OCAD U’s Grading Policy

Grading Policy

Beginning in September 2013, OCAD University adopted a new Grading Policy (Undergraduate) and repealed the former Grade Distribution Policy. This was a significant change for the university. This page highlights how the new Grading Policy works and how it impacts students. The new policy can be found on the Academic Policies page.

How the New Grading Policy Works

The main difference between the old and new grading policies is the way in which student performance is assessed.

Prior to September 2013, grading largely followed a norm-referenced assessment model. Undergraduate student grades were assigned based on students’ performance of the course material relative to one another. The Grade Distribution Policy specified the target class average and the distribution of student grades.

This model was well-suited to the institution as it adjusted to degree-granting status and helped to ensure rigour, consistency and credibility with external bodies, including graduate schools. Now that OCAD U has established program level learning objectives and adopted undergraduate degree level expectations, it's time for a new grading model.

The Grading Policy is based on a criterion-referenced assessment model. In this model, performance is assessed in relation to an external standard or criterion. For OCAD U students, this means that your course work is assessed relative to how well it meets the learning outcomes for the course using the OCAD U Grading Scale (see below). You can find the learning outcomes in your course outline for each of your courses. This type of assessment increases transparency and sense of fairness for students as their grades are determined solely by their performance.

We do not anticipate that average grades will increase across the institution as a result of this policy change. Final course grades are submitted through Canvas, the OCAD U learning management system, at the end of each semester. These grades are reviewed and are subject to the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in your Faculty.

What to do if Grading Appears to be too Low, or too High

In any given class, it is unlikely that the majority of students will meet all the criteria for A level work on an assignment or project. It is equally unlikely that the majority of students will fail to meet the requirements and earn F grades. If you and your classmates suspect that something is not quite right because a majority of students are all performing poorly (or, conversely, performing to A level!), you should approach the instructor to discuss the issue. It may be possible for the instructor to clarify instructions for the assignment, project, or exam, or to adjust overall expectations. If the situation is not resolved, you and your classmates have the option to discuss your concerns with the Chair of the program in which the course is offered or the Associate Dean for the Faculty. Your Student Union can also provide support in navigating university policies and processes. Contact Joanna Adamiak at jadamiak@ocadu.ca to book an appointment with the Student Advocate.

Please note that this process would be followed in a situation in which the majority of students are experiencing the course as either too easy or too challenging. Individual students who believe they have been graded unfairly should consult the Grade Appeal Policy.

Questions and concerns about the new Grading Policy can be addressed to the Office of the Vice-President, Academic:
clatimer@ocadu.ca
416-977-6000 Ext. 3230


OCAD U Grading Scale

Each numeric grade range and corresponding letter grade is associated with a level of student performance that is applied to the learning outcomes for the course:

Numeric Grade

Letter Grade

Description of Student Performance

90 - 100%

A+

Exceptional

Exceeded expectations in demonstrating a high degree of creative and/or logical thinking, a superior ability to organize, to analyze and to integrate ideas, thorough knowledge of concepts and/or techniques and exceptional skill in their application in satisfying the requirements of a course.

85 - 89%

A

Excellent

Demonstrated a high degree of creative and/or logical thinking, a superior ability to organize, to analyze, and to integrate ideas thorough knowledge of concepts and/or techniques and with a very high degree of skill in their application in satisfying the requirements of a course.

80 - 84%

A-

77- 79%

B+

Good

Demonstrated good evidence of creative and/or logical thinking, a good ability to organize, to analyze, and to integrate ideas, knowledge of concepts and/or techniques and considerable skill in their application in satisfying the requirements of a course.

74- 76%

B

70- 73%

B-

67- 69%

C+

Satisfactory

Demonstrated a satisfactory level of creative and/or logical thinking, a generally adequate grasp of the subject matter, concepts, and techniques in their application in satisfying the requirements of a course.

64- 66%

C

60- 63%

C-

57- 59%

D+

Demonstrated barely adequate knowledge and ability in creative and/or logical thinking and the application of concepts and/or techniques in satisfying the requirements of a course.

54- 56%

D

50- 53%

D-

0- 49%

F

Failure to meet course requirements.