Grades Memo

Fall 2021

  1. Important dates
  2. Secondary Examiners
  3. Exam Supervision
  4. The Grading Profile
  5. Deferred Examinations and Paper Extensions
  6. Grade Recording and Submission
  7. Grade Reappraisals
  8. Due Date for Grades

1.  Important Dates 

Friday, December 3, 2021

  • Last day of classes

Monday, December 6, 2021

  • Fall Term Examinations
  • Seminar and Directed/Personal Research Papers are due in the on-line drop box no later than 3:30 p.m. on December 6. Extensions of a course’s due date beyond this date can only be granted by the Assistant Dean, Students, or her designate or the Associate Dean (Academic) and not by theinstructor. (Optional papers for courses in which there is an examination are due in the on-line drop box by 3:30 p.m. on the day of the examination unless an earlier date has been set by the instructor.)

Thursday, December 16, 2021

  • Winter Term Examinations end

Friday, December 17 –

Thursday, December 23, 2021

  • Exam Deferral / Research Paper* Extension Period

*  An extension date for a research paper will be set by the Assistant Dean, Students, or her designate in consultation with the student.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

  • Last day for students to submit Winter Term Petitions

Thursday, January 6, 2022

  • All First-Year and Upper Year grades due by 10:00 am

Please submit your examinations to Nancy Sperling (NSperling@osgoode.yorku.ca) at least three working days in advance of the examination. Please also be reminded that in submitting your examinations you must indicate who has served as secondary examiner for your examination.  In the first-year courses, I will follow the practice of previous Associate Deans of requesting instructors in sections A and C to act as secondary examiners for one another and instructors in sections B and D to act as secondary examiners for one another. I will be pleased to assist any upper-year instructors who experience difficulty finding a suitable person to serve in this capacity. 
 
Please remember that any student requests for extensions for research papers are to be directed to Assistant Dean, Students, Mya Rimon (MRimon@osgoode.yorku.ca).

2.  Secondary Examiners

 Your examination must be reviewed by a secondary examiner. A secondary examiner should offer comments and suggestions about the examination so as to ensure that the questions are clear and well-conceived and that the expectations are realistic in terms of the time allotted. In submitting your examinations to Nancy Sperling, you must indicate who has served as secondary examiner for your examination. In the first-year courses, I will follow the previous practice of requesting instructors in sections A and C to act as secondary examiners for one another and instructors in sections B and D to act as secondary examiners for one another. I will be pleased to assist any instructors in upper- year courses who experience difficulty finding a suitable person to serve in this capacity.

3.  Examination Supervision

During the time period when their exam is being written, instructors are expected to be available to answer questions from the Programs and Records Office or the Associate Dean and, so, instructors must be available during that time period. To that end, please monitor your email closely. If you are unable to be available urgently by email or fear that you will miss an email or see it too late, please advise Nancy Sperling at nsperling@osgoode.yorku.ca of a telephone number where you can be easily reached during the examination.

4.  The Grading Profile

 Courses with more than 30 students

 Osgoode grades are determined by ranking the raw scores and applying the grading profile. The Academic Rules of the Law School provide as follows:

The grading profile for all courses with more than 30 students shall be as follows:

A +/A: 15%
B+/B: 60%
C+/C: 20%
D+/D/F: 5%
  • In the A+/A and B+/B ranges, the number of “plus” grades awarded in a range may not exceed one-third of the total number of grades in that range.
  • In the C+/C range, the number of “plus” grades awarded may not exceed two-thirds of the total number of grades in that range.
  • In the D+/D/F range, there is no restriction on the number of “plus” grades

The Rules permit a maximum 5 per cent point deviation from the above grade profiles. This means that instructors can award the following grades in each range of grades:

A+/A 10% – 20 % maximum 1/3 “+” grades B+/B   55% – 65%   maximum 1/3 “+”grades C+ /C 15% – 25% maximum 2/3 “+” grades

D+/D/F 0% – 10%        no maximum “+” on “D+” grades

no F+ grades permitted

(With respect to the percentages in each letter grade (e.g. A+ and A together total between 10-20% of total students in class), the maximum and minimum percentage in each category already anticipates fractions. This means that the instructor should not anticipate that the Grades Review Committee will permit a grade profile beyond the permitted range for the reason that an instructor is beyond the range by only a fraction of a student. For example, if the maximum permitted total of A and A+ grades together is 20% in a class of 33, the maximum number of students to receive A/A+ grades is 6, not 7.

The Grades Review Committee does, in contrast, apply a part of the person rule to the “maximum 1/3 +” rule. This means that if 1/3 turns out to include a fraction, the permitted number of + grades is raised to the next whole number. For example, if the total number of A grades given (and acceptable on the grade profile) is 2 students, then 1 could be an A+ and 1 an A.)

