Since COVID-19 has forced most students to pursue education remotely for the rest of the spring semester, many colleges and universities have taken steps to alter their grading policies. Some are allowing students to decide whether they want to receive a letter grade or pass/fail designation, with many of those allowing students to do so after the last day of classes. Others have moved to universal or near-universal pass/fail or credit/no-credit policies,  with some allowing faculty room to provide commendations for outstanding work.

EXAMPLES

Institutions allowing students to decide whether they want to receive a letter grade or pass/fail include: 

  • Amherst College is treating all classes as though the flexible grading option had been elected. Students will have five days after the date grades are due to either accept the grade assigned by the instructor, or elect to have a pass (“P”) displayed on their transcript. If the letter grade is an “F,” an “F” will be recorded. 
  • Carnegie Mellon is allowing students (undergraduate and graduate) to convert any of their courses to pass/no-pass grading. All courses for which the student receives passing grades will count toward degree requirements, which overrides some departmental or college policies. Students have 7 days after grades are posted to decide. 
  • Cornell is giving students until the last day of classes for the semester to opt to receive satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades. 
  • Georgetown students have until the last day of spring classes to decide between a letter grade and receiving Satisfactory, Credit and No-Credit. The withdrawal deadline was also extended until the last day of classes. 
  • Lehigh University is allowing undergraduate students to elect out of the regular grading system and convert a course grade to a credit grading system. They can make this choice beginning in April, and any time through to after grades are reported at the end of the semester.
  • All students at Colgate will receive a letter grade, which the registrar will convert to P/X. Students will have access to their grades and have the option -- on a course-by-course basis -- to revert to their letter grade by a May deadline.

Institutions that have moved to a pass/fail or similar system include: 

  • Columbia undergraduate and graduate student courses are pass/fail. 
  • Harvard undergraduate students will receive either “Emergency Satisfactory” or “Emergency Unsatisfactory” in their spring classes. A satisfactory grade is the equivalent of a C-minus letter grade or higher and does not factor into students’ grade point average, per FAS policies. An unsatisfactory grade, however, is considered a failing grade and is folded into GPA calculations.
  • MIT is using "Alternate Grades" for all undergraduate and graduate full-term and second-half term subjects. They issued a follow-up memo with further clarifications to their policies and also created a robust Academic Continuity FAQs section. 
  • Yale College adopted a policy of universal pass/fail, with a provision for instructors to provide narrative commendations.

Institutions that have moved to credit/no-credit policies include:

  • Bowdoin adopted a grading policy of Credit/No Credit, with no option for letter grades. A Credit (CRD) grade will indicate that a student has successfully satisfied learning expectations; a grade of No Credit (NCR) will indicate that a student has not. Any course completed with “CRD” will not count against their Bowdoin career limit of four CR/D/F courses. 
  • Dartmouth’s credit/no-credit policy applies only to undergraduates. Graduate students will be assessed as before. 
  • Hamilton adopted a credit/no credit/incomplete grading policy for all courses except those originally graded as satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Grades will not contribute to the GPA, but courses for which a student receives credit will count towards program requirements. Any student who earns two no-credit grades this semester will be subject to academic probation; three no-credit grades makes a student subject to suspension.
  • All of Stanford’s classes moved to satisfactory/no-credit or credit/no-credit with the exception of courses in the graduate schools of business, law and the MD program. Students who receive a C- or better will have their grade recorded as S, and students who receive less than a C- will receive NC. Programs are strongly urged to exclude units of credit earned for a ‘CR’ [credit] or ‘S’ grade from program unit maximums and/or alter program requirements. 
  • All courses at Wellesley, including independent studies and senior theses, will be converted to mandatory credit/non grading status. They asked faculty members to revise their syllabus to adjust for the new grading policy.

Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Amherst, Carnegie Mellon and MIT have an FAQ section related to grading within their established FAQ webpages for students/academics related to COVID-19. 

At some institutions with pass/fail or credit/no-credit, there is an opportunity for faculty to distinguish outstanding work, though it doesn’t always translate onto the transcript. 

  • At Yale, narrative commendations will not appear on transcripts. 
  • At Wellesley, the distinction can be made on the transcript. 
  • At Harvard, faculty may supplement with a “qualitative assessment of student learning” in my.harvard.

Still largely to be determined: how these changes will affect some graduate school admissions, admissions to business, law and medical schools, and credit transfers. 

