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Fall Grading Option

Updated November 12, 2020

Together with President Johnson, I write to express our gratitude to you for your dedication and hard work as you have proven time and again to be adaptable and resilient under these trying pandemic conditions. I want you to know that we recognize the tremendous stress that Covid-19 has wrought and its impact on your lives, including in teaching and learning. For most of our students and faculty, navigating the new modalities of hybrid and online courses has proven challenging beyond expectation. In fact, discussions with students, faculty, and administrators have evinced the need to provide a measure of relief. In order to alleviate some of this pressure, the University is extending a letter-grade optional policy for the fall 2020 term, with the objective of enabling students to focus on their total learning experience. Accordingly, the University is modifying its grading policy for fall 2020 to include a limited Credit/No-Credit (CR/NC) option.

Faculty will submit final letter grades for all undergraduate students at the end of the semester as usual. Upon review of their grades, students may elect to have their transcripts show “CR” or “NC” for up to three of their courses by January 8, 2021. CR may be elected for a passing grade (A-D) and NC will not adversely impact a student’s GPA. Students will earn major, minor, general university requirements, and elective credit with a CR, as well as meet prerequisite requirements. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors for help in determining which grading option is in their best interest in the short- and long-term. In order to provide future context, every student’s transcript will indicate that the fall 2020 semester was disrupted due to COVID-19.

Note that future applicants to Western New England undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools will not be disadvantaged by coursework taken under Credit/No-Credit or Pass/No Pass grading schemes offered at any school during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to making this accommodation because we believe our students should be able to focus on their learning notwithstanding these very difficult circumstances.

Fall Grades FAQ


What is happening with grading this semester?
For this fall semester only, the University will adopt an optional grading policy to include Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grades as an alternative to traditional grading. Undergraduate students may elect Credit/No Credit grading for up to three of their undergraduate courses. All graduate and professional students and courses will be subject to normal grading practices.

Faculty will record letter grades at the end of the semester as they normally do. After grades have been posted, all undergraduate students will have the option of electing Credit/No Credit grading for up to three of their Fall 2020 classes by Friday, January 8, 2021. A Credit (CR) grade will indicate that a student has successfully passed the course with grades of A through D; a No Credit (NC) will indicate that a student has not passed the course with a grade equivalent of an F. Students will earn General University Requirements, major, minor, and elective credit with a “CR” grade.

Why is limited Credit/No Credit grading being offered for Fall 2020 classes?
In the spring, the University made significant changes to grading practices in response to the public health emergency created by COVID-19 and the abrupt switch to fully remote learning. While conditions have improved significantly—and time has passed allowing students and faculty to adjust to online learning—we recognize that current trends are a growing source of concern with infections in Massachusetts having increased by 77% in just the past two weeks. We also recognize that many students are adjusting to hybrid course formats for the first time. To alleviate some stress students may experience as a result of these circumstances, the University will offer limited Credit/No Credit grading.

Why are we offering Credit/No Credit grading instead of Pass/Fail?
In Pass/Fail grading, a grade of “P” has no positive impact on GPA calculations but “F” grades have a negative effect. If a student chose Pass/Fail grading for all their courses, they could see their cumulative GPA go down for F grades but not see any positive offset for P grades. Credit/No Credit grading has no impact on GPAs and eliminates this problem. The decision to allow this flexibility is a direct acknowledgment of this unprecedented situation. We expect our remote and hybrid courses to maintain the highest quality instruction possible. We expect you to continue to seek the most from your courses. Please consult with your advisor for help in determining what is in your own best interest in the short- and long-term.

Do Credit/No Credit grades count in my cumulative or semester GPA?
See the explanation above.

If I earn CR in a course, will it count as a prerequisite for a future course?
Yes.

Will there be notation on the transcript regarding the Credit/No Credit policy for Fall 2020?

Yes, your transcript will indicate that due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the Fall 2020 semester had a limited and optional Credit/No Credit policy for undergraduate courses. 

How will Academic Standing determinations for Fall 2020 be made?
Students in Good Standing whose letter grades for Fall 2020 would have resulted in a cumulative or semester GPA below a 2.000 will be placed on Academic Warning in the Spring so they can have the safety net of oversight available through Academic Progress Monitoring. Academic Warning does not show on the transcript.

Students on Academic Warning whose letter grades for Fall 2020 would have resulted in a cumulative or semester GPA below a 2.000 will be placed on Academic Probation in the Spring so they can have the safety net of oversight available through Academic Progress Monitoring.

Students currently on Academic Probation whose letter grades for Fall 2020 would have resulted in a cumulative or semester GPA at or above a 2.000 will have their probation lifted. Those with a cumulative GPA below a 2.000 will be placed on Academic Suspension.

Will No Credit (NC) grades be considered for the purposes of probation, suspension or dismissal?
No, Fall 2020 semester CR/NC designations will not contribute toward probation, suspension or dismissal determinations. CR signifies that a student has earned academic credit by meeting the learning expectations for the course, whereas NC signifies that a student has not earned that credit.

Will Dean’s List and President’s List determinations be made for Fall 2020?
Dean’s List and President’s List will be calculated using the letter grades faculty submit for all of a student’s Fall 2020 courses.

How will Latin Honors be calculated for this year’s senior class?
Latin Honors for December graduates will be calculated using the letter grades faculty submit for all of a student’s Fall 2020 courses.

How do I elect Credit/No Credit grading?
You must submit your request by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 8, 2021. Eligible students will see a form appear in their Self-Service accounts once final grades have been posted for the semester.

Who do I contact if I have more questions about the Credit/No Credit grading policy for the Spring 2020 semester?
Please contact Enrollment Services with any questions at 413-796-2080 or records@wne.edu.