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Grades Report 2013-2014

Appendix H

Following the move to a letter-based grading scheme in the Summer Term of 2011, Faculty Board approved a set of policies regarding grading
practices in the Faculty of Arts and Science. This policy mandated that a report on the current state of grading in the Faculty should be
presented to Faculty Board every year.
This is the first such grades report presented under the letter-based grading scheme. Its primary goal is to inform Faculty Board regarding the
broad evolution of grading across the faculty by comparing the 2013 letter grade results with the grading distributions in 2008 and 2009, the
penultimate two years in which number grades were in use.
Table 1: Grade Distributions 2013 across all Faculties and Schools
teaching
faculty
ASC

ASC Total
BUS

BUS Total
EDU
ENG
HSC

HSC Total
LAW
LAW Total
Grand Total

course
location
campus+NS
CDS
Herst
Blyth
campus+NS
CDS
Herst

campus+NS
CDS
Herst
campus+NS
Herst

FTE enr
8,292.0
613.5
149.2
11.6
9,066.3
1,231.6
35.4
7.6
1,274.6
417.1
1,546.7
742.9
65.4
0.4
808.6
420.5
13.8
434.3
13,547.6

students
81,083
5,231
1,435
111
87,860
12,665
364
76
13,105
6,755
18,005
7,276
504
4
7,784
4,069
139
4,208
137,717

GPA
2.95
2.78
3.10
3.15
2.94
3.17
2.79
3.19
3.16
3.66
2.99
3.34
3.01
3.35
3.31
3.22
3.20
3.22
3.03

median
grade

B+
B
B+
AB+
B+
B+
A
B+
A
B+
AAB+
AB+
B
B+
B+

Percentage of FTE Enrolments with given grade point


A+

4.3
8.4%
7.8%
3.0%
13.5%
8.3%
8.3%
4.6%
9.4%
8.2%
11.5%
12.1%
24.6%
13.1%

8.4%

4
12.2%
11.2%
10.9%
26.1%
12.1%
14.1%
15.2%
53.4%
14.3%
91.9%
15.4%
19.3%
15.4%
19.0%
12.6%
6.6%
12.4%
15.6%

