First-Year Writing Program


All First-year English courses are graded A, B, C, No Credit ( with pluses and minuses for the letter grades). (See Reporting Mid-term and Final Grades ) However, as you grade the coursework, each assignment should be given a number or letter grade (A+ to F); “No Credit” is not a grade option for an individual paper or assignment, only for the final course grade.

Note: This no-credit policy still requires that students be graded on a 5-point scale. Grades should not be given as if C is the lowest possible score. Grading only A,B,C results in grade inflation.

At the completion of the semester, students with averages lower than C- will receive a “No Credit” (NC) for the course. NC is not a punitive grade; it does not affect a student’s GPA. It simply means that the student needs to repeat the course until he or she earns at least a C-.

A statement explaining the ABC, No Credit policy needs to appear on your course policy.
See Course Policy Statements for the official wording.

Grading Definitions

A 90-100 Excellent, brilliant
B 80-89 Good to very good
C 70-79 Satisfactory overall, but with some weaknesses
D 60-69 Off the mark in some significant ways
F 0-59 Missed the boat – not done at all

Paper grades can be converted to percentages like this:
A+=98, A=95, A-=92,
B+=88, B=85, B-=82,
C+=78, C=75, C-=72,
D+=68, D=65, D-=62, F=50.

Final numeric grades will be converted to letter grades like this:
100-98=A+; 97-93=A; 92-90=A-;
89-88=B+; 87-83=B; 82-80=B-;
79-78=C+; 77-73=C; 72-70=C-;
69 and below=NC

Please be sure to use this system for pluses and minuses so that all grades in our program are consistent.

If you include a participation grade as part of your grade distribution, you must have something tangible on which to base that grade. A student’s participation grade needs to be based on something marked in your grade book rather than on a general semester-end feeling about how well the student participated in class. If the student files a grade complaint, the Director of the FWP needs to be able to explain how and why a student received the grade.

Daily grades are a better option than traditional participation grades. Daily grades are in-class writing or exercises that are tangible evidence of a student’s participation. These daily grades can be graded as simply as a check or a zero or a system of check, check plus, etc.

Older Rubrics for Teacher Reference:

  • Read through your entire set of papers before beginning to mark a single paper. This way you get a feel for how well the whole class understood their assignment and you get an idea of the class’s most common writing problems.
  • Use a pencil rather than ink to mark essays.
  • Think about three layers of grading: line comments pointing to specific parts of the paper, an end or discursive comment that provides a manageable list of main areas for students to concentrate on, and the rubric to show how your comments led to a numeric or letter grade
  • For line comments, resist the urge to edit student papers. Select one part of the paper to extensively comment on, or choose a couple of main issues to comment on. Be specific with your line comments, and refer students to parts of their A Writer’s Reference textbook.
  • Use marginal comments to point out problems (“I’m not sure what these two sentences mean,” “How does this sentence support the paragraph topic?” “Comma splice”)
  • If you tend to mark lots of grammar problems, consider only heavily marking the first paragraph or two. Draw a line and say “I stopped marking grammar problems here.” After that, focus only on the one or two major grammar problems in this student’s writing.
  • Write end comments. Generally these should address the main grading areas listed on your rubric (i.e., Content, Organization/Style, Mechanics). Point out which is the student’s strongest area in this paper, which is the weakest, and what specific aspects of each the student needs to focus on to improve this (or the next) paper (or his or her writing in general).
  • Begin end comments with a general statement of what is GOOD about this paper.
  • End with encouragement.
  • Make sure that your line comments, end comment, and rubric are reiterating each other. These three elements together should present a unified picture of how the student can improve for the next paper.
  • You must have grades posted by the official UA deadline. Any grade not posted by that deadline automatically becomes an N (no grade). Thus, if you miss the final deadline for grade submissions, you will need to file a separate grade change form for each student. See Incompletes and Grade Changes for the grade change submission procedure.
  • Use Banner in Mybama for reporting mid-term and final grades. (Faculty tab,Faculty Grade Assignment box);
  • Observe the Registrar’s Office reporting deadlines each semester for mid-term and final grades. Submission deadlines are sent out by the Registrar’s Office and listed in the final exam schedule each semester.
  • An online tutorial on how to submit grades is available on Banner (MyBama, Academics tab, Registrar box, Grades link, small Grading Tutorial link at bottom of screen).
  • Mid-term grades are required for all first-year students.
  • Mid-term and final grade options for First-year Writing classes are A, B, and C (with appropriate + and -), NC (for grades below C-), and I (for incomplete; only available for final grades)
  • If you assign an NC (or F for non-FWP courses), you will be prompted to enter one of three reasons: earned, never attended, or stopped attending. If a student continues to come to class but goes over the allowed number of absences, you should enter “earned” as the reason for the NC.
  • If you do not have the correct grading options on your class’s drop down box on Banner, please contact the first-year writing office immediately.
Go to Links for the grade change process can be found on the Faculty tab, Banner Self Services channel, faculty/advisor folder, “Submit a Grade Change.” A tutorial is available also on the Faculty tab, “How Do I…” box, “How do I submit grade changes” file.
It is not advisable to give an incomplete in a First-year Writing course because incompletes are computed as F’s on a student’s GPA, and, technically, an F is not an option for First-year Writing courses, which are taken for ABC-No Credit.

However, sometimes incompletes are unavoidable, especially if students have academic misconduct reviews pending at the Dean’s office or have catastrophic emergencies during finals week. Contact the FWP Director before giving a student an incomplete. The FWP office not only needs to be aware of the situation, but can also help advise you on how and when the incomplete can be satisfied. You should also complete an Authorization for an Incomplete form), get it signed by all parties, and return it to Melinda Fields.

Once the incomplete is satisfied, you will need to change the student’s grade (see Grade Changes, above).

Students who have suspected plagiarism cases pending in the Dean’s office at the end of the semester should receive a grade of “I.” For midterm grading, calculate the student’s grade without taking into account the paper that has been submitted for review. Calculate the midterm based on daily grades and other paper grades. Once the plagiarism case has been decided, you can inform the student of his/her updated midterm grade.