Evaluating students' performance in our classes is an essential part of our job. Listed below are the Department's policies regarding final grades in English 126.

Please keep these policies in mind as you assess students' written work during the course of the semester.  Please bear in mind that York College/CUNY has a +/- grading system, making it possible to adjust the following grades accordingly.


Given to a distinct minority of the class, for work that is particularly interesting and competent.  Work at the A level stands out not only in a certain sense of authority, but also in its "polish" and control of the conventions of academic writing:  The writer handles sources gracefully, follows conventions of citation accurately, and makes very few errors in written English.

Given to students whose work is successful in responding to most assignments and manifests independent thinking, solving the problems posed by the assignments in competent and interesting ways.  Writing is coherently organized.  A student who receives the grade of B uses and documents source material effectively and accurately.  The student may be an ESL student with some remaining problems with English idiom; however, his or her writing is easily readable.  There is no pattern of consistent error in handling of standard written English in work that has been independently revised. The student should:

  • Submit papers in appropriate format
  • Punctuate titles and spell authors' names correctly
  • Follow appropriate citation format (on the final assignment, this should be close to perfect)
  • Edit for spelling, grammar, punctuation

Given to students who have completed all assignments in an acceptable fashion, addressing and dealing with the task at hand.  Source material may not always be integrated gracefully, but it is handled appropriately (i.e., without inadvertent plagiarism).  Students may still have some problems with editing their writing successfully, but they have made discernible progress in this area and are generally successful.

Remember: A grade of C in any course is a faculty member's certification that the student is working at a level appropriate for the BA/BS degree.  Your grade of C will be seen by subject-area faculty as a mark of "proficient" writing.

The D grade should be given rarely, most often to a student who has demonstrated the ability to write passing-level work, but who has a pattern of absence, lateness, and/or missing work.

Given for work - completed under revision conditions - that does not meet standards for college-level writing proficiency.

About the D and F grades: It is important to recognize (and convey to students) that a grade of F is usually more advantageous to a student than a grade of D.

  1. Clearly a student working at the F/D level would profit by further instruction and practice.  English 125 is an instrumental course; the reading and writing skills developed here will lead to greater success in the courses that follow.
  2. A grade of D counts negatively in a student's GPA forever.  In contrast, if the student is a freshman with fewer than 28 credits completed, an F grade in a 100-level course turns into an NC on the transcript and is not considered in computing the GPA. ( York College Bulletin 1999-2001 , 23).
  3. Even after freshman year, the CUNY F-grade policy allows a student to retake courses with an F grade.  If the retake grade is C or higher, it is the higher grade that is computed in the GPA (up to a total of 16 credits).