Instructors may sometimes need to deviate from these guidelines to reasonably accommodate special student circumstances. Such deviations are acceptable so long as they reflect fair and consistent treatment of all students in a section. Instructors unsure of what deviations are appropriate are encouraged to consult with their unit heads. 

  • A student's grade should be determined only from the student's performance in the course, as described in the course syllabus. Any modifications of the performance evaluation scheme during the term should be reasonable, consistent with the overall goals of the course, and announced clearly to students. 
  • Opportunities for demonstrating performance should be offered equally to all students in a section; no student should be offered opportunities not available or not known to others. 
  • Grades should be monotonic: within any pair of students, the student with better performance should not be given a lower grade. 


The Academic Policies and Standards Committee guidelines were supported by the University Academic Senate, and the University Academic Senate recommendation supported by Provost Cimitile, November, 2017


Gordon, M. E., & Fay, C. H. (2010). The effects of grading and teaching practices on students’ perceptions of grading fairness. College Teaching, 58(3), 93-98.

Peters, R., Buckmiller, T, & Kruse, J. (2017). Questioning points and percentages: Standards based grading (SBG) in higher education. Journal of College Teaching,65(4), pp 1-6.

Schinske, J., & Tanner, K. (2014). Teaching more by grading less (or differently). Cbe-Life Sciences Education, 13(2), 159-166. doi:10.1187/cbe.CBE-14-03-0054.

Smith, V. & Palenque, S. M. Ten tips for more efficient and effective grading. Faculty Focus blog post, February 2, 2015. Retrieved from:


Davis, B. G., & Ebooks Corporation. (2009). Tools for teaching (2nd ed.). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Available as an Ebook through University Libraries. See sections: Grading Practices and Calculating and Assigning Grades.

Nilson, L. B., & Stanny, C. J. (2015). Specifications grading: Restoring rigor, motivating students, and saving faculty time (First ed.). Sterling, Virginia: Stylus. Available as an Ebook through University Libraries

Stevens, D. D., & Levi, A. (2013). Introduction to rubrics: An assessment tool to save grading time, convey effective feedback, and promote student learning (2nd ed.). Sterling, Va: Stylus. 

Suskie, L., & Banta, T. W. (2009). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide (2nd ed.). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Available as an Ebook through University Libraries

Walvoord, B. E. F., Anderson, V. J., & Ebooks Corporation. (2010). Effective grading: A tool for learning and assessment in college (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Available as an Ebook through University Libraries

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