Plus/Minus Grading System
Beginning with the Fall 2011 semester, the University of Mississippi will use a +/- grading scale for undergraduate and graduate courses. The decision to change the grading scale was a result of lengthy deliberation beginning in 2005. The primary purpose of adding the + and – grade options is to give instructors the ability to more accurately assess and report a student’s performance.
|Letter Grade||Value Points|
What is the new grading scale?
The set of letter grades and their point values are given in the table on the left.
There is no change in the I (incomplete), W (withdraw), X(audit), and P/F (pass/fail) grades.
What courses are subject to the new grading scale?
The +/- grading scale will be used for all undergraduate and graduate courses (that are ABCDF graded) from Fall 2011 forward. The only exception is for Law School classes, for which a separate +/- grading scale applies.
Are instructors required to use the +/- grade scale?
The assignment of grades is the prerogative of the instructor, who may decide whether or not to use the +/- grade options.
Do the letter grades correspond to specific scores in the 0-100 numerical range (e.g., 93-100 = A, 90-92 = A-, etc.)?
There is no required conversion of a raw numerical score to a letter grade. Again, it is the prerogative of the instructor as to how to convert a raw score or other means of assessing student performance to a course letter grade.
Will grades for previously completed courses be converted to the +/- scale?
No. Grades for courses completed prior to Fall 2011 will remain as they are recorded using the ABCDF scale.
Will the + and – marks be included on my University of Mississippi transcript?
Yes, the + and – marks will be printed on transcripts for courses taken during and subsequent to the Fall 2011 semester.
Will +/- grades on transfer courses taken from other institutions be converted to the above grading scale (e.g., will a B+ on a transfer course be counted as 3.7 quality points)?
No. There are different +/- grading scales used by colleges and universities. That is, a B+ might be assigned a value of 3.5, 3.67, or 3.7 on different +/- scales used at other institutions. Due to the uncertainty about the meaning of other institutions’ +/- scales, the Admissions and Registrar’s Offices will continue to truncate the grades on transfer courses to the solid grade (ABCDF) values.
Why is there no A+ on the new grading scale?
As defined by the above scale, an A is the highest grade and is equated to the maximum of 4.0 quality points. An A is an A. Whereas some other institutions have the A+ grade, it is usually assigned the same 4.0 points as an A.
Why is there no D+ or D-?
The committee that prepared the final plan for the grading scale recommended that the greatest value for both assessing and encouraging student performance using +/- grades is in the C- to A- range. Also, this is consistent with our academic policy stating that a D is the lowest passing grade.
How will a semester’s GPA be calculated?
The formula for calculation of a GPA will not change. Multiply the numerical value of the assigned grade by the number of credit hours. Add this product for all the courses taken during a semester and divide by the number of graded credit hours. (Credit hours for Z, W, X, and P graded courses are not included in this calculation.) Cumulative GPA values are calculated in a similar manner, except that courses taken prior to Fall 2011 will not involve the numerical value associated with the +/- grades.
How will the +/- grading scale impact academic honors, probation, scholarships, and the GPA required for graduation?
The numerical GPA requirements for graduation with academic honors, for being placed on academic probation, and for remaining eligible for scholarships will not change based on the introduction of this grading scale. This is because the new +/- grading scale simply adds divisions between the numerical range of 0-4.0. For example, the 2.0 GPA that is required for graduation with a bachelor’s degree is not changed by having A- = 3.7, B+ = 3.3, B- = 2.7, C+ = 2.3, and C- = 1.7 grades for individual courses.
What if registering for a course requires a C grade in a prerequisite course (e.g, “ a C or better is required …”)?
The standard interpretation of such a prerequisite rule is that a student must have a C = 2.0 or better in the prerequisite course (e.g., a C- = 1.7 would not fulfill the prerequisite requirement).
What if a student is taking an Independent Study course?
For an IS course, the grading scale change only applies if the course is initiated after August 22, 2011.