students.

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Grade Changes

The grades of H, HP, P, LP, L, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, PS, F, FA, F*, and numerical grades in the Law School, are considered to be permanent grades and once reported the Instructor’s Grade Report may not be changed, except under certain conditions.

For a grade change to be considered, it must be based upon one or more of the following grounds and upon allegation that the ground or grounds cited influenced the grade assignment to the student’s detriment:

  • Arithmetic or clerical error
  • Arbitrariness, possibly including discrimination or harassment based upon the race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression of the student.
  • Personal Malice
  • Honor Court sanction
  • Harassment
  • Discrimination

The University’s Policy on Prohibited Harassment and Discrimination(http://www.unc.edu/campus/policies/harassanddiscrim.pdf) prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of an individual’s race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Appendix B of this Policy provides specific information for students who believe that they have been discriminated against or harassed on the basis of one or more of these protected classifications.

Students who want additional information regarding the University’s process for investigating allegations of discrimination or harassment should contact the Equal Opportunity/ADA Office for assistance:

Equal Opportunity/ADA Office
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
100 E. Franklin Street, Unit 110
Campus Box 9160
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599
Telephone: (919) 966-3576
Fax: (919) 962-2562
Email: equalopportunity@unc.edu

Any administrator or supervisor, including a department chair, associate dean or other administrator, who receives a student’s complaint about prohibited harassment or discrimination must notify the Equal Opportunity/ADA Office within five (5) calendar days of receiving the complaint. If a student raises a claim of prohibited harassment or discrimination during an academic appeal, an investigation of the student’s claim must be performed under the direction of the Equal Opportunity/ADA Office. The school or department must await the results of the harassment or discrimination investigation before deciding the student’s academic appeal.

A grade appeal must be made no later than the last day of classes for the next succeeding fall or spring semester.

  1. Grade Appeals Correcting a Clerical or Arithmetical Error
    An instructor who has reported an incorrect grade for a student because of an error in calculating the grade or in transporting it on the Official Class Roll and Grade Report, may change the grade to one of the other letter grades, provided this change is made no later than the last day of classes of the next succeeding fall or spring semester.This report must contain a statement to the effect that the grade change is due to clerical, arithmetical or transposition error and must contain the written approval of the department chair concerned. For Graduate Students, please see point #3 below.
  2. Grade Appeals for Undergraduate and Post Baccalaureate Professional Students
    Any student who protests a course grade shall first attempt to resolve this disagreement with the instructor concerned. An instructor may change a permanent grade only when a clerical or arithmetical error is involved. (See paragraph a. above) Failing to reach a satisfactory resolution, the student may appeal the grade in accordance with the procedures outlined below. Such appeal must be made no later than the last day of classes of the next succeeding fall or spring semester.Students should present the appeal in writing to the dean of their school. The dean will refer the appeal to the administrative board of his/her school and the chair of the department concerned. The department chair will appoint a committee to consider the appeal and will make a recommendation to the administrative board based on the committee’s findings. The administrative board will make the final decision and no change of grade will be made except as a result of the decision by the board. The chair will report such decision to change the grade to the University Registrar’s Office.
  3. Grade Appeals for Graduate StudentsBefore filing any appeal of a course grade, the student should first address his or her concerns to the instructor who assigned the grade. Should the instructor detect an arithmetic or clerical error that negatively influenced the grade assignment, a grade change form should be executed reflecting the corrected grade. An instructor may not initiate a change of a course grade as a result of reevaluating the quality of the student’s performance or as a result of additional work performed by the student.

    If, after consultation with the instructor, a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, the student may appeal the grade to the instructor’s chair or dean. Such an appeal should be lodged by the student in writing with the instructor’s chair or dean, with a copy to be provided by the student to the instructor, and should cite the evidence by which the student judges (a) that an impermissible element existed in the instructor’s evaluation of the student’s coursework and (b) that it influenced the grade assignment to the detriment of the student. Appeals should be submitted no later than the last day of classes of the next succeeding regular semester.

    The specific process for grade appeals for Graduate Students can be found in The Graduate School Handbook: http://handbook.unc.edu/grading.html

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