Building KU's Teaching and Learning Community

Grading Strategies & Decisions

professor and students working togetherGrade rosters
Grade rosters are available to faculty by 6 PM on the last day of the semester for 15-week courses. For short courses, grade rosters are available the next business day after the last day of the class.

To access rosters, go to Enroll & Pay and use your Outlook sign on. Once you’re signed in, select the Faculty Center to see your grade rosters by term. You must be the Instructor of Record to see a roster. If you’re not listed as the Instructor of Record, contact the scheduling officer in your department, and he or she will contact the University Registrar to make the update. The deadline for submitting final grades is five business days after the last day of finals by midnight.

Evaluating student performance
Assessing Students’ Learning provides a useful frame of reference for evaluating student performance.

University Senate Rules and Regulations 2.1 provide the following guidelines about evaluating student performance in a course:

The evaluation of student performance shall be based upon examinations, written papers, class participation and such other requirements as the instructor may determine.

Information about the basis for evaluating students’ performance and about the requirements that students must fulfill should be made available to students, preferably in writing, within the first two weeks of class. Students who are not in class when such information is provided are responsible for knowing it. Students are also responsible for subsequent announcements about course content and grading policies. This information should not be considered a contract; the information may be revised as the course progresses, provided students are given timely notice of such revisions.

The faculty of the College or a school may prescribe conditions under which individual students may be exempted from final examinations, provided that such exemption is based on grades received prior to the time of the final examination.

In cases where part of a class grade is based on attendance, a student shall not be penalized for absence from regularly scheduled class activities which conflict with mandated religious observances. In cases of conflicts between regularly scheduled class activities and mandated religious observances, the student is responsible for initiating discussion with the instructor to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

The evaluation of student performance is the responsibility and privilege of the faculty. If this responsibility is delegated to a Teaching Assistant or an Assistant Instructor, the faculty member or members in charge of the course retain the right to assign the final course grade.

USRR 2.2.1 also specifies the following regarding the grading system at KU:

The letters A, B, C, D, S (satisfactory), CR (credit), and + shall be used to indicate passing work.

The grade of A will be reported for achieving outstanding quality.

The grade of B will be reported for achieving high quality.

The grade of C will be reported for achieving acceptable quality.

The grade of D will be reported for achievement that is minimally passing, but at less than acceptable quality.

The letters F, U (unsatisfactory), and NC (no credit) shall indicate that the quality of work was such that, to obtain credit, the student must repeat the regular work of the course, or that the student’s work was not of passing quality at the time of disenrollment from the course.

The letters W and I may be given. The letter I shall indicate incomplete work, such as may be completed without re-enrollment in the course. The letter W shall indicate withdrawal for which no credit or grade point is assigned.

The letter I should not be used if a definite grade can be assigned for the work done. It shall not be given for work of a student in any course except to indicate that some part of the work has, for good reason, not been done, while the rest has been satisfactorily completed. When an I is reported, the character and amount of work needed to remove it should be indicated on the Explanation of Incomplete card for the student’s dean.

An I must be made up in the next semester of enrollment, except when the removal of the I involves the repetition of a portion of the classroom work, in which case it shall be removed in the first semester of residence in which the course is offered. An I not removed according to this rule shall be regarded as a grade of F, U, or NC on request of the student’s dean, with the consent of the instructor, if possible, or the department chairperson if the instructor is not available, and so indicated on the permanent record.

The College or any school may use the letter P to represent satisfactory progress during one semester of work for which a grade will be given only upon the completion of the course or project in a subsequent semester.

If you’ve established course goals and aligned assignments with them, you may wish to use these absolute standards for course grades (Travers 1950):

A – All major and minor goals achieved.
B – All major goals achieved; some minor ones not.
C – All major goals achieved; many minor ones not.
D – A few major goals achieved, but student is not prepared for advanced work.
F – None of the major goals achieved.

Maximizing students’ acceptance of grades
Davis (1993) suggests these strategies for maximizing students’ acceptance of grades:

  • Clearly state grading procedures in your course syllabus, and go over this information in class.
  • Set policies about late work.
  • Avoid modifying grading policies during the semester.
  • Provide many opportunities for students to show you what they know.
  • Consider allowing students to choose among alternative assignments.
  • Stress to students that grades reflect class work and aren’t judgments about people.
  • Encourage students who are performing poorly.
  • Deal directly and privately with students who are angry or upset about their grade.
  • Keep accurate records of students’ grades.


Davis, B.G. (1993). Tools for teaching.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Travers, R.M.W. (1950). How to make achievement tests. New York: Odyssey.

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