A-

B+

3.7
19.7%
18.0%
26.2%
26.1%
19.7%
22.2%
23.2%
22.4%
22.2%

3.3
11.7%
10.3%
16.7%
19.8%
11.7%
16.0%
10.4%
1.3%
15.7%

20.4%
23.3%
16.4%
50.0%
22.8%
10.7%
13.5%
10.8%
19.3%

10.3%
11.4%
6.5%
50.0%
11.0%
32.3%
28.3%
32.2%
12.2%

C+

C-

D+

D-

3
14.5%
13.9%
18.0%
9.9%
14.5%
15.4%
15.6%
6.7%
15.3%
6.7%
11.6%
12.0%
9.2%

B-

2.7
9.3%
8.8%
9.7%
1.8%
9.3%
7.9%
11.2%
4.1%
7.9%

2.3
5.9%
5.7%
5.4%
0.9%
5.9%
5.5%
4.9%
2.7%
5.4%

2
6.2%
5.9%
4.2%

1.7
3.4%
3.5%
2.2%
0.9%
3.4%
2.1%
2.0%

1.3
2.0%
1.9%
1.3%
0.9%
2.0%
1.4%
2.2%

1
2.0%
2.5%
0.9%

0.7
1.5%
2.2%
0.5%

0
3.2%
8.5%
1.0%

2.0%
1.1%
2.1%

1.5%
0.8%
0.6%

3.5%
1.0%
3.4%

2.1%

1.4%

5.4%
4.3%
8.0%

3.8%
2.1%
3.0%

2.1%
1.2%
1.6%

1.2%
0.3%
2.5%
1.5%
1.6%

0.8%

7.2%
6.6%
6.9%

4.2%
0.9%
5.7%
3.8%
4.6%

1.1%
0.2%
1.9%
1.2%
1.4%

11.7%
32.1%
36.2%
32.3%
14.4%

6.6%
8.3%
11.3%
8.4%
8.4%

4.6%
2.7%
2.2%
2.7%
5.4%

3.9%
1.0%
1.0%
1.0%
5.4%

2.2%

1.2%

3.0%

1.8%

6.1%
4.2%
4.7%

1.5%
0.1%
1.0%
0.1%
1.9%

2.2%
1.2%
0.8%
1.2%

1.4%

Page 50 of 54

1.2%
0.1%
0.1%
2.7%

Table 1 shows that, broadly speaking, grade distributions within Arts and Science (ASC) in on-campus courses (campus + NS) and online courses
(CDS) were similar. Courses at the BISC (Herst) generally have fewer A+ grades, but otherwise have a distribution similar to that on campus. This
may be due to the large proportion of Arts courses taught at the BISC, which typically have a lower number of A+ grades given than in the
sciences (see below). As a whole, grading within Arts and Science is similar to that in the School of Business (BUS) and Faculty of Health Sciences
(HSC) but we give significantly fewer A+ grades and more failing grades than the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (ENG).

Table 2: Grade Distributions 2013 Across Departments in Arts and Science


Discipline

Department

Humanities
Art Hist.
Creative Arts
Art, Fine
Phys ical Science Biology
Phys ical Science Chemistry
Humanities
Classics
Phys ical Science Computing
Creative Arts
Drama
Social Science Economics
Humanities
English
Phys ical Science Env. Studies
Creative Arts
Film
Languages
French
Social Science Gender St.
Social Science Geography
Phys ical Science Geology
Social Science Global Dev't
Humanities
History
Social Science Kines. & Hlth
Languages
Lang, Lit, Cult.
Phys ical Science Math & Stats
Creative Arts
Music
Humanities
Philosophy
Phys ical Science Physics
Social Science Pol. Stud.
Social Science Psychology
Humanities
Rel. Stud.
Social Science Sociology
Arts & Science Grand Total

FTE enr
192.5
47.9
684.4
435.1
231.6
253.8
168.4
525.0
299.5
104.8
186.1
137.2
176.6
313.5
311.4
143.1
419.4
468.2
225.5
651.9
199.2
210.6
396.5
422.0
574.5
154.7
358.7
8,292.0

students
1,847
212
6,540
4,444
2,253
2,513
1,619
5,257
2,881
981
1,836
1,330
1,608
3,040
3,121
1,336
3,727
4,553
2,156
6,927
2,048
2,030
4,300
4,064
5,513
1,496
3,451
81,083

GPA
2.92
3.13
2.96
2.98
2.95
2.82
3.02
2.85
2.99
2.98
2.92
3.17
2.83
2.77
2.92
3.15
2.95
3.03
3.10
3.00
2.97
2.79
3.08
2.92
3.07
2.83
2.73
2.95

median
grade

B+
AB+
BAB+
B+
B
B
AB+
AB+
B
B+
B+
B+
AAB
AB
B
B
B+
B+
B
B+

Percentage of FTE Enrolments with given grade point


A+

4.3
2.6%
5.7%
9.2%
6.5%
21.6%
15.4%
2.1%
10.6%
2.5%
7.4%
3.4%
8.9%
3.5%
3.6%
10.8%
2.6%
3.0%
11.1%
18.1%
15.0%
16.2%
3.9%
14.3%
1.4%
6.2%
3.9%
3.0%
8.4%

4
10.4%
17.0%
13.2%
8.9%
15.3%
13.3%
10.9%
10.9%
8.8%
20.9%
11.0%
18.4%
15.4%
9.5%
15.4%
11.8%
8.6%
18.5%
18.2%
13.1%
15.3%
6.5%
12.6%
7.0%
13.8%
10.0%
7.3%
12.2%

A-

3.7
24.7%
35.7%
21.0%
14.0%
14.4%
17.3%
28.7%
16.7%
18.4%
27.3%
26.0%
23.8%
25.0%
19.9%
20.3%
23.6%
20.7%
25.8%
20.9%
13.7%
18.8%
15.4%
14.9%
18.7%
21.5%
23.3%
20.2%
19.7%

B+

3.3
16.1%
25.7%
9.7%
6.0%
6.8%
6.5%
23.2%
7.7%
15.1%
10.4%
15.9%
12.1%
18.0%
13.8%
10.6%
18.7%
18.3%
11.9%
8.7%
8.1%
9.8%
13.4%
7.1%
14.2%
11.8%
15.9%
14.0%
11.7%

