It is very useful to give students regular reports on their progress in your course. The main purpose of such feedback is to indicate to the student areas in which he or she is failing to meet the standards of the course. A second, and equally valid, purpose is to encourage and congratulate the student who is doing well. Thirdly, such feedback allows you and the student to ascertain that your records are correct. For small classes, the students may be invited to visit you in your office for a short discussion of progress. Large classes present a problem in this regard. With the aid of a computer spreadsheet, you should be able to generate a form for each student detailing course progress and grades and including specific comments. According to FERPA guidelines, you may *not* post lists of grades using the final four digits of a student's Social Security number to identify each student; rather, you need to assign codes to students. Lists should be re-ordered so that they are not simply alphabetical by student name.
At midterms or at any time in the semester, care should be taken to protect student privacy when returning homework, papers, and exams. Graded material should never be left outside office doors or in hallways. Work should be returned to students individually in class or during office hours.
Midterm grade reports and examinations
Midterm grades are due at the beginning of the ninth week of the semester, on the first day of the two-day midterm break in the fall and the week-long spring break in the spring. Instructors are required to report midterm grades for all undergraduate students; these grades are then reported to students and their advisers. Midterm grades received after the deadline will not be reported to students or advisers. Grades are used for advising purposes and are not reported on the student's official transcript.
Many instructors hold midterm examinations during the seventh or eighth week of the semester. Instructors of large core-requirement courses should consult with instructors of other such courses that the same students might be taking to avoid scheduling multiple examinations on a single day. The Office of Undergraduate Studies is eager to provide assistance with schedule coordination.
Final examinations and grades
Final examinations are normally required in all courses and must be given during the final examination period at the time assigned by the Registrar. Any exceptions must be approved by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies (source: General Bulletin, chapter on Undergraduate Studies). In some courses a final paper or project may be an appropriate substitute for a final examination, to be completed by the date of the scheduled final exam.
No examinations or required course activities are to be scheduled on the Reading Days (source: General Bulletin, chapter on Undergraduate Studies). Optional review sessions may be held during the Reading Days.
When planning course assignments and examinations, faculty should attempt to ensure that the playing field is even--or as close to even as possible--for all students in their class. In particular, exempting some students from final examinations may disadvantage some students and advantage others.
No student will be required to take more than two final examinations on a single day (source: General Bulletin, chapter on Undergraduate Studies). A student who has three final examinations scheduled for a single day will be assisted by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies in arranging to take one of those examinations on an alternative day during the final examination period.
Student absence from a final examination
A student must explain immediately and in writing to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies an absence from a final examination. If the explanation is acceptable, the Dean will authorize the assignment of the grade Incomplete and the administration of a make-up examination by the instructor.
In the event of an unexcused absence from a final examination, a student should be assigned a final grade that assumes a grade of zero on the final examination and is otherwise consistent with the grading policy for the course (source: General Bulletin, chapter on Undergraduate Studies).
Final grades must be reported within 48 hours of the examination, and no later than the second day after the last day of final exams. Instructors should plan their exams and their grading time accordingly.
Preventing cheating during examinations
Instructors should plan exams carefully and take measures to prevent cheating or plagiarism. Preventive measures are treated in detail in Chapter 3 in the section Fostering Academic Integrity.
Explanation of Grades
The following grades are awarded by instructors of undergraduates at Case Western Reserve University.
|P||Passing in a pass/no pass course|
|NP||Not passing in a pass/no pass course|
|H||Honors in a pass/no pass course (Nursing School only)|
|R||For courses that extend for more than one semester|
Please note that + and - are not added to official grades. Instructors may use them in their courses, but the final grades on students' transcripts will not include these modifiers. Also, grades of W and WD are the result of student action and are not assignable by the instructor.
In addition to taking classes which are wholly Pass/No Pass, full-time students who are in good standing have the option of designating one of their graded classes Pass/No Pass at the end of the semester. Instructors are not informed of this option; evaluative grades are converted to P or NP in the Registrar's office. If students tell you they are taking your class Pass/No Pass, ignore the remark; you are required to submit an evaluative grade.
Incomplete (source: General Bulletin, chapter on Undergraduate Studies)
The grade of Incomplete (I) is assigned at the discretion of an instructor provided that:
An Incomplete grade may not be assigned if a student is absent from a final examination unless the Dean of Undergraduate Studies has authorized the absence.
