Grading Policies

Grading Scale
Submitting Final Grades to the University
Student on the Grade Roster Who Never Attended Class
Changing Grades
Saving Grades
Thoughts on Grading

Grading Scale

In accordance with the SJSU Graduate School guidelines, the following grading scale will be used:

Range Grade
97-100 A
94-96 A-
91-93 B+
88-90 B
85-87 B-
82-84 C+
79-81 C
76-78 C-
73-75 D+
70-72 D
67-69 D-
Below 67 F

Submitting Final Grades to the University

Your PeopleSoft ID and password will allow you to access grade rosters for any class you are teaching. You will be required to enter the grades for your students into the PeopleSoft (MySJSU) system ( by the published due date for grades in the University Academic Calendar:

Student on the Grade Roster Who Never Attended Class

If you have a name on your roster and that person never attended class nor did any work, you're supposed to assign a grade of "WU", not "F". If the student has done the paperwork to drop or withdraw, then there'll be no problem and that paperwork will supersede the WU grade. If they haven't done that and just assumed they'd be dropped from the class if they didn't show up (there are some who do that), when they get the WU, they can do a petition for a retroactive drop. If they do nothing, it will eventually turn into an F.

F is not a grade you're supposed to assign unless you received work from a student that was legitimately evaluated to be of a calibre that warranted an F.


Changing Grades

If the roster still indicates a Not Reviewed or Approved status, the Registrar Services Office has not formally posted the roster. Therefore, faculty can still change the grades online.

  1. Change the Approval Status field back to Not Reviewed, then click the SAVE button.
  2. The grade input box reappears. Make the appropriate changes, and then click the SAVE button.
  3. It will check for any errors. If none, then change the Approval Status field back to Approved and click the SAVE button.

If the roster has already been posted (which you can tell if the Approval Status box no longer appears and no Grade Input box appears), grade changes must be submitted to the iSchool Student Services Team.

Saving Grades

The Student Fairness Committee (SFC) recommends that that faculty preserve all grades given during a semester for a minimum of five (5) years. Online course instructors should print hard copies of grades or use backup systems to guard against loss. Per the "Tenured and Probationary Reference Guide" (p. 42):

Grade books/records document the computation by which faculty determine students' grades. Such records are frequently pivotal in resolving academic fairness complaints; they are also potentially significant in civil suits. Therefore, faculty are advised to keep all grade books/records for a minimum of five years, i.e., two years beyond the statute of limitations for legal filing. Grade books/records are university property and may be reviewed by the appropriate administrator.

Thoughts on Grading

Grading is a necessary part of an instructor's work. It should be taken very seriously and treated with sincere respect. It is not an easy task and none of us is truly comfortable with the role of evaluator. It can be particularly difficult for the first-time teacher. Grading may not be what you do regularly, but it is essentially what you do when you evaluate someone who works for you. A good fitness report or a recommendation for a raise is the equivalent of giving someone an "A." The following is a discussion of some of the issues involved that we hope will be helpful to you. Please feel free to contact the Director whenever you have a grading dilemma or need advice.

Establish your standards. Develop a clear idea of what you think an "A" performance on a paper, project, or exam consists of and communicate this to your students. Provide a model of a superior assignment if you can.

You are likely very clear about the performance you expect from a worker on the job; be as clear with your statements of expectations of your students on the tasks you assign them.

Communication is very important to our profession. Please design assignments that provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate written and/or oral communication skills. Grade these carefully so that students have the chance to see both their strengths and weaknesses in communicating and how they can improve these essential skills. You make the decisions about what products will be developed in the course of the class. You should choose among examinations, quizzes, one paper or several, projects done independently or within groups, based on what you believe best demonstrates the students' understanding of the concepts and/or techniques being taught. Recognize that requiring lots of products may not be as effective as requiring fewer works of greater length or complexity. You also have to determine how much time you will need to spend carefully evaluating the students' work.

Be clear about your expectations as to how quality will be demonstrated as well as how much work you expect students to do in the class. You will find that students are usually quite willing to do whatever work is expected of them so long as they can see that the work is relevant to what the instructor is trying to help them learn.

Be wary of using class participation as a means of grading students. These are graduate students and participation in their own learning should be a given that does not have to be rewarded with a grade. If you do choose to use class participation in your grading matrix, clearly state how you will evaluate that performance throughout the semester. Most faculty find that class participation is difficult to measure effectively and fairly and do not use it.

Try not to give everyone the same grade. On occasion we see a grade sheet where the instructor has given everyone an "A" with the comments such as "Everyone worked so hard" or "I couldn't bear to give them anything less, knowing how important grades are in this program." However well intentioned, this approach signals an instructor who is unwilling to take the responsibility for honest evaluation, and this approach is not fair to anyone. We know that many of our students have jobs, families, and other obligations. We know, too, that sometimes students take more classes than would be wise during a given semester. Our students are adults and these are their choices. Accordingly, we treat them as adults who accept the responsibility for their actions. You will occasionally have a student who tells you they must get an "A" to balance a "C" they received in a previous class. This cannot influence your grading. The students' grades must be based on the quality of their performance in your class. There are many techniques that can be used to determine a student's final grade. One is to translate the letter grade you may have given to a paper or an examination into a numerical grade for ease in averaging all of the grades of the semester.


Here is an example:

Three assignments:

  1. A paper worth 40% of the final grade
  2. An examination worth 30% of the final grade
  3. A group project worth 30% of the final grade

The student earned an "A" on the paper, a "B+" on the exam, and an "A-" on the project. As you will see below, an "A" is worth 4 points, a "B+" is worth 3.3 points, and an "A-" worth 3.7 points. To determine this student's final grade, the "A" grade will equal 4 (40%) times 4 or 16, the "B+"" grade (3.3 x 3) equals 9.9, and the "A-"" grade (3.7 x 3) equals 11.1. Adding the three grades together gives a total of 37. Divided by 10 (100%) gives 3.7 or the equivalent of an "A-" grade for the course. An alternate approach is to make assignments worth multiples of ten with a total of 100 points for the semester.

Letter Grades
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 D- = 0.7
C+ - 2.3 F = 0.0

Note: plus and minus grades can be used.