Letter to Students from the Provost: COVID-19: Option to Choose a Pass/No Pass Grade for Spring 2020 Semester

Mar 27, 2020

DATE: March 27, 2020

TO: All Students

FROM: Abiódún Gòkè-Pariolá, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

SUBJECT: COVID-19: Option to Choose a Pass/No Pass Grade for Spring 2020 Semester

Dear North Central College Students,

I hope this note finds you and your loved ones well, and that you are doing well with the resumption of coursework for the Spring Semester. I am certain we can all agree that the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been a disruption, requiring individuals and organizations, including the College, to be adaptable. The College made the necessary decision to transition to remote learning, consistent with our commitment to ensuring that you can continue to make academic progress toward completing your degree. This transition presents its own challenges and I am grateful for your patience and understanding as we all work together acclimating to the temporary remote learning model.

Recognizing the unique Spring Semester circumstances and the challenges and uncertainties that come with adapting to an unfamiliar learning model, we have made an important decision that will give you considerable flexibility in determining your grade options for ongoing spring 2020 courses. I am pleased to inform you that undergraduate students will now have the option to choose a Pass/No Pass grade rather than a letter grade for spring semester courses currently in session. The decision to extend this option was made in consultation with faculty, students, and staff. After a long, thoughtful deliberation that reflected once again our faculty’s enduring commitment to your success, the Academic Programs and Policies Committee (APPC), unanimously, and with the overwhelming support of faculty who participated in the meeting remotely, endorsed this Pass/No Pass policy. We believe that this particular Pass/No Pass policy best balances all of the competing concerns for students experiencing this unprecedented learning challenge, while also maintaining the academic rigor of our classes. 

Below are the highlights of this temporary policy change: 

  • As usual, faculty will submit letter grades at the end of semester.
  • Once the Registrar posts those grades, students will have until Friday, May 15 to notify the Office of the Registrar if they wish to convert any course from the letter grade to a Pass/No Pass grade.
  • Instructions on how to communicate these decisions to the College will be provided by the Office of the Registrar no later than April 22.
  • After the May 15 deadline, the Office of the Registrar will convert only those course grades where the student elected the Pass/No Pass option.
  • Once a course grade has been designated Pass/No Pass through the Office of the Registrar, the designation may not be reversed.
  • If a student elects Pass/No Pass grading for a course, any grade of ‘D’ or better will convert to a Pass, ‘P;’ a letter grade of ‘F’ will convert to a No Pass, ‘NP.’ All courses in which a student receives a passing letter grade (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D) or a passing grade of ‘P’ will count toward any major, minor, general education, or other degree requirement.
  • If Pass/No Pass grading is elected for a course, the course will have no effect (positive or negative) on the student’s cumulative GPA. 

Below are some exceptions to this policy:

  • Pass/No Pass grading will not be allowed for Repeat Courses. These are courses where the student is taking the course a second time to replace a previously earned grade in the same course.
  • Pass/No Pass Grading will not be allowed for Honors courses. 
  • If you are in the following courses, please be aware that grades of P will not meet the C- prerequisite for the subsequent courses noted below in parentheses. In cases where a student earns a C- or better but chooses the P option, the student must request a prerequisite waiver from the instructor (permission will be determined based on performance in the prerequisite course; permission is not guaranteed).
  • CSCE 160 (prerequisite to CSCE 210 or CSCE 220)
  • CSCE 210 (prerequisite to CSCE 306)
  • MATH 151 (prerequisite to MATH 152)
  • MATH 152 (prerequisite to MATH 253)
  • PSYC 250 (prerequisite to PSYC 255 and PSYC 360)

While Pass/No pass grading will be available to students during this extraordinary situation, in some cases students may actually benefit from continuing to receive letter grades, including students in specific professional programs or in programs with external accrediting bodies; those seeking entrance to select graduate school programs; students who need to ensure their athletic eligibility; or students trying to improve their academic standing. Students considering Pass/No Pass grading should consult with their academic advisor, pre-health advisor, or faculty in their chosen academic program for guidance in this regard.

If you have additional questions, please consult the FAQ page. You may also contact your academic advisor or the Office of the Registrar.

As we head toward the end of the semester, I encourage you to stay engaged with your classes and continue your academic progress in this temporary remote learning situation. You have the support and best wishes of all of us!