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Spring 2020 Grades

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.

Grade Reporting Process

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.

Key Dates and Deadlines

  • May 1: Classes End
  • May 4 - 8: Final Exams
  • May 19: Final Grade Reporting Deadline for Faculty to Enter Grades
  • May 20 - 29: Student Selection of Alternative Grades
  • June 5: Final Grade Reporting Process Completed
  • June 12: Degree Conferral Completed
  • June 15 - 16: Diplomas Ordered

Alternative Grading System

The Spring 2020 alternative grading scale is an optional grading system that 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:

SAT
(Satisfactory)

  • Available if a student earns a C or better in a course
  • Does not impact GPA
  • Can be used to meet all requirements, including entrance to major and prerequisites requiring a C or better
  • Counts toward total credits earned, semester standing, and the opportunity to purchase football tickets
  • Does not count toward the entrance-to-major requirement credit window in administratively controlled majors

V
(Pass)

  • Available if a student earns a D in a course
  • Considered a passing grade
  • Does not impact GPA
  • Can be used to meet requirements for which D is an acceptable grade
  • Cannot be used to meet C or better requirements
  • Counts toward total credits earned, semester standing, the opportunity to purchase football tickets
  • Does not count toward the entrance-to-major requirement credit window in administratively controlled majors

Z
(No Grade)

  • Available if a student earns an F in a course
  • Can be used to replace an F grade and will be treated similar to if the student had late-dropped the class
  • Does not impact GPA
  • Does not count toward total credits earned, the entrance-to-major requirement credit window, semester standing, or the opportunity to purchase football tickets

Resources for Students

Alternative Grade Calculator and Request Tool

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

GPA Calculator 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

Remote Learning

Follow the Penn State Remote Learning website for the latest information on remote learning at Penn State. There you will find answers to frequently asked questions about remote learning and alternative grading as well as points of contact at Penn State campuses and colleges for questions about learning remotely.

View Remote Learning Website

Penn State Coronavirus Updates

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