3
15.7%
13.0%
14.3%
12.2%
9.3%
9.5%
19.0%
13.8%
20.9%
14.0%
15.5%
14.4%
17.1%
18.0%
11.7%
20.3%
19.6%
12.5%
9.9%
9.1%
10.5%
17.9%
10.5%
21.0%
13.8%
19.3%
19.0%
14.5%

B-

2.7
10.0%
2.0%
8.2%
10.7%
6.3%
7.8%
6.5%
10.4%
12.3%
7.8%
8.8%
8.3%
8.6%
10.9%
8.7%
10.8%
11.9%
6.5%
8.4%
6.3%
7.3%
13.5%
6.6%
13.2%
10.4%
10.4%
12.5%
9.3%

C+

C-

D+

D-

2.3
4.8%

2
5.5%

1.3
1.6%

1
1.1%

0.7
1.3%

7.0%
7.6%
5.5%
4.6%
3.5%
6.3%
7.2%
2.9%
4.6%
4.7%
4.3%
6.7%
6.0%
4.8%
6.1%
5.0%
3.6%
5.8%
5.2%
9.0%
5.9%
8.0%
5.8%
4.1%
6.8%
5.9%

6.5%
10.7%
6.3%
6.2%
2.1%
7.8%
6.0%
5.4%
5.2%
4.8%
3.6%
6.2%
5.8%
3.7%
4.0%
3.6%
4.5%
7.1%
5.3%
6.2%
8.6%
6.3%
6.6%
5.0%
7.7%
6.2%

1.7
2.5%
0.4%
3.9%
7.0%
3.5%
4.7%
0.8%
4.3%
2.5%
1.5%
2.8%
1.3%
0.9%
3.1%
3.3%
0.8%
1.8%
1.4%
2.1%
4.9%
3.1%
4.6%
4.8%
3.9%
3.8%
1.9%
3.1%
3.4%

2.3%
4.5%
2.8%
1.8%
0.6%
2.2%
1.3%
0.5%
1.4%
0.2%
0.6%
2.0%
2.3%
0.7%
0.7%
1.1%
1.3%
3.6%
1.3%
2.0%
3.5%
1.8%
1.7%
1.3%
1.5%
2.0%

1.9%
4.4%
3.2%
2.7%
0.7%
2.8%
1.3%
0.6%
1.4%
1.1%
0.4%
1.6%
1.8%
0.7%
1.1%
1.3%
1.2%
3.7%
2.2%
1.8%
3.8%
1.3%
1.7%
0.9%
1.2%
2.0%

1.0%
3.0%
2.2%
2.8%
0.6%
1.8%
0.5%
0.3%
1.6%
0.4%
0.1%
0.9%
1.0%
0.6%
0.8%
0.4%
0.9%
3.8%
0.9%
1.4%
3.8%
0.5%
1.1%
0.7%
1.2%
1.5%

0
3.8%
0.7%
1.9%
4.4%
2.8%
7.4%
1.3%
4.7%
3.2%
1.0%
2.3%
1.5%
2.6%
3.9%
2.2%
1.0%
3.2%
1.0%
2.2%
6.1%
4.1%
4.4%
3.7%
2.7%
1.7%
3.5%
2.6%
3.2%

Page 51 of 54

Table 2 shows that, as in previous years, Departments in the Physical Sciences and Mathematics tend to give out more grades at the A or A+
level, but also more failed grades, than departments in other discipline areas. The grade distribution is effectively flatter. The median grade in
departments ranges from B- in Chemistry to A- in a number of departments. While grade distributions are flatter in the physical sciences than
arts disciplines, the median grade is quite variable across all discipline areas. Note that the values in table 2 are weighted by student, not by
course. Therefore, the grade distributions in large enrolment courses will tend to dominate the overall grade distribution in any given
department in the table.
Figure 1: Grade distribution comparisons, 2008/09 to 2013

A&S Undergraduate Courses, all locations, grade


distribution, fiscal yr 2013 compared with 2008/9
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
A+

A-

B+

B-

fy 2013

C+

C-

D+

D-

fyrs 2009, 2010

As can be seen in Figure 1, overall there has been moderate increases between 2008/09 and 2013 in the number of grades given out at the A+
(90 100%) and A (85 89%) levels, with growth of about 0.8% and 1.4% respectively. There has been virtually no change in the number of A(80 84%) grades given. The largest change has been in the number of B+ grades given out, which have increased by 2.5%, primarily at the
expense of grades in the C to B range. The number of failures has also decreased slightly in this time period (-0.7%). The increase in the number
of B+ grades, and their relative paucity compared to the neighbouring A- and B bins, was predictable: under the old grading scheme, there was
significant pressure on faculty members to bump 79% grades to 80%. With the letter based scheme, it appears that this practice has been
reduced.

