Grading Systems

Basic information

Grades given during the regular semester are designated by letters A through F, with A signifying excellent work and F signifying failure. Additional possible grades are: I, incomplete; W, authorized withdrawal; and N, unauthorized withdrawal. Grades given for honors credit are preceded by the letter H (i.e., HA-). Once completed, an incomplete remains noted with the new grade; this does not lower the calculated grade (i.e. IA-).

For purposes of averaging grades, the following numerical values or grade points are assigned to each of the above grades: A, four points per course; B, three; C, two; D, one. A plus-grade is computed at three-tenths of a point above these figures and a minus-grade at three-tenths below. Grades for courses completed as transfer credit or in cooperative programs at other colleges and universities are recorded on students’ records but are not included in the compilation of their average at Calvin.

Spring 2020 Grading FAQ

How will the S/U grading system work this Spring?

During the Spring semester of 2020, professors will give regular letter grades in all classes that currently require letter grades. Students will have the option to choose up to two classes to change to the letter grades to grades of S or U.

What do grades of S and U mean?

A grade of S means satisfactory and would replace any grade of a D- or higher. A grade of U means unsatisfactory and would replace a grade of F or N.

What will show on student transcripts?

The replacement grades of S or U will display on the transcript.

How do the grades of S and U calculate into grade point averages?

S and U will not calculate into the grade point average. If a student fails a class, they will be able to change that F to a U, and the failing grade will no longer affect the student’s GPA.

Will students get credit hours for a grade of S?

Yes, students will get the semester hour value of the course added to their completed semester hour total. A grade of U carries no credit since the student did not pass the course.

What happens to the letter grade given by the professor?

All final grades given by professors will be stored in the database permanently; they will not be displayed on the transcript/My Progress/AER if the student chooses to replace them with an S or a U.

Can students choose to have courses in their major changed to grades of S/U?

A grade of S will still allow the course to satisfy the requirements in a major, except if an accrediting body outside Calvin University requires a letter grade on the student’s transcript. A grade of U will result in the course not counting in the major. Students also need to consider if graduate schools or schools to which they might transfer will accept S/U grades. Students must have a conversation with their academic advisor to discuss their choice to change grades to S/U.

What about core classes?

Yes, students may still get core credit with a grade of S. Again, a grade of U will not satisfy a core requirement. The only exception to this would be ENGL 101/102 as that core requirement requires a minimum of a C in order to satisfy that requirement. If a student earns less than a C in English 101/102, the student may opt for S/U grading, but would still have to repeat that requirement. If a student earned a grade of C+ and the student asked to have it changed to a grade of S, the student will have completed the requirement.

What about other cases where a course is a prerequisite for other courses or has a minimum GPA in order to be accepted into an academic program?

Students can still request to have grades in those courses changed to S/U, but the Registrar’s Office will work with Departments to make sure that the given letter grade is used for departmental prerequisites and program requirements.

Should students be careful about requesting their grades be changed to S/U?

Absolutely! There could be negative consequences in some cases where letter grades need to be displayed on the final transcript in order to meet certain professional certifications or to be considered for graduate school or medical school admission or transfer to a different institution. That is why students must check with their advisor before submitting the request for a grade change to the Registrar’s Office.

What is the process for students to make the request to the Registrar’s Office?

We are working on an online request form along with a process for advisors to submit proof that students had a conversation with them about the decision. More specific instructions will be distributed before the end of the semester.

When is the deadline for making this decision?

Requests for grade changes to S/U will be due by 8 a.m. EST, June 8, 2020.

May students change their mind after opting in for S/U grading?

No. Once the grade is changed to S/U, it will remain that way permanently. Consequently, students should weigh this decision carefully and must consult with their advisors and with other subject matter experts depending upon their future plans.

Interim Grades: Ordinary grades for the interim are H, honors; S, satisfactory; and U, unsatisfactory. These do not carry grade point values and are not averaged in the student’s total record, but the student normally receives three semester hours toward the 124 required for graduation for each interim course satisfactorily completed. Interim courses carrying core credit and those that are also taught during the fall and spring semesters are normally graded according to the traditional letter system and will be included in the student’s average.

Graduate Workshops: Graduate workshops are graded with S and U grades only.

Audits: Auditors are given grades of AU. However, if they fail to attend classes, the instructor will report a grade of AUN.

Withdrawals: Students may alter their schedules during the first week of classes without grades of W being recorded on their records. After that time, grades of W, authorized withdrawal, will be recorded if they leave courses with the written approval of their instructors by the end of the ninth week of the semester. Students who discontinue classes without permission or notification are not entitled to a grade of W but will be given an N, unauthorized withdrawal. This grade is computed as an F in determining a student’s GPA. However, students who withdraw from school at any time with the approval of the registrar and of one of the student deans may be given grades of W in all courses.

Repeats: Students may repeat any courses by properly registering for them, but must inform the instructor when they are repeating a course. Only the latest grade, whether higher or lower, shall be included in the compilation of a student’s cumulative GPA. The original grade is not expunged from the record, but is noted as a repeated course. A student will not receive additional course credit for repeated courses.

Incompletes: If students fail to complete all the required work or to sit for the final examination, instructors may, if they consider a student’s reason valid, give a grade of I, incomplete, rather than a grade of F. The grade of I shall be computed as a neutral grade in determining a student’s GPA. Students given an I in fall semester or in interim must make up the deficiency by March 15 of the following spring semester; if given an I during the spring semester or summer session, they must make up the deficiency by October 15 of the following fall semester. If they fail to do so, grades of IN will be entered on their records. A grade of F will be altered only if a student reregisters and retakes the course in which it was given. Grades of I are never expunged from the records. When a final grade is received or the deadline is passed a new grade preceded by an I (i.e. IB+) will be rewarded.



  • Course code:
  • Credits:
  • Semester:
  • Department: