Princeton University is committed to fairness and transparency in assessment of students' work and grading practices. Our approach emphasizes well-defined evaluative criteria and meaningful feedback as the most important pedagogical components of the grading system. Grading Policy The University's grading policy charges each department and program with articulating well-defined and meaningful grading standards for work within its discipline. Faculty, grading in accordance with those standards, shall use grades and substantive feedback to give students clear and detailed information about the quality of their work. The Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing shall periodically review departmental standards to ensure that they are consistent with the University's assessment philosophy and its commitment to the integrity of the grading system. The grading policy, approved by the faculty at their October 6, 2014 meeting, was informed by the work of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review Policies Regarding Assessment and Grading, which delivered its report in August 2014. From fall term 2004-05 through spring term 2013-14, the University faculty had a common grading expectation for every department and program: A-range grades (A+, A, A-) were to account for less than 35 percent of the grades given in undergraduate courses and less than 55 percent of the grades given in junior and senior independent work. Each department and program determined how best to meet these expectations. In the fall term 2014-15, the faculty removed this numeric target for the percent of A-range grades. In September 2023 the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing reported on the grading results for AY 2022-23. The grade point average for the University as a whole, in 100-400 level courses across all departments and programs, increased 0.03 points over the past year, from 3.53 in AY 21-22 to 3.56 in AY 22-23. Additional grading data for AY 2022-23 is available on our secure server [login required]. Princeton University Grading Practices Additional information on grading practices, including auditors, incompletes, and A+ or F grades, is found on the website of the Office of the Registrar. The Academic Early Alert system is also managed at that site. Grade Changes Requests for grade changes may be made online only by the instructor in charge of the course. Requests for change of grade in undergraduate courses will be reviewed by the senior associate dean of the college, acting for the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing. Grade changes are approved only to correct a miscalculation or a data entry error and should not be used as a mechanism to address student grade appeals. The process by which students may appeal a grade is found in the Undergraduate Announcement. Rescinding P/D/F In the fall of 2015 the USG Academics Committee met with the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing to discuss the possibility of allowing students to rescind a P/D/F decision. The result of those discussions was the following amendment to the current P/D/F policy: At the point of declaring a concentration, students may appeal to rescind a P grade received for a single course taken in a previous semester in order to meet a prerequisite or departmental requirement for entry. The transcript will then reflect the letter grade earned in that course. Students wishing to make such an appeal should consult with their residential college assistant dean. Students entering a certificate program may also appeal to rescind a grade of P earned in a single prerequisite or required course for that certificate provided that the program requires a letter grade for entry. What does this mean in practice? The committee recognizes that a student’s academic plans may change over time, and it does not want a student to be prevented from pursuing a course of study simply because a course was taken P/D/F early in a student’s career. For example, a first-year student initially thinking about majoring in molecular biology might take MAT 103 and then decide to P/D/F the course after changing their mind about majoring in science; however, on discovering a passion for Neuroscience in sophomore year, they realize that they will need that math class as a prerequisite, and the department will only accept a letter grade. That student may petition their assistant dean to rescind the P/D/F for MAT 103 and thus meet the prerequisites for Neuroscience. The exception is not intended to allow students to rescind a P/D/F because they have earned a better than expected grade in a course, even if that course is in their major department. A similar logic applies to students entering minors and certificate programs. The P/D/F may be rescinded only if a graded version of a course taken earlier is required for entry into the minor and certificate program. Grading and Feedback Guidelines Grading and Returning Graded Work All courses should clearly articulate a framework for grading student work that aligns with the rubrics established by the department, including clear and transparent descriptions of the course attendance policies and assignment deadlines. When returning graded work, all faculty should take explicit care to protect students’ confidentiality. Graded problem sets, exams, or other written work should never be returned in a public setting that would permit one student’s grades to be disclosed to others without their consent. Whenever possible, graded work should be returned to students directly by a professor or preceptor, or via the department’s office staff who may personally return graded work to students on an individual basis. Alternatively, graded work may be returned to students in sealed, private envelopes that do not permit students to view other classmates’ grades when searching for their own work, even accidentally or unintentionally. The Office of the General Counsel offers additional resource materials that explain how students’ educational records are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Mid-Semester Course Feedback Faculty generally find mid-semester evaluations to be a valuable resource for their teaching. Gathering mid-semester feedback from students may enable faculty members to make adjustments that improve the quality of the teaching and learning experience for themselves and their students. Additional guidance about how to solicit and incorporate mid-semester feedback is available from the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. End-of-Semester Work: Reading Period, Dean’s Date and Exam Period A period of approximately 8–9 days immediately preceding final examinations in each term is set apart to give students time in which to consolidate coursework prior to the end of the term. Individual faculty members may choose to continue instruction during reading period. All written coursework, including term papers, homework assignments, lab reports, and projects, is due on the date set by the instructor, but in no case later than the date set by the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing for the submission of written work, normally the last day of reading period, which is known as "dean's date." All written coursework originally due during the term must be submitted by this deadline; extensions of beyond this date are granted only for end-of-term assignments. All students requesting an extension of more than 24 hours should be told to contact the appropriate residential college staff. The final examination period begins the day after reading period. Exams are scheduled by the Office of the Registrar and can only be rescheduled by the Office of the Registrar. Exams are not proctored at Princeton, but there are very strict protocols regarding their administration. If students approach you about rescheduling an exam, please send them to the Registrar. Any exam postponement in excess of 24 hours requires that a new exam be written. For more information, please consult the Undergraduate Announcement. Examination Cover Sheet The Honor Committee has developed an informational cover sheet that faculty members can use with in-class examinations. The purpose is to have an easy and reliable way for a faculty member to make plain to students what written materials, if any, can be used during an examination, and to give students clear information about such details as the length of the examination and where they can find the course head or preceptor while the examination is in progress. Faculty members who choose to use the cover sheet should print out the form, complete it as appropriate for the examination in question, and have copies made on colored paper in the department or program office when the examination is printed. Pass/D/Fail Grading Option The pass/D/fail grading option is designed to encourage students to explore the curriculum. The Office of the Dean of the College encourages faculty members to make the pass/D/fail option more widely available, particularly in introductory level courses or those used to fulfill the general education distribution requirements. Students may elect the pass/D/fail option in as many as four courses, but may only elect one per semester. Students may elect the pass/D/fail as early as the beginning of the 7th week of classes and must elect the pass/D/fail option by the end of the 9th week of classes. A P/D/F decision may be rescinded under very specific conditions, described in the Undergraduate Announcement. Late Work and Extensions Faculty should communicate the grade penalties associated with late work at the start of the semester in the course syllabus. Faculty may grant extensions on any work due during the semester, and may approve extensions of 24 hours on end-of-term papers and projects. However, both the faculty member and the student’s residential college dean or assistant dean of studies must approve an extension for end of term written work or projects that will be submitted more than 24 hours after Dean’s Date. The Office of the Registrar must approve all postponements of scheduled final exams. Students with exam conflicts or crowded exam schedules should request an adjustment to their final exam schedule well in advance of exam period, in accordance with the procedure set forth by the Registrar. Last-minute postponements of scheduled final examinations are granted by the Registrar’s office alone (see above) and only in cases of severe illness. Resources University Policies for End-of-Term Work Visit the UA for key policies covering the reading period, Dean’s Date, and related deadlines. Faculty and Department Resources Find useful information from the Registrar regarding course logistics, grading, and more.