Whether receiving end-of-semester student work fills you with glee (Yay! Evidence of student learning!) or with dread (Boo! So much work do to!) assigning an appropriate grade to that work can be a challenge. If you want to be sure you are assigning grades that accurately reflect student work, read on!

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Grading is about making a judgement call. As an instructor, you know that your judgement of student work can have significant consequences for that student. So it is important to ensure that the grades you assign at the end of the semester are accurate and appropriate. That can often take the shape of an internal debate about whether the quality of student prose you are reviewing is really at an A level according to your rubric, or whether it is more like a B level.


But, sometimes those judgements are more complicated.


What do you do about a student who has failed to attend class after the drop period?


When is it appropriate to give a student an incomplete?


Looking for more general information about grading like how to create rubrics, standards-based grading, or other ways to assess student work? Visit CTAL’s website or schedule a consultation by emailing CTAL-info@udel.edu

Some of these situations can be addressed by understanding the Registrar’s detailed list of grade types, including grades classified as “restricted,” meaning there are very limited situations in which they are appropriate. Ever given a student a Z, L, or W? If you haven’t, it is good to brush up on when to use these grades and what they mean.  


Restricted Grades:


Z: Unofficial Withdraw

When to use it: You may only use a Z if a student NEVER attended your class, or STOPPED attending after drop/add.

Additional considerations: You are required to include the last date that a student was active in the course when you assign the grade of Z.


In order to comply with Title IV Federal Student Aid regulation 34 CFR 668.22(a), Student Financial Services needs your help. When a student gets federal financial aid, UD needs to ensure that a student is attending their courses in order to provide them with funding. Help us meet these regulations by using this no show form next semester: www.udel.edu/noshow


L: Formally Auditing a Course

When to use it: An L grade is used for students who are formally auditing a course.

Additional considerations: This designation can only be used when a student has formally enrolled as an auditor.


W: Official Withdraw

When to use it:The W grade is the official withdraw designation. This grade will appear pre-recorded on a roster when a student has officially withdrawn.


Other Special Cases:


I: Temporary Grade

When to use it: There are some situations where the best course of action is to assign a temporary grade, such as an I. Perhaps a student has not completed the final assignment, but they are communicating with you regularly and you feel they will complete it once the grading period has already ended. You may assign this student an I for incomplete.

Additional considerations: Two weeks into the next regular term, this I will turn into an F if you do nothing. You may choose to submit an “incomplete grade explanation” which will allow you to give an alternative to the F, or you can submit an “incomplete grade extension” and allow the student some more time to submit their work.


Have more questions? Email: grading-registration@udel.edu
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