Grading System and Policies

This grading policy, voted by Academic Council in April 2004, was reaffirmed in February 2008 and April 2011.

In February 2003, Academic Council acknowledged the inconsistency between the college's legislated grading standards and current grading practices. In April 2004, again in February 2008, and reaffirmed in April 2011, the faculty voted in favor of specific measures to address this inconsistency and reaffirm the college's grading standards. The policies in effect are:

  • The mean grade in 100-level and 200-level courses with 10 or more students should be no higher than 3.33 (B+). For the purposes of calculating the mean grade, instructors should submit a letter grade for all students listed on the course grade sheet (including students electing the course credit/no credit);
  • Instructors of courses with a mean above 3.33 should submit an explanation to the chair of the Committee on Curriculum and Academic Policy (CCAP). If the high average grade is due to students' withdrawal from the course late in the semester or Incompletes that remain unresolved, the instructor should calculate a mean that includes estimated grades for students who withdrew or had incomplete work;
  • The chair of the CCAP will report to Council each semester on the grades recorded in the prior semester, such reports to include the distribution of grades by course level and by department and, if applicable, the reasons that course grades exceeded the B+ maximum. These data should be discussed at least annually in academic department meetings;
  • CCAP and the deans should work together with the Center for Work and Service (CWS) and advisors for professional and graduate study to communicate our standards and values to recruiting companies and graduate institutions;
  • The president and dean of the college should meet with department chairs and/or individual faculty members when grades are consistently above those mandated by this policy;
  • The dean of the college will inform all new faculty of this policy.
Grading System

For complete information see the ARTICLES OF GOVERNMENT, BOOK II, ARTICLE VII, SECTION 1.C.

Students have the option of electing each course on a letter or non-letter grading system.

Wellesley's Letter Grade System

Grade A (4.00) is given to students who meet with conspicuous excellence every demand that can fairly be made by the course.

Grade A- (3.67)

Grade B+ (3.33)

Grade B (3.00) is given to those students who add to the minimum of satisfactory attainment excellence in not all, but some of the following: organization, accuracy, originality, understanding, insight.

Grade B- (2.67)

Grade C+ (2.33)

Grade C (2.00) is given to those students who have attained a satisfactory familiarity with the content of a course and who have demonstrated ability to use this knowledge in a satisfactory manner.

Grade C- (1.67)

Grade D (1.00) is a passing grade. There is no grade of D+ or D-.

Grade E (0.00) is given at the close of a semester when the student has been given permission to resubmit a final paper or retake the final exam. An "E" grade can stay an "E" or be replaced by only a "D" or "F.

Grade (0.00) Failure

The following non-letter grades are given:

I - Given for work incomplete at close of semester. "I" will remain and be followed by a grade, when that permanent grade is recorded.

XI - Excused incomplete, "I" will be replaced by a grade or "INC".

INC - Permanent incomplete given if an earned grade for excused or unexcused incomplete work is not submitted within the stipulated time period.

P - Credit in MIT course (requires a grade of D or better)

CR - Credit (requires a grade of C or better - Fall, 2003 forward)

R - Credit (requires a grade of C or better)

NCR - No credit (a grade below C was earned in the course)

RD - Credit with distinction (used for some writing courses)

TBG - A two semester course to be graded at the end of the second semester.

WDR - A course dropped after the four week deadline becomes a permanent withdrawal.

Credit/Non-Credit Information

Students have the option of taking an unlimited number of units on a credit/non-credit basis. However, a student who wishes to be considered for Latin Honors should review the legislation very carefully.  Even if you do not receive credit for a course that has been declared credit/non, the course will be considered part of the total credit/non units for consideration of Latin Honors.

For students entering before September 2009, to be eligible for Latin honors, students entering as first-year students may take no more than one-quarter of their Wellesley and MIT courses after the first year on a credit/noncredit basis. For students who began their degrees somewhere other than Wellesley (that is, Davis Scholars and transfer students),the number of credit/noncredit courses allowed is prorated in proportion to the number of Wellesley courses taken after the equivalent of the first year of college. Students should consult their class dean for further clarification.

For students entering in September 2009 or later, to be eligible for Latin honors, a student may take no more than one-quarter of potentially graded units (i.e., mandatory credit/noncredit courses are not included) on a credit/noncredit basis after the first semester. A minimum of 12 graded courses (adding up to at least 12 units) must be included in the calculation for Latin honors.  For Davis Scholars and transfer students entering in September 2009 or later, Latin honors will be based on grades in all Wellesley and MIT courses taken. Students should consult their class dean for further clarification.

The period during which students may declare that they wish to take a course on a credit/non basis is the first four weeks of the fall and spring semesters (or the first two days of wintersession or each summer session). Students must use the online registration system to declare that they wish to take a course credit/non.

Effective in the fall 2003 semester, if a student receives a grade of C or higher in a course that she has elected credit/non, a notation of CR (credit) will appear on her transcript; if she receives a grade lower than a C, then a notation of NCR (no credit) will appear on the transcript. If a student withdraws from the course after the fourth week of the semester, a WDR will appear on the transcript; if she does not complete the work for the course, then an I or INC will be printed on the transcript.

Please see your Class Dean if you have any questions about credit/non.

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