Grading

Marking Scheme

The means of determining the final grade in a course must be announced in writing in each course within the first two weeks of classes. Such information must include the kinds of assignments, essays, examinations, and other components that make up the grade; their relative weights; and any other procedures that enter into the determination of the final grade.

In exceptional circumstances, a previously announced marking scheme for a course may be changed, but only with the consent of all students. The new marking scheme must also be distributed in written form.

Instructors are obligated to provide a mechanism by which students can be apprised of their progress in a course; in particular, students must be able to make an informed decision on whether to withdraw from a course. Students must therefore receive some graded feedback on work worth at least 15 per cent of the final grade (Fall Term, Winter Term) and 30 per cent (Y term) before the deadline for withdrawing from that course. Instructors are urged to provide more feedback where possible.

The only final letter grades permissible in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies are given in the appropriate section of the Calendar. They are repeated here, along with the mathematical equivalencies used by the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies in determining grade point averages and honours standing. Please note that there is no "incomplete" final grade: see #18 for regulations on Deferred Standing.

Grade   Point Value        Definition
A+                   9                      Exceptional
A                      8                      Excellent
B+                    7                     Very Good
B                      6                      Good
C+                    5                     Competent
C                      4                      Faily Competent
D+                   3                      Passing
D                      2                      Barely Passing
E                       1                      Marginally Failing
F                       0                      Failing

Missed assignments are calculated as zero (0) in determining the final course grade. You may use arithmetical calculations in assignment evaluation, but all reported final course grades must be converted to the grade scheme shown above. If you use an assignment evaluation different from that shown above, you must make that system clear in writing to your students, including how it translates into the standard scheme, and include the explanation with your grade sheet; tutorial leaders must obtain the approval of the Course Director for any alternative marking schemes.

The following equivalents are for conversion purposes only - you are not required to use percentages, but if you do put them on assignments returned to students, please use only these equivalents:

From Percentage        Letter Grade
90-100                                A+
80-89                                  A
75-79                                  B+
70-74                                  B
65-69                                  C+
60-64                                  C
55-59                                  D+
50-54                                  D
40-49                                  E
0-39                                     F

Faculty regulations (see Term Work, etc. of York's Calendar) stipulate that any test or examination worth more than 20% of the final grade must be scheduled in either: i) one of the official examination periods or ii) a regular class period prior to the last two weeks of classes of each term. Divisional policy discourages any exception to these alternatives. Please note that take home examinations are also subject to this regulation.

Diagnostic Assignments

The Department has agreed that a short assignment be required in all 1000 level courses, due within the first three weeks of classes, to identify early those students requiring help from the Centre for Academic Writing. This should be mandatory, and though marked and returned to the student with the appropriate advice it is not to be counted as part of the official course grade. Those faculty teaching in 2000 level courses should seriously consider this same use of a diagnostic assignment.

Handling of Assignments

Assignments should be given out in class, and course work should be handed in directly to the instructors. In multiple group courses, to ensure fair treatment of students across the course, the course team should discuss and the Course Director must approve any graded work assigned in individual tutorials. Marked work should be returned to students in class.

Note that support staff in the department office is not responsible for handing out assignments, collecting them, or returning them. Course Directors should emphasize this point to new contract faculty and teaching assistants. Please ensure that you return marked assignments to students when promised and advise your course secretary if you cannot meet your timetable.

On the wall below the mailboxes in Vanier College is a drop slot that may be used by students; materials deposited in that slot will be placed in appropriate mailboxes. Please stress to students that they must clearly mark any material left in the drop box with the course title and their instructor's name. The Department provides no services for returning course work. This is the responsibility of individual instructors. Assignments are never to be left under office doors, nor are graded assignments to be left in a public place to be picked up by students.

Course Work

All Fall Term course work must be marked and returned to students by the end of January. Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies regulations stipulate that no term work may be handed in to the instructor later than the first day of the final examinations.

The Department of Humanities strongly recommends that the final assignment in a course be submitted by students no later than the third week in March. That allows time to have the assignments marked and returned students before the examination period, and also gives some leeway for any extensions that might have to be given. All extensions must have the Course Director's permission.

Class Participation Grades

By Departmental regulations, in all but 4000 level courses, only 15% of the final course grade can be assigned as unspecified "class participation." Instructors may assign further portions to specified items such as tutorial presentations, quizzes, etc. Course Directors and instructors are also required to announce in the first two weeks of classes the criteria upon which the class participation grade will be judged in that specific course.

Class Lists & Grade Sheets

Class lists are available on-line. Instructors must obtain a Passport York account to access class lists. Instructors should check against the actual course/group attendance, and report any discrepancies to the Course Director and especially the Undergraduate Program Assistant. All instructors are required to keep accurate and complete grade sheets with respect to term work, dates and grades for all assignments, including class participation, final examinations, and final grades.

Grade sheets must record the weighting given to each component of the final grade. Complete grade sheets are essential for appeal purposes, not only for students who have failed, but also for those who ask for reappraisal of various assigned grades. Each grade sheet must include a copy of the official course grading scheme from the published course syllabus. Above all, each grade sheet must be self-evident. If, for example, the instructor has used a valid but unusual method of marking or mathematical calculation, then that method or formula must be fully explained in the grade sheet.

Please note, in multiple group courses, the course director must approve the grade sheets of all instructors before they are submitted along with the course grades at the assigned date for submission of final course grades.

Grade sheets and final examinations are retained by the Department for one year after the formal approval of grades by York's Senate.

Release of Grades

On all in term work, please endeavour to return work to students as rapidly as feasible. Every effort should be made to meet all announced dates for return of such graded work. Final exam grades and the overall grade in the course are not to be released to students; by University regulations, they must be informed through the Registrar's Office.

