Grading Scales

Grades are important to you for a number of reasons. You should know how they are determined and what they mean. (Registrar’s Office information on grading)

A-F Grading Scale

Students ordinarily enroll in classes for which they will receive a letter grade of A+, A, A-, B+…F. How a given instructor determines grades will ordinarily be described on the class syllabus. Grades may be based on performance on examinations, quality of papers or projects, classroom attendance, classroom participation and/or group contributions. Higher grades reflect greater achievement. A-F grading is considered to be “normal” grading and no special steps are needed to enroll in this way.

S/U Grading

The “S” in S/U grading stands for “satisfactory” work. The “U” stands for “unsatisfactory” work. (Some other schools call this type of grading option “pass/fail.”) Beginning students and students on probation may not choose to enroll in courses on an S/U basis (unless the course is only available S/U). All other students are eligible to enroll in one, but no more than one, course on an S/U grading option each semester.

Instructors do not know who in their classes is enrolled with A-F grading and who with S/U grading. They submit to the University Registrar at the end of a semester a standard A-F grade. If the student is enrolled S/U the grade will be converted to “S” if a grade of “C-” or higher is submitted. The grade will be converted to “U” if the grade reported is a “D” or “F”. Neither grades of “S” or “U” contribute to the grade point average. Only grades of “S” earn credit toward graduation.

There are complex issues to consider when enrolling S/U. For example, some departments require some specific courses to be graded A-F; some honors for high grades require that academic work be graded A-F; some requirements may be satisfied with a grade of “D” but if the course is taken “S/U” a “D” is “unsatisfactory” and carries no credit.

Because of these and other issues, the University requires that students speak with and receive approval from their adviser and academic advising unit before enrolling in a course S/U. Once approved, the student must enroll in S/U courses (or change the grading option of an already-registered class to S/U) in person at the Registrar’s Office. This cannot be done using myZou. This may only be done within the first two weeks of a regular 16-week semester.

Auditing Classes

Occasionally a student decides to take a class for which neither credit nor a grade is earned. To do this the student audits the class or, in other words, signs up as a “Hearer.” Students enrolled as Hearers have full rights and full responsibilities in the class. Upon completion, the course appears on the student’s transcript with a grade of “H” (hearer). This grade does not affect the student’s grade point average. To enroll as a Hearer, you must do so within the time allowed and by following the same procedures outlined for changing grading option.

Incomplete Grades

Effective Fall Semester 2003 and later, whenever a student cannot be assigned a grade at the end of a course in which he/she has been enrolled because his/her work is for good reason incomplete, the instructor will postpone the grade of the student, reporting to the Registrar the fact that such student’s grade is Incomplete (I).

An “I” grade may be assigned only when:

  • The completed portion of the student’s work in the course is of passing quality.
  • There is such evidence of hardship as to make it unjust to hold the student to the time limits previously fixed for the completion of his/her work.

The time allowed for the removal of an “I” grade is one calendar year from the date of its recording. When the incomplete work is finished, the instructor, with the approval of his/her department chair, will notify the University Registrar of what the new grade should be. The University Registrar will make the change, notify the student, and modify term and cumulative GPA’s accordingly.

If the incomplete work is not completed within one calendar year, a grade of “F” will automatically replace the grade of “I” in all undergraduate courses. This automatic change only applies to Incomplete grades assigned prior to the fall 2003 semester.

Grades Assigned Following Withdrawal

Students are allowed to drop courses through the first third of a semester with no record of enrollment in a specific course appearing on the transcript.

Before fall semester classwork ends at a specific date (see Academic Calendar) during the semester a student may withdraw from individual courses. However, the instructor will assign a grade assigned to the course from which the student has withdrawn. The grade assigned will be a “W” if the student was passing the course at the time of withdrawal; that is, if the grade was somewhere between “D-” and “A+”. A grade of “W” appears on the transcript, but does not affect the student’s grade point average. If a student is failing a class at the time of withdrawal, the instructor will submit a grade of “F”. There is no difference on the transcript between an “F” in a completed course and an “F” in a withdrawn course. Both are averaged into the student’s GPA.

Before fall semester classwork ends at a specific date (see dates and deadlines) a student may withdraw from all their classes. For students who withdraw, grades (either “W” or “F” as described above), will be entered for each class. There is no “medical withdrawal” at MU that allows students to withdraw late in the semester for medical reasons without grades being assigned. There is, however, an exception made for students called up for active military duty during a semester. Specifics of this policy can be found in the at the Registrar’s website.

Midterm Grades

MU does not officially post mid-term grades, but faculty will be able to regularly update you on how well you are doing in their courses. You should always check to see what grade you earned on a paper, quiz or exam. You should always review what you did right and what you did wrong on an assignment. You should always ask for your instructor’s or teaching assistant’s help if you are confused. If you fail to monitor how well you are doing and what you can do to modify that performance, it is unlikely that the results will change in the future.