Grading Guidelines for Undergraduate Courses

New instructors in EECS classes have commented that they do not know what grading policy exists in the department. In some courses the assigned grades show wide fluctuation from section to section, and/or semester, depending on who teaches the section. Furthermore, over the last ten years, the lower and upper division EECS average GPA's have inflated considerably.

The undergraduate study curriculum committee suggests that there should be some uniformity in grading in fairness to our students, and we propose the following guidelines, which were ratified at the faculty meeting of March 11, 1976, and updated in 1989.

  1. A typical GPA for courses in the lower division is 2.7. This GPA would result, for example, from 17% A's, 50% B's, 20% C's, 10% D's, and 3% F's. A class whose GPA falls outside the range 2.5 - 2.9 should be considered atypical. (A Typical GPA for basic prerequisite lower division CS courses (CS 40, CS 41) is 2.5, with GPA's outside the range 2.3 - 2.7 considered atypical.)

    A typical GPA for courses in the upper division is 2.9. (This GPA would result, for example, from 23% A's, 50% B's, 20% C's, 5% D's, and 2% F's.) A class whose GPA falls outside the range 2.7 - 3.1 should be considered atypical. A typical GPA for basic prerequisite upper division courses (EECS 104A, EECS 105, CS 150, CS 153) is 2.7 with GPA's outside the range 2.5 - 2.9 considered atypical.

    These guidelines do not represent a major shift down from current GPA levels, but rather they are intended to prevent inflation.

  2. Since some graduate students enroll in upper division undergraduate courses, care should be taken that their performance does not influence the grading of the undergraduate students. The undergraduate students as a separate group should first be assigned grades according to the guidelines in 1(b) above. Then the graduate students should be assigned grades using the same boundaries between grades as were used for the undergraduate population. (This technique properly evaluates graduate students against an undergraduate norm in an undergraduate course without skewing the norm because of their presence. The two groups of grades should be re-combined for the course report.

  3. In addition, there has recently been some concern about inadequate preparation of some students for some courses. The Undergraduate Study Committee was asked to make a preliminary recommendation to faculty regarding this problem. The recommendation is as follows:

    The Undergraduate Study Committee does not believe that grading standards should be lowered even if a larger than usual fraction of students in a course appear to deserve low grades.