Sat. Aug 15th, 2020

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The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

UFC decides on new grading policy in light of COVID-19

3 min read

Students may elect to continue to receive letter grades as planned or to opt in to either the Pass, Credit, or No Credit designations. (UMW website)

by KATE SELTZER

News Editor

The University Faculty Council unanimously voted on March 25 to allow students to choose whether they receive a letter grade or a designation of pass, credit or no credit for any or all of their courses this semester.

“Action on this item was driven out of faculty concern for our students, and a desire to provide our students with every possible tool to help navigate this semester,” said Anand Rao, communication professor and chair of the UFC. “We understand just how difficult the rapid move to remote learning has been, and want to help our students be successful.”

Below are the new grading options, explained.

Letter grade

This is the default option for all courses. To activate any of the other options, students must opt in on Banner.

Pass

This is similar to the current Pass/Fail policy. To pass a class, students must receive a grade of D or higher. The Pass designation results in no impact on GPA. Ordinarily, students may only designate one elective class this way per semester; however, for this semester, any or all classes can be taken Pass/No Credit, and the deadline to choose has been extended to tentatively April 24, the last day of classes.

Credit

This option differs from Pass in that students must receive a grade of C or higher in order to select it. Credit also has no effect on GPA, and students may use Credit to count towards major or minor requirements, subject to department approval.

“We are working on how that will be handled by departments,” Rao said. “But accepting Credit for major and minor requirements is the default – departments would have to designate anything else.”

No Credit

No Credit essentially replaces the option of Fail under the usual Pass/Fail policy. Unlike Fail, No Credit does not affect students’ GPAs. It will also count as attempted credits.

The new grading policy was determined based on student and faculty feedback, including 46 pages of student feedback on a Google document that was circulated earlier this week. The UFC met over Zoom and discussed the proposed policy on a call with about 90 participants consisting of students and faculty members.

“The policy of Credit/No Credit, and the motion that ultimately was approved, was developed through discussion with administration and staff about what we could provide, and what would help students navigate the rest of the semester,” Rao said. “This would not be possible if it were not for the help of our dedicated staff in the Registrars’ Office and the Provost’s Office. They have worked quickly to help develop this policy option. We also appreciate all of the student feedback that was provided online, and the student attendance and feedback during the meeting.” 

Some of the details regarding this policy are still being worked out, but Rao anticipates those to be clarified soon.

“The Registrars’ Office is working on the implementation plan for this new policy, and Academic Services is working on materials for advisors and students,” Rao said. “I think we can expect more information to be shared soon, with plenty of time for students to discuss their grading options with their instructors and advisors well before any deadline for action.”

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