Grades and Grading Policy

Evaluation of a student’s performance in a RISD course is done by letter grade. A letter grade is awarded to indicate the level of performance. It becomes a part of the student’s permanent academic record (transcript).

In studio classes, it is highly encouraged that final letter grades will be supplemented by written final narrative comments/evaluations from the instructor (available directly on the grade roster  in WebAdvisor). The narrative comments can be submitted separately from letter grading (they have their own deadline). These narrative comments do not become a part of the student’s permanent academic record (transcript).

The following grading scale is used for letter grades:

Grade Points Grade Points
A 4.000 C 2.000
A- 3.700 C- 1.700
B+ 3.300 D+ 1.300
B 3.000 D 1.000
B- 2.700 F 0.000 (Failure)
C+ 2.300 I 0.000 (Incomplete)
UW 0.000 (Unofficial withdrawal)

Until it is resolved, the grade of “I” is calculated as if it were an “F” for gpa purposes. See below for more information on the use of the I grade.

The grade of “UW” is assigned approximately two weeks after the due date for grades whenever a grade was not submitted by the instructor.  The “UW” is calculated as if it were an “F” for gpa purposes.

Grades used that are not included in the grade point average.
NC = no credit (used only for courses taken but not passed at Brown.  Formerly  used  to indicate a missing grade on a RISD class or to indicate no grade was to be assigned)
P = Pass
S and U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) are used only as midterm grades
W = Withdrawal
A permanent grade of “W” is assigned when the student withdraws from a course during the Course Withdrawal Period. The dates for the withdrawal period are published in the Academic Calendar. The “W” grade has no effect upon the grade point average.

Grading a student who is on the roster but never attended or stopped attending class
Grades may not be left blank. When recording final grades on WebAdvisor, if a student never attended the class or stopped attending, the grade of “F” may be assigned if the student has not earned a passing grade. Faculty rules do not permit a student to be dropped from the class at this late date. Alternatively, the professor may enter a date of last attendance or mark off “never attended” on WebAdvisor and the Registrar will assign the grade of “UW” which indicates the student unofficially left the class.

RISD does not compute and does not report a student’s rank in class.

Assigning incompletes (the “I” grade)

The description of the incomplete grade, its appropriate use, and the deadlines for making up the work were all changed by a vote of the faculty in Spring 2012. The new description and deadline dates follow:

A grade of incomplete (“I”) is assigned to signify temporary deferment of a regular final letter grade. It is used sparingly in compelling situations when a student is not able to complete work in the course by the end of the semester due to extenuating circumstances beyond the ability of the student to predict and control. Assignment of an incomplete grade presumes both that the student will be able to complete the coursework in the timeframe established below and that the instructor will be able to review the completed work in that timeframe.

Incompletes must be completed within these deadlines, or earlier if so established by the course instructor, or the grade will automatically revert to an “F.”  If exceptions are required, they must be approved by the Department Head.

February 1—Deadline for incomplete grades awarded in the previous Fall semester

March 15—Deadline for incomplete grades awarded in the previous Wintersession

October 15—Deadline for incomplete grades awarded in the previous Spring semester or the Summer term. Work received in the summer must be evaluated within (10) days after Fall semester begins.

It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements with the instructor to complete the coursework by the established deadline. The replacement grade must then be recorded with the Registrar (on the Change of Grade Form) within ten (10) days from the applicable deadline for student completion of work established above. (Note:  Students graduating in June must finish incompletes and you must file the grade change by September 1. After that date, the student will no longer be eligible to graduate in the current year and will be assigned a new  graduation date of the following year. In the meantime, they will be eligible to receive a “Letter of Completion” stating the fulfillment of degree requirements. Consult the Registrar for details or assistance.)

Incomplete grades are averaged into a student’s semester GPA with a grade point value of 0.000.  Incompletes can affect a student’s academic standing. If the student’s GPA falls below the required minimum as a result, that student will be put on conditional probation. However, when reviewing a student’s record and determining his or her academic status with respect to good standing, probation, or academic dismissal, the Academic Standing Committee will take note that this status may be temporary. If a student would otherwise be in good standing, a single incomplete grade will not be interpreted as justifying probation or academic dismissal.

When NOT to Issue a Grade of Incomplete:
It may be tempting to issue an Incomplete to a student even if they don’t strictly meet the guidelines in the academic policy. Resist! Remember that an “I” is to be used only in rare instances, when the situation is compelling and extenuating circumstances are beyond the student’s control.
There is another strategy for achieving a similar end, which does not complicate the academic standing review as does an Incomplete. Instead of an “I”, issue the grade the student has earned up until that point, be it “B”, “D”, or “F”. Then, if you wish, work with the student after the course is over on submission of the missing or redone material and, after evaluating it, submit a change of grade form to the Registrar to assign a revised grade.


Students Viewing Grades:
Students are not able to see the grades submitted by faculty on WebAdvisor until the Registrar’s Office updates them to student transcripts. This update to transcripts is done at least once a day, generally starting on the day grades are due. Once this process takes place, students can view grades and faculty can no longer modify them online (instructors must submit a paper Change of Grade Form).

Changing Grades or Incompletes to a Letter Grade:
For more  information on Changing Grades or Incompletes changing to a Letter Grade, click here.