The Department does not post grades for any courses. Grades are "recommended" by individual instructors, "approved" by Course Directors, the Department as a whole, the Chair, and the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, but are official only when finally assigned by the Senate.

Reappraisal of Final Grades

GRADE REAPPRAISAL FORM

Any student who disputes a grade for any assignment may ask that it be re-evaluated. Normally the first course of action is for the student to ask that the original instructor reassess the work. If that result is unacceptable, the student may ask the Course Director (in a team taught course) to re evaluate the work. If the result is still unacceptable, the student may appeal to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Room 204 Vanier, who will arrange for an independent reader. Only written work may be reappraised.

Faculty members may modify grades as appropriate up to the time of the final submission of grades, but after the final grades have been submitted, a formal written application for the reappraisal of a grade may be undertaken only through the office of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The forms for this formal reappraisal are available from the Undergraduate Program Assistant in Room 203 Vanier. Requests for reappraisal must be made within twenty one (21) calendar days after that student's grades have been released by Registrar's Office.

After the release of final grades, a student may ask to go over her/his examination paper. She/he may also ask the Department (not the faculty member) for a reappraisal of the grades on any written assignments. The result of reappraisal may leave the grade unchanged, raised, or lowered. The decision of the Department may be appealed to the Executive Committee of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies only on grounds of procedural irregularities or the presentation of new evidence.

Deferred Standing

In some cases, students may be eligible for deferred standing or aegrotat standing on the grounds of illness, accident or family misfortune.

Deferred standing (an extension) allows a student additional time to write a test or final examination or to complete an assignment after the Faculty's deadline for submission of term work, i.e., the first day of the official examination period for that term. Deferred standing is arranged by means of a form called a Deferred Standing Agreement (DSA), available from the Undergraduate Program Secretary or the Registrar's Office; normally, both the instructor and the student must sign the DSA. The student is responsible for submitting the DSA to the Registrar's Office; the deadlines are January 15 for Fall Term half-courses and May 1 for Full Year courses and Winter Term half- courses. There are three types of Deferred Standing:

I. A Course Director may give a student permission to submit term work after the announced deadline for the course. The details regarding the specific assignments and the deadlines for their completion must be recorded in a DSA. The Course Director must still submit a revised final grade to the Undergraduate Program Assistant no later than February 25 for Fall term half courses and August 1 for Full Year and Winter term half courses.

II. A Course Director may also give a student permission to defer the final examination; the date must be registered in a DSA. The Course Director may either make her/his own arrangements with the student for sitting the exam, or have the student make arrangements with the Undergraduate Program Assistant. The Course Director must still submit a revised final grade to the Undergraduate Program Assistant no later than February 25 for Fall term half courses and August 1 for Full Year and Winter term half courses.

III. The third kind of Deferred Standing is a formal petition by the student to the Office of Registrar's Office. Such petitions are accepted only if the course director indicates on a DSA form that she/he refuses to approve deferred standing or if a request is being made after the deadline for the submission of a DSA has passed. The course instructor will be consulted by the Petitions Committee of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and the student will be bound by the decision and/or terms set by Petitions Committee.

In cases where a student cannot be expected to complete the work for a course, the phrase "Aegrotat Standing" (from the Latin for "he/she is ill") is substituted for a grade on the transcript. Aegrotat Standing is seldom granted and only in exceptional circumstances where deferred standing is inappropriate.

E of F Grades

Written explanations in the grade sheets are required in cases of students who have received a failing grade in a specific assignment or examination, or as their final grade.

Please note, in the Department, a grade of F on a final examination is routinely reread by the instructor and, in a team taught course, by another instructor in that course to verify that the grade is an accurate appraisal. Both markers will initial the grade on the examination scrip.

E or F grades may mean different things: non-attendance throughout the year, not sitting the final examination ("did not show"), not completing the assignments, doing very poor work, or plagiarizing. The grade sheet must specify which of these pertain to each case. Written explanation for the E/F grade in the grade sheets is required by the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and is also a great help to the Department at the time of reappraisals or in correcting enrolment problems. Note that both E and F grades are counted in a student's Grade Point Average.

Academic Honesty

All Course Directors are required to advise students of the regulations regarding academic honesty as published in the Calendar. Course Directors must advise students of these regulations in writing during the first two weeks of classes, preferably in the course syllabus.

It is essential that, in these difficult cases, our procedures be quite correct. Hence, all instructors are responsible for becoming familiar with the regulations of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and the Senate, available at University Secretariat or from Vanier 203. Course Directors must make clear to their tutorial instructors and to their students at appropriate times during the year the limits of collaboration permissible to students in doing course assignments and take-home examinations in their particular course.

Departmental procedures for dealing with suspected violations of the policy on academic honesty are as follows.

Stage I: The student and instructor should meet and discuss the situation, especially if it appears there might have been a genuine misunderstanding on the student's part. This meeting is to clarify confusions; the instructor should make no explicit mention of academic dishonesty. If the instructor considers the case to be one of honest misunderstanding rather than deliberate falsification, then she/he may, after consultation with the course director, arrange for a substitute assignment.

Stage II: If, after this first meeting the instructor suspects the student of academic dishonesty, she/he must notify in writing the Course Director but not the student. The Course Director must notify the Director of Undergraduate Studies in writing, who will in turn make the arrangements for a formal meeting with the student, the instructor and the Course Director. The Director of Undergraduate Studies will conduct this formal meeting.

Stage III: Minutes of the Stage II meeting, as taken by the Undergraduate Program Assistant (or her/his designate), along with any recommended penalty, are then forwarded to the appropriate Associate Dean who takes over the case according to the regulations stated in the Calendar.