  • Harvard Medical School will accept pass/fail grading for spring 2020 coursework, although letter grades would be preferred if the option for such grades is offered, to assess pre-requisites.
  • Cornell Law implemented mandatory pass/fail for its students, alongside the law schools at Columbia, Stanford, UC Berkeley and Boston College.
  • These policies are expected to have the greatest impact on credit transfers
  • Business schools are pushing back or changing dates and admissions requirements

 

 

 

LAST UPDATE: 4/9/20

EXAMPLES

EXAMPLES

Institutions allowing students to decide whether they want to receive a letter grade or pass/fail include: 

Amherst College is treating all classes as though the flexible grading option had been elected. Students will have five days after the date grades are due to either accept the grade assigned by the instructor, or elect to have a pass (“P”) displayed on their transcript. If the letter grade is an “F,” an “F” will be recorded. 

Carnegie Mellon is allowing students (undergraduate and graduate) to convert any of their courses to pass/no-pass grading. All courses for which the student receives passing grades will count toward degree requirements, which overrides some departmental or college policies. Students have 7 days after grades are posted to decide. 

Cornell is giving students until the last day of classes for the semester to opt to receive satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades. 

Georgetown students have until the last day of spring classes to decide between a letter grade and receiving Satisfactory, Credit and No-Credit. The withdrawal deadline was also extended until the last day of classes. 

Lehigh University is allowing undergraduate students to elect out of the regular grading system and convert a course grade to a credit grading system. They can make this choice beginning in April, and any time through to after grades are reported at the end of the semester.

All students at Colgate will receive a letter grade, which the registrar will convert to P/X. Students will have access to their grades and have the option -- on a course-by-course basis -- to revert to their letter grade by a May deadline.

Institutions that have moved to a pass/fail or similar system include: 

Columbia undergraduate and graduate student courses are pass/fail. 

Harvard undergraduate students will receive either “Emergency Satisfactory” or “Emergency Unsatisfactory” in their spring classes. A satisfactory grade is the equivalent of a C-minus letter grade or higher and does not factor into students’ grade point average, per FAS policies. An unsatisfactory grade, however, is considered a failing grade and is folded into GPA calculations.

MIT is using "Alternate Grades" for all undergraduate and graduate full-term and second-half term subjects. They issued a follow-up memo with further clarifications to their policies and also created a robust Academic Continuity FAQs section. 

Yale College adopted a policy of universal pass/fail, with a provision for instructors to provide narrative commendations.

Institutions that have moved to credit/no-credit policies include:

Bowdoin

 adopted a grading policy of Credit/No Credit, with no option for letter grades. A Credit (CRD) grade will indicate that a student has successfully satisfied learning expectations; a grade of No Credit (NCR) will indicate that a student has not. Any course completed with “CRD” will not count against their Bowdoin career limit of four CR/D/F courses. 

Dartmouth’s credit/no-credit policy applies 

only to undergraduates

. Graduate students will be assessed as before. 

Hamilton

 adopted a credit/no credit/incomplete grading policy for all courses except those originally graded as satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Grades will not contribute to the GPA, but courses for which a student receives credit will count towards program requirements. Any student who earns two no-credit grades this semester will be subject to academic probation; three no-credit grades makes a student subject to suspension.

All of Stanford’s classes

 moved to satisfactory/no-credit or credit/no-credit with the exception of courses in the graduate schools of business, law and the MD program. Students who receive a C- or better will have their grade recorded as S, and students who receive less than a C- will receive NC. Programs are strongly urged to exclude units of credit earned for a ‘CR’ [credit] or ‘S’ grade from program unit maximums and/or alter program requirements. 

All courses at Wellesley

, including independent studies and senior theses, will be converted to mandatory credit/non grading status. They asked faculty members to revise their syllabus to adjust for the new grading policy.

Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Amherst, Carnegie Mellon and MIT have an FAQ section related to grading within their established FAQ webpages for students/academics related to COVID-19. 

At some institutions with pass/fail or credit/no-credit, there is an opportunity for faculty to distinguish outstanding work, though it doesn’t always translate onto the transcript. 

At Yale, narrative commendations will not appear on transcripts. 

At Wellesley, the distinction can be made on the transcript. 

At Harvard, faculty may supplement with a “qualitative assessment of student learning” in my.harvard.

Still largely to be determined: how these changes will affect some graduate school admissions, admissions to business, law and medical schools, and credit transfers. 

Harvard Medical School will accept pass/fail grading for spring 2020 coursework, although letter grades would be preferred if the option for such grades is offered, to assess pre-requisites.