It is expected that grades will conform to the grading profile.   In classes with more than 30 students, the normal practice of the Grades Review Committee (GRC) is not to permit a deviation from the grading profile. An instructor whose grades vary more than 5% from the grading profile or whose number of “plus” grades exceeds the allowable limit, must submit an explanation to the GRC.

In determining whether to permit such a deviation from the profile, the GRC will consider all the circumstances of the situation, including:

  • the size of the class
  • the stated objectives of the course
  • the pedagogical approach used by the instructor(s)
  • the form(s) of evaluation
  • any other relevant factors

Courses with 30 or fewer students, Seminars and Clinical/Intensive programs

 The grading profile does not apply to courses with 30 or fewer students, seminars and clinical/intensive programs. For these offerings, the following rules apply:

  • Where the median grade awarded in the class is higher than B+ or lower than B, the instructor must submit an explanation for such a variation to the GRC. In a class with an odd number of students, the median grade is the central grade awarded, with an equal number of grades above and below it. In a class with an even number of students, the median grade is the lowest grade awarded in the top half of the
  • The purpose of the explanation is to assure the GRC that the instructor has addressed the grading process in an informed and conscientious
  • Where the Committee is satisfied that the explanation meets this standard, it shall normally approve the grades awarded. Where the GRC is not satisfied, it may request the instructor reconsider or change the grades
  • In making this decision, the GRC is guided by the principle that the judgment of the instructor lies at the heart of the grading process and is normally entitled to

The GRC meets during the week after the last grades are received. No grades can be released to the students until they have been approved by the GRC.

5.  Deferred Examinations and Paper Extensions

 The guidelines and procedures for granting examination deferrals and paper extensions on compassionate, medical and equitable grounds are set out in the Academic Rules.

Students seeking deferrals/extensions should be referred to Assistant Dean, Students, Mya Rimon or her designate or to the Associate Dean. During the examination period, the Office of the Assistant Dean, Students, will periodically apprise you of the number of deferrals/extensions approved in your courses.

With respect to exam deferrals, at its meeting of March 10, 2008, Faculty Council passed a new Academic Rule requiring that “in advance of the prescribed Deferral date, Faculty shall submit a deferred exam different from the regular examination in the course.”

Although we recognize that this involves extra work, and that perfect comparisons for purposes of grading will not be possible with respect to deferrals, we are convinced that concerns about the integrity of the evaluation process require that we ask instructors to provide us with a different exam for purposes of any deferrals granted. Deferred exams in any particular course are held on a set date in the defined deferral period immediately following the regular exam period. We appreciate your understanding on this point.

6.  Grade recording and submission

 (a)  Grade sheets required

 Senate policy requires course instructors to complete grade sheets that indicate the breakdown of a student’s grade in a course.

(b)  Grade sheets for courses with final examinations

For courses with final examinations, the Programs and Records Office will distribute the grade sheet forms to you with your examination papers.

Ideally, you will also ensure that the breakdown of a student’s marks for each question on the examination is clearly noted directly on his or her examination paper.

Finally, at the time of distributing your examination papers, the Programs and Records Office will provide instructors with grade sheet forms, which are electronically generated Excel Spreadsheets corresponding to the examination numbers of the students in each class. All grades must be submitted electronically through these Excel Spreadsheets.

This method is far more efficient than the manual entry of grades and substantially reduces the potential for error.

(c)  Grade submission

 Grades are to be returned to grades@osgoode.yorku.ca. For courses with final examinations, grades are to be returned in the form of the completed Excel grading sheets provided by the Programs and Records Office. For courses with no final examination, no Excel sheets are provided and submission of grades by way of a grade sheet is not required; for these courses, the final grade can be submitted to the above email in any form (even as an instructor-created Excel sheet will always be appreciated).

7.  And, after the grades are released…

Students are entitled to review their grade with you. Please consult the Academic Rules if you are uncertain about the nature or extent of your responsibility here. Please also feel free to speak to me. I have excerpted below the relevant provisions from our Rules:

  • A student is entitled to a conference with the instructors regarding his/her grade, provided he or she makes an appointment for this purpose within three weeks after the grades have been released.
  • Faculty members should make a serious effort to furnish each student with an explanation of why he or she obtained the result he or she did on the examination or assignments or other methods used to evaluate his/her
  • A student who wishes to appeal a final grade in a course may not commence a formal appeal until the student has made all reasonable efforts to meet promptly with the course
  • If you plan to be out of town during this time, please inform Nancy Sperling how students may reach you for the purposes of

8. Grade Reappraisals

 A student may appeal a final grade in a course on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. a significant error or unfairness in the assessment of the grade;
  2. a defect in the evaluation

9. Due Date for Grades

 All first-year and upper year grades:  Thursday, January 6, 2022