RE: Changes in Graduation Honors and Grade Normalization Guidelines (Grading Curve)
I am happy to report two recent decisions made by the faculty that will increase recognition of the academic achievements of Hastings students. As explained below, the faculty has significantly expanded the academic honors to be granted upon graduation, effective with the Class of 2008, and the faculty also voted to change the grade normalization guidelines (or grading curve) to increase the grades of A- and above and to decrease the number of grades below B-, effective beginning the 2008-2009 academic year.
2. Revision of Grade Normalization Standards
Over the past school year, the Hastings Academic Standards Committee conducted a detailed study of how the Hastings grade normalization standards (or grading curve) compared with those at peer schools. The Committee concluded that the Hastings standards were more restrictive than most other schools and that most other schools did not apply their grading standards to classes with relatively small enrollment. The Committee also found that in recent years more than 40% of upper-division course grades at Hastings have deviated from the guidelines by giving more grades of A- or higher and by giving fewer grades below B- than called for by the Hastings normalization standards, based on waivers granted by the Academic Dean's Office. (Deviations are not allowed for first-year classes.)
For the above reasons, the Committee recommended and the faculty recently voted to adopt several changes to the College痴 grade normalization guidelines. Briefly summarized, the changes have the following effect:
Increase the number of A- and above grades that instructors must give from 10% - 20% (the current requirement) to 15% - 25%;
Decrease the number of grades below B- that instructors must give from 20% -35% (the current requirement) to 12% - 17%;
Abolish the normalization restrictions for all classes with fewer than 30 students, except to require that such classes shall have a range of grades;