Cornell Law implemented mandatory pass/fail for its students, alongside the law schools at Columbia, Stanford, UC Berkeley and Boston College.

These policies are expected to have the greatest impact on credit transfers. 

Business schools are pushing back or changing dates and admissions requirements

Institutions allowing students to decide whether they want to receive a letter grade or pass/fail include: 

Amherst College is treating all classes as though the flexible grading option had been elected. Students will have five days after the date grades are due to either accept the grade assigned by the instructor, or elect to have a pass (“P”) displayed on their transcript. If the letter grade is an “F,” an “F” will be recorded. 

Carnegie Mellon is allowing students (undergraduate and graduate) to convert any of their courses to pass/no-pass grading. All courses for which the student receives passing grades will count toward degree requirements, which overrides some departmental or college policies. Students have 7 days after grades are posted to decide. 

Cornell is giving students until the last day of classes for the semester to opt to receive satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades. 

Georgetown students have until the last day of spring classes to decide between a letter grade and receiving Satisfactory, Credit and No-Credit. The withdrawal deadline was also extended until the last day of classes. 

Lehigh University is allowing undergraduate students to elect out of the regular grading system and convert a course grade to a credit grading system. They can make this choice beginning in April, and any time through to after grades are reported at the end of the semester.

All students at Colgate will receive a letter grade, which the registrar will convert to P/X. Students will have access to their grades and have the option -- on a course-by-course basis -- to revert to their letter grade by a May deadline.

Institutions that have moved to a pass/fail or similar system include: 

Columbia undergraduate and graduate student courses are pass/fail. 

Harvard undergraduate students will receive either “Emergency Satisfactory” or “Emergency Unsatisfactory” in their spring classes. A satisfactory grade is the equivalent of a C-minus letter grade or higher and does not factor into students’ grade point average, per FAS policies. An unsatisfactory grade, however, is considered a failing grade and is folded into GPA calculations.

MIT is using "Alternate Grades" for all undergraduate and graduate full-term and second-half term subjects. They issued a follow-up memo with further clarifications to their policies and also created a robust Academic Continuity FAQs section. 

Yale College adopted a policy of universal pass/fail, with a provision for instructors to provide narrative commendations.

Institutions that have moved to credit/no-credit policies include:

Bowdoin

 adopted a grading policy of Credit/No Credit, with no option for letter grades. A Credit (CRD) grade will indicate that a student has successfully satisfied learning expectations; a grade of No Credit (NCR) will indicate that a student has not. Any course completed with “CRD” will not count against their Bowdoin career limit of four CR/D/F courses. 

Dartmouth’s credit/no-credit policy applies 

only to undergraduates

. Graduate students will be assessed as before. 

Hamilton

 adopted a credit/no credit/incomplete grading policy for all courses except those originally graded as satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Grades will not contribute to the GPA, but courses for which a student receives credit will count towards program requirements. Any student who earns two no-credit grades this semester will be subject to academic probation; three no-credit grades makes a student subject to suspension.

All of Stanford’s classes

 moved to satisfactory/no-credit or credit/no-credit with the exception of courses in the graduate schools of business, law and the MD program. Students who receive a C- or better will have their grade recorded as S, and students who receive less than a C- will receive NC. Programs are strongly urged to exclude units of credit earned for a ‘CR’ [credit] or ‘S’ grade from program unit maximums and/or alter program requirements. 

All courses at Wellesley

, including independent studies and senior theses, will be converted to mandatory credit/non grading status. They asked faculty members to revise their syllabus to adjust for the new grading policy.

Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Amherst, Carnegie Mellon and MIT have an FAQ section related to grading within their established FAQ webpages for students/academics related to COVID-19. 

At some institutions with pass/fail or credit/no-credit, there is an opportunity for faculty to distinguish outstanding work, though it doesn’t always translate onto the transcript. 

At Yale, narrative commendations will not appear on transcripts. 

At Wellesley, the distinction can be made on the transcript. 

At Harvard, faculty may supplement with a “qualitative assessment of student learning” in my.harvard.

Still largely to be determined: how these changes will affect some graduate school admissions, admissions to business, law and medical schools, and credit transfers. 

Harvard Medical School will accept pass/fail grading for spring 2020 coursework, although letter grades would be preferred if the option for such grades is offered, to assess pre-requisites.

Cornell Law implemented mandatory pass/fail for its students, alongside the law schools at Columbia, Stanford, UC Berkeley and Boston College.

These policies are expected to have the greatest impact on credit transfers. 

Business schools are pushing back or changing dates and admissions requirements

 

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