Undergraduate Business

Grading Guidelines

University policy requires that instructors outline in their syllabi how grades will be determined in a class, including whether plus or minus grading will be used. The Tippie College of Business faculty has adopted a recommended grading curve for undergraduate classes taught in the college.

  1. The curve is only recommended. Faculty may elect not to use the curve in certain classes. Some departments, however, may require use of the curve (e.g., finance).
  2. The curve will not be suitable for all classes. For instance, faculty teaching an honors seminar are not likely to be giving many, if any, grades of C, D, or F. Similarly, the grading curve would not be appropriate for directed-readings courses. In addition, to the extent that there are any upper-level undergraduate courses that are taught as seminars, the curve may not be appropriate. Variations from the curve will be either at the discretion of the faculty member or in consultation with the department chair, depending on departmental preference.
  3. From time to time, a faculty member may decide that the curve does not apply to a standard class not covered in the exceptions set out in (2). For instance, a class may perform particularly well or poorly. The faculty member should, in his or her syllabus, reserve the right to deviate from the curve. It may be necessary to discuss the variance with the appropriate department chair, depending on departmental grading policy (see [1]).
  4. The recommended distribution should be interpreted as indicating "top down" target maximums. For example, the target number of A's in an elective course should be at most 40%; the total proportion of As and B's should be no more than 80% (40% + 40%); and the total proportion of A's, B's, and C's should be no more than 95% (40% + 40% + 15%).
  5. In a full semester, faculty should probably use total enrollment at the end of the first 7 weeks of class or when the second class list comes out to calculate total enrollment on which to base the percentage of various grades. This isn't a mandatory date, but a suggested date for consistency in the courses. Students who drop after this day may be counted in the percentage of students receiving an F for the course.
  6. This curve is intended to encourage some uniformity in grading in the college and to set expectations for the students. In addition, the curve will give new faculty and adjunct faculty clear guidelines for grading purposes.
Grade Core Courses Required Courses Elective Courses
A 20% 30% 40%
B 40% 40% 40%
C 30% 25% 15%
D 10% 5% 5%