Cornell University Grading System

(Adopted by the University Faculty, May 19 and 27, 1965)



S/U Letter Grade Point Value Description






Passing Passing A+ A A-




Excellent to very good: comprehensive knowledge and understanding of subject matter; marked perception and/or originality.
B+ B B-




Good: moderately broad knowledge and understanding of subject matter; noticeable perception and/or originality.
C+ C C-




Satisfactory: reasonable knowledge and understanding of subject matter; some perception and/or originality.




Fail D+ D D-




Marginal: minimum of knowledge and understanding of subject matter; limited perception and/or originality.
Fail F 0.0 Failing: unacceptably low level of knowledge and understanding of subject matter; severely limited perception and/or originality.


Symbols Used in Lieu of Grades

INC Incomplete: (1) Student has substantial equity in course and (2) is unable to complete course re- quirements because of circumstances beyond his/her control. INC is not a student option.



Summer school and extramural students may officially register as visitors (auditors) in courses and have this entered on their permanent record if their attendance is reported as satisfactory. Graduate students may register for courses as auditors, but this will not be entered on their permanent record. Undergraduates may not register for courses as auditors.
R Registered in year course approved by the college as not requiring a grade at the end of the first (current) term.
NMG No midterm grade (midterm only): Student enrolled and attending, but not practical to give grade.
NA Not attending: Student is officially enrolled but has not attended or participated in class work (for use at midterm only; not accepted at end of term or entered on student transcripts).
W Withdrew from course (with college permission) beyond eighth week of a normal term or beyond three-fifths of the duration of shorter sessions or courses.


Privacy of Records

According to federal law, grades are restricted information and may be released only to the student or at the student’s written request. Posting

of grades by name or a personally identifiable number is prohibited under the terms of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). However, a student waiver authorizing disclosure of educational records by means of a personally identifiable number (e.g., a student ID number) is acceptable provided that such consent is in writing and dated and signed by the student. (Note: A name or Social Security number must never be used for this purpose.) If instructors use this method, the waiver must be for a specific course; must be for a specified period of time (semester, academic year, etc.); must specify the records to be disclosed; and must be retained by the instructor of the course for a period of one year after its expiration. Students should not be coerced into signing a waiver, as the law requires that it be given voluntarily. Instructors may post grades for students who do not want their student ID number used by establishing a unique identifier known only to that student and the instructor. Although there is no federal or state legislation that pertains to the manner in which graded work is to be returned to students, the returning of such materials should be handled in a manner that preserves the student’s privacy.


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