Grading is not an easy task, particularly given the pressures on students to excel, as well as the prevalence of grade inflation in higher education. One thing that may help to make the process of grading easier is to clearly state your grading standards on your syllabus. Students should know how you will calculate the final grade: what factors will be taken into account (e.g., attendance, participation, various papers, presentations, etc.) and what relative weight each will have (e.g., participation constitutes 10% of the final grade). Parameters do not have to be reducible to numbers—you can still exercise your judgment—but they should be reasonable and clear.
Another thing to remember is that it is important to give students feedback early on and as often as possible. Students have a fairly generous period of time (up until the end of the ninth week of classes) to decide to withdraw from a course in which they are failing or doing very poorly; your early feedback helps them determine whether or not they should continue. Also, students will not be surprised about a final grade if they have been receiving consistent feedback along the way.
Gallatin is committed to identifying the students who are experiencing problems and to intervening early with help and support. The midterm grade report is one tool NYU uses for discovering such students. Toward the middle of the semester, you will receive an email from the Office of the Registrar, to your NYU account, with instructions for submitting midterm grades electronically through the Faculty Center. If your course is not designed to give midterm grades, you are not required to assign them. You can either indicate that you are unable to evaluate by assigning a grade of “UE” or you can leave the grade roster blank. However, we strongly request that you let us know if a student is not performing well or has excessive absences. If a teacher indicates that a student is performing poorly, Gallatin will alert the academic adviser and suggest that he or she get in touch to discuss the issues.
Deadline for Submitting
Toward the end of the semester, the Office of the Registrar will send an email to your NYU account with the deadline and instructions for submitting final grades electronically through the Faculty Center. It is important that you meet the final grades deadline, particularly so as not to jeopardize student eligibility for graduation and financial aid. As a general rule, grades are due 72 hours after final exams are over. If you are scheduling a final exam on or after this deadline, you may request an extension from the dean’s office. If for any other reason you are unable to meet the deadline for submitting final grades, please contact the associate dean.
Appealing the Final Grade
Once a final grade has been submitted by the instructor and recorded on the transcript, the final grade cannot be changed, except in cases of a grading error.
In the case where a student believes an error has been made in calculating a grade in a Gallatin course, the student should first consult with the instructor who assigned the grade to discuss the grading requirements for the course and how the grade was determined. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the discussion and wishes to appeal the grade further, a formal written appeal should be submitted to the Associate Dean of Students. The Associate Dean of Students will then attempt to mediate a resolution between student and instructor. If the Associate Dean of Students is unable to mediate a resolution of the grievance, an independent review of the grade will be undertaken by the Student Discipline & Grievance Committee. All of the student’s work will be reviewed to clarify how the grade was determined and to ensure the grade is consistent with the academic guidelines and policies of the School. If a case goes to the Committee for a review, all parties agree that the decision of the Committee in matters related to a Gallatin course grade is final.
In all cases, students are expected to act within the semester following the course to appeal a grade since faculty may not be available to review an appeal in future semesters or years. (For fall and January term courses, students must appeal no later than the following spring. For spring and summer courses, students must appeal no later than the following fall.)
Gallatin has a strong policy on students’ taking incompletes, based on two essential premises: (a) they should take incompletes only for good reasons (“I haven’t finished yet” is not a good reason), and (b) they should meet your deadlines for completing the required work. The basic steps are these: The student must request the incomplete in writing (on a form called Request for a Grade of Incomplete) before you are scheduled to hand in your final grades; if the student does not request the incomplete, you should hand in a final grade based on whatever work you have received up to that point. If you agree to grant the incomplete, you should indicate on the form (a) what work remains to be done and (b) the deadline by which the work must be submitted to you (the default is the last day of classes in the next full term). We will remind the student soon after the beginning of the next term that he or she has an outstanding incomplete, and send you a copy. But it is the student’s responsibility to submit the finished work—you are not obligated to hound him or her.
Changing a Grade
When a student has submitted the required work for an incomplete, you will need to review it and assign a final grade. You will then request a grade change electronically through the Faculty Center. On rare occasions—you made an error in calculation or judgment, you discover the student handed in work on time but you missed it, etc.—you may submit a grade change (please see the section above on Appealing a Final Grade. Also, please note that you cannot change a grade for a student who has graduated.