No: S-29

Date: May 12, 1994-- Rev (1)
(Original May 7, 1974)

Authority: UWM Faculty Documents 860B and 1927

Pluses and minuses recorded on grade cards will be used in calculating gradepoint averages on the following scale:

Letter Designation
4 - Point Scale
  1. Responsibility for Evaluation. The evaluation of a student's performance in a course and a decision on the appropriate grade is the responsibility of the designated instructor or instructors.

    Comments: This statement affirms and formalized the implicit understanding that now exists.

  2. Special Consideration. The principle of equal treatment of all students shall be a fundamental guide in responding to requests for special consideration. No student should be given an opportunity to improve a grade that is not made available to all members of the class. This policy is not intended to exclude reasonable accommodation of verified student disability, or the completion of work missed as the result of religious observance, verified illness, or justified absence due to circumstances beyond the student's control.

    Comments: This policy applies to requests for special consideration both before and after a course is completed (See also Grade or Record Changes). It is usually impossible to make opportunities for grade improvement available to all students in a course after the course has ended. Examples of unacceptable opportunities for an individual student include extra work, retaking an examination, taking an extra examination, or an extension of time on an assignment or examination. The policy on incompletes (UWM Select Policies and Procedures, S-31) explains the circumstances in which a student may be given extra time for the completion of a course. This policy should reassure students who are not seeking special consideration and it should also protect instructors from student pressure for special consideration.

  3. Basis for Grades. The basis for grading and the expectations on all written assignments shall be explained clearly in the course syllabus distributed at the beginning of the semester.

    Comments: This policy ensures that students are informed about the grading practice of the instructor but may also protect the instructor from charges of arbitrariness in evaluation.

  4. Record Keeping. For a period of one year following the term in which the course is given, instructors shall maintain records that are sufficient to 1) determine if an error was made in assigning or recording a grade, 2) show that the grading conforms to the instructor's announced grading policy, 3) determine the grade for a student removing an incomplete, and 4) report the performance of students who attended for only part of the term. It is suggested that instructors preserve examinations and written material not returned to students as well as class grade books. In the event that an instructor will not be available during the one-year period, these records must be kept by the instructor's department.

    Comments: This policy formalized the length of time for which class records should be kept. The period of one year is already in use in some departments and is consistent with the policy on incompletes. (Most appeal/grievance procedures established by departments allow for an appeal or grievance to be filed within 30 days of the action that precipitated the grievance or appeal.) A list of the purposes for which records should be kept will help instructors determine which records to keep-final examinations and grade book might be sufficient in one department while a portfolio of student papers and a grade book might be preferred in another department. Item 1 is intended to permit a student to simply ask if a mistake was made in determining his/her grade. Item 2 is intended to help an instructor respond to a grade appeal. Item 3 is self-explanatory. Item 4 is included because such a report is often requested when a student seeks a retroactive drop or withdrawal. Since instructors may not be available during the one-year period for various reasons (leave of absence, sabbatical, resignation, retirement, temporary appointment, death) it is important for departments to acquire and maintain the records in such cases.

  5. Grade or Record Changes. Instructors may not change a semester grade after the grade sheet has been submitted to the Registrar except for an inadvertent error in determining or recording the grade. Any change in a student's grade or record, including retroactive change to drop, withdrawal or incomplete, must receive the approval of the dean of the school or college in which the student was enrolled at the time the course was taken.

    Comments: This policy is designed in part to protect instructors from student pressure for grade changes. Examples of inadvertent errors are an error in calculation of the final examination score or course average, a mix-up in names, an entry on the wrong line of a grade list, etc. Reconsideration of subjective judgments of an individual student's work should be done only if all students in the class are given the same reconsideration. The principle of fair and equal treatment of all students is of paramount importance. It is important that requests for retroactive drops, withdrawals and incompletes receive careful scrutiny and consistent handling in the office of the student's dean.