Guidelines on Grading at BU

Helpful advice on assigning final grades, as well as a link to more specific guidelines.

Don’t be a grade-inflater! Grades should reflect the distribution of effort and success in the class. In undergraduate courses, a useful (unofficial) guideline is that an “A” should mean that the student mastered the material and produced excellent work, “B” that the student understood the material but did not master it or the student’s work was good but not superior, “C” that there were significant shortcomings in understanding/accomplishment or that the work was lackluster (“satisfactory” is the term used in the Undergraduate Bulletin), “D” (“low pass”) that there was limited understanding/accomplishment or effort, and “F” that there was little understanding/accomplishment or effort.

Distributions of grades skewed toward the high end might imply that either an “A” does not require a high level of achievement in the course or too little is required of the students. “High end” is a median grade of “B” or higher for a 100- to 200-level undergraduate course. A median grade of “B” is common for upper-level undergraduate courses. (In graduate courses “C+” is a failing grade, hence the average grade is higher than in undergraduate courses.)

If a student for good reason could not complete the last stages of your course (for example,┬ámissed the final exam because of illness), you and the student can enter into a contract in which you specify the work that needs to be completed and the date by which it must be handed in to you, which must be no later than one calendar year from the end of the semester in which the course was offered. An incomplete grade form must be submitted with your grade sheet for the course for each “I” grade that you issue.

Check out pedagogical tips from the CEIT on grading criteria.