When the student completes the work, the I is changed to an A, B, C, D, P, F, or NP. All work for the I grade must be made up, and the change of grade recorded in the Office of the University Registrar, by the date specified by the instructor, but no later than the 11th week of the session following the one in which the I was earned. In certain cases (such as students on probation or graduating students) the dean may establish an earlier date for completion of courses with Incomplete grades. Failure to meet the deadline for removing the Incomplete will result in a failing grade.
A grade of Incomplete must be requested by the student and should never be assigned by an instructor just to allow extra time to finish grading.
Grades in the Freshman year--"Freshman Forgiveness"
Freshman students in their first two semesters of college enrollment are eligible for what is known informally among students as "Freshman Forgiveness." When an eligible student earns a grade of F or W in the course, the grade does not appear on the transcript and is not calculated into the grade point average. The intent of this grade policy is to encourage new students to complete courses without penalty if, despite all efforts, they fail a class. The "forgiveness" grade is not assigned by the instructor; when an F is reported for an eligible student or the student withdraws from the course, the grade is converted in the Registrar's Office.
To shore up their grade point averages, students may choose to fail a course deliberately if their performance is poor. However, students who fail to earn sufficient credit hours will be placed on academic probation, may fail to meet the requirements of certain academic programs, and risk separation from the university. Students should be encouraged to complete a course if they can possibly pass. Students who wish to fail a course deliberately should be advised to withdraw.
Instructors who have awarded grades of D may be approached by students requesting them to change the grade to F so that they will get the benefits of the "Freshman Forgiveness" policy. Such students should be reminded that grades are earned, not given; the instructor should not change an earned D to an F simply as a favor to the student, any more than he or she should change an earned D to a C.
Once grades are turned in to the Registrar, final grades are reported to students by mail and are also available through the CWRU web page.
Instructors should not leave any blank spaces on the grade reporting form. Assign a grade on the basis of work completed and assessed; if the student has not shown up in the class, the grade should reflect the fact that no work was completed.
Instructors may wish to inform students of their final grades prior to the Registrar's official report. This should be done in a confidential manner, such as a private e-mail message, an office conference, or a written note handed directly to the student. In large classes, instructors may only post lists of final grades if a random code has been assigned to students for identification. Such lists should be reordered so that they are not in alphabetical order by student name. According to FERPA guidelines, you may *not* post lists of grades using the final four digits of a student's Social Security number. Under no circumstances should names or any part of Social Security numbers be posted with grades.
Instructors should never leave graded papers or exams outside their office doors. Leaving this information unattended is a violation of student privacy and an invitation to theft of exams and papers. Instructors who wish to return final papers or other course material to students should make arrangements to mail the material to the student (perhaps by requesting students to provide addressed, stamped envelopes) or to hold special office hours for that purpose.
If a student requests a change of grade or reevaluation of work once final grades have been reported, the instructor should be willing to review his or her grading for possible mistakes. However, in fairness to the whole class, the instructor should then review the work of all students whose grades may be questionable, not just of those who come to the instructor with complaints. Similarly, if students who have earned a low grade ask to perform additional work for extra credit in hope of raising their grades, and the instructor agrees, that same opportunity should be offered to all students whose grades are below an A. Most courses are planned for completion within the semester; instructors should avoid extending coursework beyond the semester's limits without good reason.
Instructors should not change grades for students who complain they will lose their scholarships or suffer other consequences from a poor grade. Students have numerous opportunities during the semester to seek assistance in improving their performance or to withdraw from the course. Instructors should review grades before submitting them to be confident they are accurate and fair.
Changes to student grades must be reported on grade change cards and must have all required signatures: those of the instructor, the department chair, and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. (source: University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee)
During the final weeks of the semester, course evaluation packets will be delivered to departmental mailboxes. Instructors should plan to hold course evaluations on a day when they can afford to take at least 15 minutes of class time for the purpose. During this time, the instructor must leave the classroom. A student volunteer should collect the evaluations, and return the handwritten comment sheets to the appropriate departmental office and the computer-scanned forms to the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Remind your students that instructors will not be permitted to view course evaluations until well after final grades have been turned in. Individual departments may have additional evaluation forms and procedures.
Chapter Three: Day-to-Day Interactions
Chapter Five: Students With Disabilities
Table of Contents