Grading Policy

Dr. Arthur DeweyIntroduction

Grades indicate a professor's assessment of a student's academic performance and not a student's effort. In accordance with University policy, letter grades in undergraduate theology courses mean the following:

A = Exceptional academic performance (that is, uncommonly high academic achievement, which demonstrates mastery of the subject matter, uncommon skills in critical analysis and effective communication, and imagination)

B = Good academic performance (that is, high quality academic achievement; demonstrated competency in the discipline above the average or standard)

C = Satisfactory academic performance (that is, academic achievement that meets an average or standard level of competency in the discipline)

D = Minimal academic performance, sufficient to pass

F = Failure

In accordance with University policy, letter grades in graduate theology courses mean the following:

A = Exceptional academic performance (that is, uncommonly high academic achievement, which demonstrates mastery of the subject matter, uncommon skills in critical analysis and effective communication, and imagination)

B = Good academic performance (that is, high quality academic achievement; demonstrated competency in the discipline above the average or standard)

C = Marginally satisfactory academic performance (that is, academic achievement that meets the minimum level of competency in the discipline)

F = Failure.

If a course uses number grades, an 8-point scale determines the final letter grade for the course: A=92-100; B=84-91; C=76-83; D=68=75; F-67 and below. Effective in fall 2005, plus/minus grading may be used in undergraduate as well as in graduate courses. If a theology professor chooses to use plus/minus grades in conjunction with number grades, the following scale applies: A=94-100; A-=92-93; B+=90-91; B=87-89; B-=84-86; C+=82-83; C=79-81; C-=76-78; D+=74-75; D=71-73; D-=68-70.

The Grading of Objective and Essay Tests

Grades reflect the accuracy, coherence, clarity and completeness of answers and essays.

The Grading of Participation

A = The student is consistently well prepared for class, actively listens and contributes thought-provoking insights.

B = The student is prepared for class and demonstrates thoughtful engagement with the material.

C = The student is inconsistently prepared for class and is infrequently engaged with the material.

D = The student is minimally prepared for class and shows a lack of interest in the course material.

F = The student shows lack of interest in the course, is frequently late or absent, and regularly demonstrates a lack of commitment to the class.

The Grading of Writing Assignments

Writing assignments are evaluated according to content, use of theological sources/resources and expression of ideas.

Sources and/or resources in theological work include the following: scripture, Christian tradition (theological and spiritual writings of the past, documents from church councils, papal encyclicals, bishops' pastoral letters, contemporary theological writing), human experience/knowledge/reasoning and the "sense of the faithful" within the Christian community. The sources/resources should be used with critical intelligence, historical sensitivity and imagination.

Content

A = The essay clearly states a thesis, develops it with careful analysis, insight, and originality; and supports and defends the argument substantially and concretely with appropriate reference to and reflection on sources/resources.

B = The essay adequately defines a thesis and supports it sufficiently and consistently; it defends the argument, is accurate, and exhibits familiarity with sources/resources and reflection on them.

C = The essay lacks a clear thesis, may contain inaccuracies, and/or fails to exhibit familiarity with or reflection on the sources/resources.

D = The essay lacks a thesis, contains inaccuracies, and/or does not refer to appropriate sources/resources.

F = The essay is dishonest or bears little or no relation to the assignment.

Interpretation

A = Demonstrates keen understanding of the cultural and historical context of the sources/resources used in the essay and a parallel understanding of the situation to which they are being applied. When appropriate, assesses well other interpretative options, explains interpretive choices made in the essay and exhibits creativity or originality.

B = Demonstrates an adequate understanding of the cultural and historical context of the sources/ resources used in the essay and a parallel understanding of the situation to which they are being applied. When appropriate, makes reference to other interpretive options.

C = Analysis is inadequate or lacking in one of the two aspects above. Does not consider other interpretative options.

D = Analysis is inadequate in both aspects above.

F = Little to no interpretation given.

Organization

A = Essay progresses in carefully ordered stages; transitions effective; paragraphs and sentences coherent.

B = Essay's purpose generally clear; transitions usually coherent; paragraphs and sentences usually coherent.

C = Essay's purpose apparent, but incompletely carried out; or paragraphs ineffectively developed; or transitions too abrupt; sentences sometimes incoherent.

D = Purpose not always apparent; paragraphs poorly developed; transitions abrupt or unclear; sentences sometimes incoherent.

F = Purpose not apparent; paragraphs incoherent, or undeveloped; transitions lacking; sentences incoherent.

Mechanics/Expression

A = Conforms to standard usage or rarely diverges from it in respect to grammar, punctuation and spelling. Creative and precise word choice.

B = Infrequently diverges from standard usage in respect to grammar, punctuation and spelling. Appropriate word choice.

C = Occasionally diverges from standard usage in respect to grammar, punctuation and spelling. Occasionally inappropriate, vague, or unidiomatic word choice.

D = Fairly frequently diverges from standard usage in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Inappropriate word choice gets in the way of the reader's understanding.

F = Frequently and seriously diverges from standard usage in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Inappropriate, vague, or unidiomatic word choice.