Undergraduate Qualifying Project Grading

The Faculty of WPI has endorsed the following grading guidelines for project activity:

  • Each term a student is registered for a qualifying project, the student receives a term grade reflecting assessment of his or her accomplishments for that term.
  • Upon completion of a project, each student will receive an overall project grade (also known as the “CDR grade,” since it certifies completion of the degree requirement) reflecting his or her individual overall accomplishments for the project.

The term grades and the overall project grade reflect both the products of the project (e.g., results, reports, etc.) and also the process by which they were attained. The term grades and the overall project grade may be different.

The following are some characteristics that faculty should use in communicating expectations and evaluating the quality of each student’s project work. The degree to which the student:

  • developed effective or creative goals or approaches,
  • demonstrated initiative and originality, 
  • showed depth and critical thought in analysis,
  • produced high quality results,
  • took the lead in discussion, planning, and analysis
  • produced a clear, professional-level report with excellent drafts along the way,
  • anticipated work that needed to be done and completed it in a timely manner, and
  • worked to advance the success of the team.

For both terms and overall project, the available grades and interpretations are:

  • A: This grade denotes excellent work that attains all of the project goals and learning outcomes. The product and process of this work meet all of the expectations and exceed them in several areas.
  • B: This grade denotes consistently good work that attains the project goals and learning outcomes. The product and process of this work meet but generally do not exceed all of the expectations.
  • C: This grade denotes acceptable work that partially attains project goals and learning outcomes. The product and process of this work meet some but not all expectations.
  • SP: This grade denotes satisfactory progress and certifies sufficient accomplishments to earn credit for that term. Faculty who assign this grade should provide clear feedback to the student regarding his or her progress during the term. The use of the SP grade is discouraged except in circumstances where the faculty member is unable to judge the quality of the work, yet can attest that the granting of credit is appropriate. This is a temporary grade and must be replaced by a permanent grade consistent with the criteria outlined above by, if not before, the end of the project.
  • NR: This grade denotes work that did not attain the project goals or learning outcomes and is insufficient for registered credit. Both product and process were inconsistent with acceptable project work at WPI as outlined above.
  • NAC: This grade is reserved for performance that is unacceptable. It might mean that a student’s performance (or lack of it) has seriously impeded group progress, or it has embarrassed the group, a project sponsor, or WPI. Note that this grade remains on the transcript.

Project goals should be established and clearly articulated early in the project. This may be done in the form of a formal project proposal. Learning outcomes for the qualifying projects have been established by the faculty and are published in the undergraduate catalog.

Project advisors should clearly convey in writing their expectations for learning and performance to project students at the start of the project, and provide students with substantive feedback on a regular basis during the project.