TO: Montana Board of Regents

FROM: Roger Barber, Deputy Commissioner for Academic & Student Affairs

RE: Common Values for Grade Point Average Calculations

DATE: September 21 - 23, 2005

Montana Board of Regents Policy 301.5.3, which was adopted by the Board at its May 2005 meeting, establishes minimum grade standards for the Montana University System. One of those standards requires that all campuses calculate a student's grade point average using common weights or value points for similar grades.

The following values will be used to determine grade point averages in the Montana University System:

A = 4.0

A- = 3.7

B+ = 3.3

B = 3.0

B- = 2.7

C+ = 2.3

C = 2.0

C- = 1.7

D+ = 1.3

D = 1.0

D- = 0.7

F = 0.0

In establishing this new grade point calculation standard for the Montana University System, the following guidelines are also important:

1)       a grade of A+ will not be awarded by institutions that make up the Montana University System. Although most grades can be differentiated, using a +, that designation could cause significant confusion if it was applied to an "A" grade. The most common grading scale throughout the United States is a 4.0 system, which is the weight assigned to an "A" grade. The Montana University System could adopt a different standard, but it would almost certainly create problems for students who continue their studies outside the System.

2)       similarly, a grade of F+ or F- will not be awarded by institutions that make up the Montana University System. If a student fails a class, the degree or amount of failure is unimportant. This guideline seems obvious, and is probably unnecessary. It is included here, however, in case the obvious answer is ever needed.

3)       the common weights will be used for all grade point average calculations beginning Fall Semester 2005.

4)       grade point averages calculated before Fall Semester 2005, using the values in place on each campus at the time, will not be recalculated, using the new weights or values.

5)       the new values should not be applied retroactively to grade point averages already calculated for students in the Montana University System. Decisions about those students academic performance, including satisfactory progress, admission to limited enrollment programs, graduation and financial aid eligibility, have been made, using the grading scale in place at the time of those decisions. The decisions should not be invalidated because of a subsequent change in grade point average calculations.

6)       if transfer students bring in grades, with pluses or minuses, those grades will be accepted by all institutions that make up the Montana University System. Again, this guideline seems obvious. But the question has already come up, and this guideline provides the obvious answer.