For the spring 2020 semester, Penn State implemented the optional alternative grading system due to the need to transition students to remote learning mid-semester, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This Spring 2020 Grades section provides details of the alternative grading system, including the spring 2020 grade reporting process, key dates, alternative grade descriptions, frequently asked questions, and more.
Please note that the information contained in this Spring 2020 Grades section was only effective for the spring 2020 semester. Grading information for all other semesters can be found in the Grades section of the Office of the University Registrar website.
In response to the academic challenges presented by the novel coronavirus, Penn State's faculty and administration have developed a plan to adjust grading for the spring 2020 semester for undergraduate students. The plan, which includes a new opt-in alternative grading system, reflects that many students, through no fault of their own, will not be able to achieve the grades they likely would have achieved without this disruption to on-campus learning.
The alternative grading system is available to all undergraduate students taking spring 2020 courses, including World Campus students and those students who have returned from study abroad programs and are completing their studies via remote learning technology. Graduate students should view the alternative grading standards established by The Graduate School, which differ from the undergraduate standards.
Some students may wish to consider keeping their letter grades for future applications to graduate, law or medical school, or for professional licensing reasons. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with an academic adviser to discuss these or other concerns when electing to request an alternative grade.
For the spring 2020 semester, faculty will be given an additional week to enter letter grades at the conclusion of the semester. Once grades are entered, students who are pleased with their performance will be able to keep their letter grades. Students who would like one or more of their grades replaced with a grade from the alternate system will then have approximately one week to consult with their academic adviser to request to opt into the alternate grading system for each course individually.
The alternative grading scale is an optional grading system that undergraduate students may choose to utilize to replace one or more letter grades with an alternative grade that will not be included in their GPA calculation. There is no limit on the number of courses for which a student can request an alternative grade.
Under the new system, undergraduate students can choose to keep their current grade, or to have courses graded with one of three alternate grades:
Read the step-by-step instructions on how to use the Alternative Grade Calculator and Request Tool to both investigate the GPA effect of alternative grading choices and to submit alternative grade selections for Spring 2020. This tool will be available to students in LionPATH from May 20 to May 29 at 11:59 PM EDT.View Alternative Grade Calculator and Request Tool Instructions
Read the step-by-step instructions on how to use the LionPATH GPA Calculator to estimate the effect of alternative grading choices for Spring 2020.View GPA Calculator Instructions
Review a listing of frequently asked questions about the alternative grading system implemented for the spring 2020 semester. The information on this page only pertains to and was effective for the spring 2020 semester.View Frequently Asked Questions
For the latest coronovirus-related updates to the Penn State community, visit the Penn State Coronavirus Information website. This includes an extensive section answering the most frequently asked questions from students, faculty, and staff, as well as a description of University measures currently in place and a comprehensive list of resources.View Penn State Coronavirus Information Website