Page 52 of 54

Table 3: Grade distribution comparisons 2013 vs. 2008/9 Across Departments in Arts and Science
Percentage of FTE Enrolments with given grade point

med.

Discipline

Department FTE enr diff students diff GPA diff Grade


diff

Humanities
Art History
Art, Fine
Creative Arts
Phys ical Science Biology
Phys ical Science Chemistry
Classics
Humanities
Phys ical Science Computing
Drama
Creative Arts
Social Science Economics
English
Humanities
Phys ical Science Env. Studies
Film
Creative Arts
French
Languages
Social Science Gender Studies
Social Science Geography
Phys ical Science Geology
Social Science Global Dev't
History
Humanities
Social Science Kines. & Hlth
Lang, Lit, Cult.
Languages
Phys ical Science Math & Stats
Music
Creative Arts
Philosophy
Humanities
Phys ical Science Physics
Social Science Political Studi
Social Science Psychology
Rel. Studies
Humanities
Social Science Sociology
Arts & Science Grand Total

9.0
-1.6
22.9
-148.1
-27.5
100.5
11.2
3.3
-144.9
13.9
-11.8
-46.4
62.7
-42.2
63.5
-19.9
-106.3
60.6
-41.5
-194.3
-58.3
-70.0
-104.3
-77.6
-157.0
-10.2
44.4
-870.0

477
-6
137
-363
246
985
402
711
26
78
245
-109
516
-509
652
148
-217
481
-99
-121
-133
-187
165
-66
350
228
1,100
5,134

-0.03
-0.27
-0.11
0.34
-0.22
-0.22
-0.13
0.04
0.16
-0.29
-0.09
-0.01
-0.34
-0.18
0.06
0.29
-0.34
-0.30
-0.06
0.28
-0.18
0.02
0.37
0.14
0.11
-0.01
-0.15
0.03

B+ - B
same
same
same
same
B+ - Asame
same
same
A- - B+
B+ - B
A- - B+
same
same
B+ - B
B+ - B
B+ - B
same
same
same
same
same
same
same
same
B+ - B
same
B+ - B

A+

A-

B+

B-

C+

C-

D+

D-

4.3

3.7

3.3

2.7

2.3

1.7

1.3

0.7

1.8%
3.3%
-0.2%
-0.6%
2.6%
-4.3%
1.3%
1.1%
1.9%
3.8%
-0.7%
3.6%
-3.8%
-0.4%
3.2%
2.4%
1.3%
2.5%
3.0%
-1.3%
5.2%
1.6%
2.2%
0.9%
-2.0%
1.7%
0.2%
0.8%

2.5%
2.1%
-1.2%
-1.0%
-2.6%
-1.7%
3.0%
0.5%
4.1%
8.6%
2.2%
4.4%
0.8%
-1.2%
5.1%
8.5%
3.2%
-2.0%
1.4%
2.3%
-0.1%
0.2%
1.9%
2.5%
0.3%
1.7%
0.3%
1.4%

0.6%
-4.5%
0.3%
-1.0%
-2.8%
-1.9%
0.7%
-0.5%
0.1%
-6.8%
3.4%
-1.6%
-0.8%
-3.2%
0.8%
6.1%
-1.7%
-0.9%
-0.2%
1.9%
-5.8%
-1.5%
1.7%
0.1%
0.3%
2.2%
0.2%
0.1%

2.0%
9.1%
2.5%
0.0%
0.3%
3.0%
7.1%
1.7%
2.5%
-4.7%
2.7%
0.4%
6.8%
4.6%
2.6%
5.9%
4.0%
2.0%
2.0%
1.9%
1.2%
2.5%
-0.3%
3.1%
4.4%
4.2%
3.7%
2.5%

