Plus/Minus Grading Frequently Asked Questions


1. When is plus/minus grading effective?
The new grading system for undergraduate students begins with the Fall 2013 semester.


2. What is the value (grade points) assigned to each grade for undergraduate students in computing grade point averages?

A = 4.00
A- = 3.67
B+ = 3.33
B = 3.00
B- = 2.67
C+ = 2.33
C = 2.00
D = 1.00
F = 0.00


3. How does plus/minus grading affect scholarships?
For the purpose of calculating eligibility for scholarships, the required term and cumulative GPA will continue to be used. This will include any plus/minus grades received.


4. Will plus/minus grading be used to determine academic honors?
Yes - plus/minus grading will be used in the calculation for any and all academic honors including all attempted course work. These types of honors include Dean’s List, degrees with distinction (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude), and for the University Honors Program.


5. How will transfer students' transcripts using plus/minus grading be interpreted?
There will be no change in the way grades are calculated for those who apply for admission as transfer students. A minimum grade of “C” or higher is required for a course to be considered for transfer to NIU.


6. How will the undergraduate Admissions Office calculate GPA?
There will be no change in how the undergraduate Admissions Office calculates the GPA for any admission, not just transfer admission.


7. How will policies which state “a grade of ‘B’ or better is required" be interpreted?
For purposes of University policies or regulations, grades of A, A-, B+ and B will satisfy a requirement which states that "a grade of “B” is required. Note that a grade of “B-“ will not satisfy this standard.


8. What courses are covered by the change to plus/minus grading?
All undergraduate courses, except those covered by S/U grading.


9. Is an instructor for a course required to use plus and minus grades?
The plus/minus grading system is the official grading system approved by the university beginning Fall 2013 for undergraduate students (a separate +/- grading system for graduate students began in Fall 2012). The methodology for the assignment of grades in a course is the responsibility of the instructor, as defined in the course syllabus. The new plus/minus system provides more grade options, but how those options are utilized is the decision of the instructor. Multisection courses are expected to require similar levels of competence in all sections.


10. Will plus and minus grades be listed on NIU students' transcripts?
Both the official and unofficial transcript issued from Northern Illinois University will include any plus or minus grades that an undergraduate student earns beginning with the Fall 2013 semester and henceforward.


11. Why is there no A+ , C-, D+ or D- in the new undergraduate plus/minus grading system?
The decision not to include these options in the new grading system was made by both the Admissions Policies and Academic Standards Committee (APASC) and the Undergraduate Coordinating Council (UCC).


12. Will any of my grades be changed from previous semesters? Will there be any changes to my current cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)?
All grades and current cumulative GPA will not be changed. These grades are part of students' academic history and will remain as is on the official transcript. Beginning in Fall 2013 semester, any and all grades received (including +/-) will be listed on students' transcripts and calculated for both the term and cumulative GPA.