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September 29, 2003


Senate Committee on Educational Policy
(Final - Action)

EP.04.07 Computation of Grade Point Average

SPONSOR: Senate Committee on Educational Policy; Contact, Abbas Aminmansour

For the past seven years the campus' practice of using the decimal equivalents of 0.33 and 0.67 has been at variance with Senate policy, which states that grade point averages should be calculated on "effective numerical grade weight increments of 1/3" (EP.97.19). The imprecision introduced by this variance can result in grade point averages that are inconsistent with policy and can, in the case of decision lines such as probation, disadvantage students by producing a "false" 1.99 grade point average.

The Senate Committee on Educational Policy recommends that in both policy and practice the numerical grade weights of 0.3 for pluses and 0.7 for minuses be used in the calculation of grade point averages. Further, we reaffirm that grade point averages should be truncated to two decimal places when reported on the official transcript and when used for decisions of campus-wide import. (See Attachment A for revisions to the Code of Polices and Regulations Applying to All Students.) Adopting these values as policy and employing them in practice will: 1) eliminate the variance between policy and practice; 2) eliminate the mathematical imprecision that results from three "thirds" not adding to one, which occurs no matter how many decimal places are used; 3) produce consistent, replicable, understandable grade point averages; 4) more closely approximate actual grades distributions within each letter grade; 5) align the campus more closely with the policies of peer AAU institutions, and 6) reduce students' sense of being penalized for receiving minus grades.

The proposed grade weights are based on the following considerations:

There are no known budgetary or staff implications.

Ideally, this proposal should be implemented when the Banner student system is implemented in fall 2004. If this proposal cannot be implemented by this date, the Office of the Provost should report to the Senate the reasons for the delay and an estimated implementation date.

Attachment A
Proposed Revision of Rule 71A
(revisions and additions are in bold)

71.	Computation of Scholastic Averages
A.	Numerical Values 
Grade Honor Points Grade Honor Points A+ 4.0 C+ 2.3 A 4.0 C 2.0 A- 3.7 C- 1.7 B+ 3.3 D+ 1.3 B 3.0 D 1.0 B- 2.7 D- 0.7 F Failure (including courses dropped for academic irregularities) = 0.00 **F F by rule. Grade of "F" on the letter scale = 0.00

B. Undergraduates
A uniform method for calculating undergraduate grade-point averages has been established for all undergraduate colleges on the Urbana-Champaign campus. These averages are calculated on the basis of all courses attempted for which grades and credits are assigned and that carry credit in accordance with the Courses catalog. Since courses offered by the religious foundations on or near the Urbana-Champaign campus are not official University courses and are not included in the Courses catalog, the grades earned in such courses will not be included in the calculation of any grade-point averages. Grades of S, U, CR, NC, and Pass are reported on the official University transcript but are not included in the grade-point averages since grade-points are not assigned to these letter grades. This method of calculation is used to determine honors, probationary and drop status, financial aid and scholastic awards, and transfer between colleges on this campus. For the purpose of computing a grade-point average for graduation, only the grades received in those courses counting toward the degree, including grades in repeated courses, are included in the average. (See also Rule 91.)
C. Graduates
In calculating the grade-point average of a graduate student, only courses taken for unit credit and with grades of A through F are included in the computation. To be eligible for an advanced degree a graduate student must have a grade-point average of at least 2.75. Some departments require a higher average.
D. A two decimal place truncated grade point average will be used on the official transcript, on all other official communications and for decisions of campus-wide import (e.g., campus awards, probation and drops, honors, graduation checks, etc.).