Student Evaluation and Grading

Members of the faculty are directly and solely responsible for assigning and reporting grades for their courses.

Faculty Responsibilities

Students are more confident that they will be evaluated fairly when they receive (or have access to) a clear statement of methods and procedures for grading. Grading policies and standards shall be clearly discussed on the syllabus so that students know the basis for the mark that they will receive. The syllabus should clearly indicate the proportional weight that the various assignments and exams carry.

Grading standards shall be consistent with scholarship ratings in the ORC, and scheduling of exams shall conform to working rules and procedures in the ORC. Instructors who use undergraduate course assistants should consult the guidelines in the Faculty Handbook concerning the use of undergraduate assistants.

An important purpose of evaluation is to give students timely feedback in order to facilitate subsequent learning and improvement in their work. Therefore, faculty members should ensure that students receive feedback on assignments and exams in a timely fashion. Faculty members are encouraged to provide feedback to students before the withdrawal deadline sufficient to aid those students who are contemplating leaving the course.

In the case of work completed at the end of the term (e.g., final papers and/or final exams), faculty members must make the graded work available to students for review.


In the case of a grading dispute, faculty members shall provide a rationale for their grades (either a final grade or the grade on an individual piece of work) to the student. Because grade changes may occur up to the end of the second term after the end of the course (see the section on Scholarship Ratings in the ORC), faculty shall keep relevant materials and records for at least two terms after the end of the course. Many faculty members keep this material for at least one year.


As is described in the section on scholarship ratings in the ORC:

Citations are designed to procure an official record of information about undergraduates who have made particularly favorable impressions on members of the faculty because of their unusual talents, dependability, initiative, resourcefulness, or other meritorious characteristics that are not indicated adequately by academic grades.

Because they appear as part of a student’s transcript, citations must be relatively brief (100 words or less).

Faculty should take care not to reveal inappropriate information about a student. In addition to information that is legally prohibited (e.g., information concerning disabilities and/or health status), faculty should not reveal information that reflects poorly on the student, even if the information is provided as background to a commendation.

When a course has more than one instructor, all instructors shall submit a single citation for each deserving student.

Delays in Final Grade

Due to various circumstances, instructors may be unable to submit a student’s final grade for a course before the deadline at the end of the term. There are three designations for these cases: Incomplete (I), Ongoing (ON) and Administrative Delay (AD). Each of these is described in detail in the ORC under temporary transcript designations.


All students retain their privacy rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in every course. Faculty members should review FERPA regulations (Dartmouth Student Handbook, FERPA and Registrar’s FERPA tutorial). Specifically, graded coursework must not be returned in a manner that can potentially allow students to see each other’s grades. Some classes use a specific FERPA waiver for homework, exams, and/or papers. Examples are available via DCAL.