Grading Standards:

Philosophically, students begin the course with “0” and earn the grades they receive.   In other words, students do not start with 100 percent of the points and then have that reduced by me.

Each item is evaluated on its own terms in comparison to the established criteria for the item (see the course Moodle and item rubric).  For this reason, there is no established “curve” for grades (i.e., a fixed number of “A’s” and so on).  Depending on the course, additional information might be provided to supplement or supplant the information below.

Please note: I do not “round” numerical course grades (see Course Grade Thresholds).  A numerical score must at least reach the minimum threshold of a course grade to receive that grade (e.g., 89.99 is a B+ while 90 is an A-).

Course Grade Thresholds

Based on the Registrar’s grade calculation chart (here), course grades are assigned based on the following thresholds (equal to or greater than the threshold receives that course letter grade):

A+ = 100 C- = 70
A = 93.3 D+ = 66.6
A- = 90 D = 63.3
B+ = 86.6 D- = 60
B = 83.3 E+ = 56.6
B- = 80 E = 53.3
C+ = 76.6 E- = 50
C = 73.3

Papers and Take-Home Essay Exam Grades For Items Using The Moodle Advanced Grading Rubric:

Points are recorded for each item as indicated on the Moodle.  Individual items do not receive specific letter grades.  Points for the item(s) are averaged with the points for the other graded items in the course to compute an overall course point total.  The overall course point total is then converted into the letter grade equivalent as indicated in the “Course Grade Thresholds” section above.

Participation Grades:

Participation is evaluated based upon the student’s contribution to discussion, responsiveness to other students, and quality of insight.  Class attendance is a basic requirement of the participation grade.

Grades (unless the course Moodle specifies otherwise):

A: Consistent and excellent contributions.

B: Consistent and good contributions.

C+: Class attendance without participation.

Grades are modified from these baselines, up or down, based upon variations in the consistency and quality of participation as well as class attendance.  Score is reported on the Moodle based on the Letter Grade Equivalents below.

In-Class Exam Items:

“A” answers are “excellent” and meet both the major and minor question objectives.  “B” answers are “good” and meet the major objectives, but have difficulties with the minor objectives.  “C” answers are “fair” and have some difficulty with the major and minor objectives.  “D” answers are “poor” and have significant problems with the major and minor objectives.  Partial credit below a “D” will be given for the components of the answer that meet the objectives.  Scores for each item will be reported and recorded through the Moodle.

Papers and Take-Home Essay Exam Grades For Items Not Using The Moodle Advanced Grading Rubric:

The following guidelines are from the Fall 2008 version of Wesleyan’s Teaching Matters, pp. 32-33:

A/A-: Excellent in all or nearly all respects. The interest of the reader is engaged by the ideas and presentation. Effective organization and writing. Paper marked by originality of ideas.

B+: Clear argument, clear writing, good evidence, appropriate response to question.

B/B-: Technically competent, with perhaps a lapse here and there. The thesis is clear, properly limited, and reasonable, and the proposal is generally good but not distinguished. Use of evidence is sufficient.

C+/C: A competent piece of work, but not yet good. More or less adequately organized along obvious lines. Thesis may be unclear or over simple. Development is often skimpy. Use of evidence may be inadequate. Monotony of sentence structure is apparent and errors may be sprinkled throughout.

C-/D/D-: A piece of work that demonstrates some efforts on the author’s part but that is too marred by technical problems or flaws in thinking or development of ideas to be considered competent work.

E/F: Failing grade. Essay may not respond to assignment. Essay may be far too short. Grammar and style may be careless.

Letter Grade and Point Equivalents for Individual Items Not Using The Moodle Advanced Grading Rubric:


A student’s work in courses using letter grades is evaluated as follows: A, excellent; B, good; C, fair; D, passing but unsatisfactory; E, failure; and F, bad failure. These letter grades (with the exception of the grade of F) may be modified by the use of plus and minus signs.

The numerical equivalents of the letter grades are:

A+ = 98.3 C- = 71.7
A = 95.0 D+ = 68.3
A- = 91.7 D = 65.0
B+ = 88.3 D- = 61.7
B = 85.0 E+ = 58.3
B- = 81.7 E = 55.0
C+ = 78.3 E- = 51.7
C = 75.0 F = 45.0