Grading Guidelines

Grading is the only way that students have of “keeping score” of how they are doing in their courses. It is a chance for students to obtain feedback on what they are doing well and what they need to improve. Writing comments on the student papers that you are grading is an excellent way to communicate to your students how they can improve their work for future assignments, but only if these comments are clear, concise, and constructive.

Numerous comments on papers tend to overwhelm students, and most students will act only on the simplest of suggestions. Also, writing excessive comments will make grading papers an impossibly lengthy task. Therefore, comments need to be limited, but should be specific about what needs to be improved, whether it is grammar, structure, or content. Finally, comments need to provide constructive criticism. Students may become discouraged if your comments are too negative. Make sure to mention not only what needs improvement, but also what has been done well. Avoid sarcastic comments – even if you are only joking, your students may not realize this and could be hurt by what appears to be a demeaning comment.

The following is a list of terms commonly used during paper review that may be useful in giving feedback to your students:

¶ = new paragraph
sp. = spelling
|| = align vertically

The following are lists of suggested feedback phrases for commenting on student papers.

Positive Feedback
Well written nice layout
good hypothesis nice writing style
good summary of methods interesting topic
good qualitative observations good use of…
strong discussion good sentence structure
Well organized well proofread
Nice graphs/figures well researched
good title well done
interesting ideas good explanation
Well thought out clear and concise
overall good job nice work
Suggestions for Improvement
too much detail define…
integrate ideas to explain your results more comparison to literature needed
Make sure to proofread carefully for spelling, grammar, and scientific language Never start a sentence with a number, write it out.  Eg. 2 as Two.
awkward wording Your point is not clear
Cite?  or  Citation? avoid…
Quantify too brief
Expand/elaborate format?
Vague Belongs in…
not needed/extraneous I don’t understand
Wordy interesting, but relevance?
Repetitive be specific

Grading Practices

The following information is taken from the UBC 2010/2011 Calendar.

In most faculties, individual course are normally graded as shown in this table:

Percentage (%) Letter Grade
90-100 A+
85-89 A
80-84 A-
76-79 B+
72-75 B
68-71 B-
64-67 C+
60-63 C
55-59 C-
50-54 D
0-49 F (Fail)

Instructors are responsible for providing written guidelines to all students at the start of each course, outlining how the final grade for the course will be calculated, and including any related policies such as arrangements that may be made for students who are unable to complete a test or other graded work because of short term illness or for other reasons. Guidelines made available on the Web meet this requirement (students who are unable to access the Web should ask their instructor to provide these guidelines in an alternate format).

If a student in a baccalaureate program who receives a “T” standing in a graduating essay or other course approved by the faculty completes the course within 12 months of the end of the term in which the student first registered for the course the “T” standing will be replaced by the grade assigned. If the course is not completed within 12 months the “T” standing will be replaced by a grade of zero (or “F” standing in a Pass/Fail course).

Faculties, departments and schools reserve the right to scale grades in order to maintain equity among sections and conformity to University, faculty, department, or school norms. Students should therefore note that the faculty, department or school might change an unofficial grade given by an instructor. Grades are not official until they appear on a student’s academic record.

A few programs of study make provision for an “Honours Standing”, which is explained in the appropriate faculty and school entries. However, in most faculties where “Honours” is used, it is applied to a study program where expectations in terms of achievement and level of study are higher than in other programs.