Grading System

The quality of a student’s academic achievement in each Berea College course is reported through final course grades (approved by faculty in November 2007) as follows:



Excellent Work


Good Work


Competent Work*


Poor work that is still worthy of credit

Raises serious concern about the readiness of a student to continue in related course work.


Failing work that is unworthy of credit


The required minimum of 7 Convocation credits were earned


The required minimum of 7 Convocation credits were not earned


Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, Satisfactorily Completed

Given in developmental mathematics courses and in other non-credit courses and projects.  These grades are not used in determining the GPA.


Passing work

Given for courses which do not affect GPA, but for which credit is earned.


Continuing Progress

Given when a student is enrolled in a class that continues into the next term.



Assigned only when some portion of a course has not been completed for good and sufficient reason.  Courses in which I grades are assigned must be completed not later than the end of the next regular term in which the student is enrolled or the grade will be recorded as “F” on the permanent record.  Note that instructors may set an earlier deadline for completion of incomplete work than that set by the College.


No grade

A temporarily assigned grade when extenuating circumstances prevent an instructor from submitting grades at the time they are required due to travel abroad or other challenges deemed permitted by the Academic Dean.  A change of grade is required no later than 10 days following the assignment of the N.

In addition, the course grades of A, B, C, and D may be modified by a plus (+) or minus (-) suffix, indicating achievement which is respectively at the higher or lower segment of each of these grade ranges.

Grade Point Average: For purposes of computing the Grade Point Average (GPA), the following weights are used: A+/A/CA-=4.0; A-=3.7; B+=3.3; B=3.0; B-=2.7; C+=2.3; C=2.0; C-=1.7; D+=1.3; D=1.0; D-= 0.7, and F=0.0. S, SC, I, and U grades are not used in calculating GPA.

* Please note that a C- does not count for sequenced courses requiring a C or higher in a previous course (e.g., FRN 102 requires a C or higher in FRN 101).

Faculty members may elect to use, or not to use, plus or minus grades. Whichever system an individual faculty member elects to use for a given course should be made clear to the students. Faculty members are urged to reflect on the definitions in the context of individual courses and incorporate the definitions into grading policies and course syllabi to be shared with students at the beginning of the term in a manner that seems appropriate to each instructor. Faculty should also consider the assigned value of a Berea College course, noting the definition of “course” in the glossary section of the Berea College Catalog.

Some courses are designed to use an alternative grading system. For example, in developmental mathematics and non-credit courses, “S” (Satisfactory) and “U” (Unsatisfactory) grades are given. The “I” (Incomplete) is a temporary grade, given only when a student is unable to complete a course for reasons beyond the student’s control. Work in a course in which an “I” was received must be completed no later than the end of the next regular term in which the student is enrolled. Instructors may set an earlier deadline, but not a later one, for course completion; the deadline should be clearly understood by the student. Failure to complete course work by the prescribed time results in the grade being changed to “F”, or if appropriate, “U”. Faculty who will be on leave of absence or sabbatical leave in the term or year following the term in which an I grade would be assigned; faculty who hold single year or term appointments; faculty who do not plan to return as an employee of the College at the conclusion of a term or academic year in which an I grade would be assigned; or faculty who have received notification that their employment with the College will be terminated (for reasons of tenure review decisions, probationary term non-renewal, etc.), may not assign I grades.