-4.3%
-3.4%
0.8%
0.5%
-0.3%
1.3%
-3.0%
1.5%
-1.0%
-1.5%
-2.7%
-1.9%
1.5%
1.0%
-1.8%
-6.7%
-2.2%
-0.9%
-2.2%
0.2%
-2.3%
-0.6%
0.6%
-1.0%
1.3%
0.7%
-1.5%
-0.5%

-1.5%
-2.9%
-0.9%
1.4%
-0.4%
2.0%
-7.6%
1.2%
-3.3%
0.7%
-2.6%
-3.7%
-0.2%
0.5%
-1.5%
-3.9%
-0.8%
-0.4%
1.3%
-0.6%
0.0%
-0.6%
-0.4%
-0.8%
2.1%
-0.2%
-2.3%
-0.6%

-1.5%

0.6%

0.3%

-0.1%

0.6%

-0.4%
0.0%
1.2%
0.3%
-0.6%
-0.8%
-0.8%
-1.7%
-0.8%
0.5%
0.1%
-0.2%
-0.2%
-3.3%
-0.1%
0.5%
-0.2%
-0.2%
1.6%
1.2%
-0.1%
-0.6%
-0.2%
-3.2%
1.2%
-0.3%

-0.4%
1.2%
1.2%
0.7%
-0.7%
-0.7%
-2.2%
2.3%
-1.3%
0.8%
-0.3%
-0.6%
-1.8%
-4.5%
-1.7%
-0.1%
-1.0%
-0.3%
0.9%
-2.9%
0.1%
-1.6%
-0.2%
-1.2%
0.0%
-0.6%

-0.6%
-1.4%
0.0%
1.1%
0.2%
1.3%
-0.8%
-0.8%
-0.8%
0.2%
0.1%
-1.3%
-1.6%
-0.2%
-1.3%
-2.5%
-1.2%
-0.6%
-1.8%
-0.1%
-0.6%
0.1%
-0.8%
0.0%
-0.8%
-1.5%
-0.5%
-0.6%

0.0%
0.0%
0.9%
-0.1%
0.4%
-1.4%
-0.1%
-0.1%
-0.6%
-1.0%
-0.5%
0.0%
-0.6%
-0.8%
-0.7%
-0.1%
-0.1%
-0.2%
-0.2%
-0.5%
-0.8%
-0.4%
-1.2%
-0.9%
0.2%
-0.4%

-0.4%
0.2%
1.2%
-0.5%
0.0%
-0.9%
-0.4%
-0.4%
0.0%
-0.1%
-0.5%
0.0%
-1.5%
-0.2%
-0.3%
0.3%
-1.1%
-0.7%
-0.1%
-0.3%
-1.3%
-0.8%
-1.4%
-1.3%
-0.5%
-0.6%

-0.1%
0.7%
0.1%
-0.8%
0.2%
-1.2%
-0.2%
-0.3%
0.4%
-0.1%
-0.5%
-0.4%
-1.1%
0.0%
-0.1%
-0.3%
-0.8%
-0.6%
-0.8%
0.1%
-1.0%
-1.1%
-1.2%
-1.3%
0.1%
-0.5%

-0.2%
-1.3%
0.2%
-2.5%
-1.6%
0.9%
0.0%
0.2%
0.3%
-0.2%
-0.1%
0.0%
-1.2%
0.0%
-2.1%
-0.9%
0.0%
-0.1%
-0.2%
-2.2%
1.2%
0.6%
-1.8%
-0.3%
-1.4%
-0.9%
-1.1%
-0.7%

Page 53 of 54

Table 3 shows us a more detailed breakdown in the grading shifts in various subjects. Computing, which in 2008/09 gave out the largest number
of grades in the A+ range (90 100%) has shown the largest decrease. It is also the only department where the median grade has decreased in
this time period. Math, which gave out the second-largest number of A+ grades, has decreased less significantly. Generally, however, variations
do not show strong correlations to any one discipline area. It will be important to review the grades in the next academic year in order to
ascertain to what extent these changes reflect real shifts in grading culture within departments or disciplines, or merely represent year-to-year
random variation in the quality of the student pool within departments.

Carol Kavanaugh is acknowledged for her assistance in compiling the grades data.

Page 54 of 54