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Grading Policies

What grades are based on / mode of evaluation

North American university education tends to be “course-based”.  The Faculty of Arts and Science is exclusively course-based.  Courses are individual, self-contained units of study.  They are taken one at a time and often have an exam at the end that tests the material in that course only.  Your evaluation in this course is discrete, i.e., your mark is based only on this course and not part of an overall or global assessment.  Your year-end results are simply an aggregation of marks in these individual courses.  This is different from education at some European universities, for example, which tend to be degree-based.  There, students often study for a number of years and take general exams at the end of each year or at the end of their entire degree, with success depending on the student’s performance on that set of exams. 


Course Work

  • Usually consists of a number of assignments, tests and a final examination
  • Students from educational cultures other than North American often find that they are very busy doing small assignments for deadlines through the term or the academic year, rather than being left on their own to prepare for an “all-or-nothing” exam at the end
  • Expect to receive assessments and commentary on how you have demonstrated your understanding of the course material while you proceed through the course
  • Some courses use tests only, but this is the exception which usually happens only in larger introductory courses
  • Expect to be planning your workload and managing your time very carefully in order to ensure you have enough time for the stream of assignments and tests arising in all of your courses, especially once you reach the intermediate and senior level
  • Because each course is a discrete unit and because students take unpredictable patterns of courses, instructors plan their assignments and tests without reference to what might be happening in any other

    Click here to view the University Grading Practices Policy.

Grading Scale

Percentage Letter Grade Grade Point Value* Grade Definition
90-100 A+ 4.0 Excellent: Strong evidence of original thinking; good organization; capacity to analyze and synthesize; superior grasp of subject matter with sound critical evaluations; evidence of extensive knowledge base.
85-89 A 4.0 Excellent
80-84 A- 3.7 Excellent
77-79 B+ 3.3 Good:  Evidence of grasp of subject matter; some evidence of critical capacity and analytic ability; reasonable understanding of relevant issues; evidence of familiarity with literature.
73-76 B 3.0 Good
70-72 B- 2.7 Good
67-69 C+ 2.3 Adequate:  Student who is profiting from his/her university experience; understanding of the subject matter; ability to develop solutions to simple problems in the material.
63-66 C 2.0 Adequate
60-62 C- 1.7 Adequate
57-59 D+ 1.3 Marginal:  Some evidence of familiarity with subject matter and some evidence that critical and analytic skills have been developed.
53-56 D 1.0 Marginal
50-52 D- 0.7 Marginal
0-49 F 0.0 Inadequate:  Little evidence of even superficial understanding of subject matter; weakness in critical and analytic skills; with limited or irrelevant use of literature.

* The grade point values above apply to marks earned in individual courses; grade point averages are weighted sums of the grade points earned and thus do not necessarily correspond exactly to the scale above.  For example, a B+ average would include grade point averages from 3.20 to 3.49, while the lowest B- average would be 2.50.


Note:  In order to "obtain standing" in a course, a student must receive at least a passing grade (50%) in that course.  A grade of "F" is a failure.  There are no supplemental examination privileges in the Faculty.


CGPA - Cumulative GPA - An average of the courses you have taken

SGPA - Sessional GPA - An average of all the courses taken in any one session - Fall, Winter, or Summer

AGPA -  Annual GPA - An average of all the courses you have taken in the Fall and Winter session together