Page last updated: May 7, 2020
Many programs and institutions are considering temporarily changing grading policies to allow for a “pass/fail” option instead of a letter grade. Grading policies and practices are at the discretion of the program and its university. For example, traditionally, earning a “P” for a course does not produce grade points and students may still earn credit for a course with a passing grade, but it will not affect one’s GPA. However, a grade of “F” is a failing grade and will affect one’s GPA. The CAA does not have any guidelines on grading practices and does not require a specific grading system to be used. Programs are encouraged to consult their institutional grading policies and satisfactory academic progress standards, if applicable, when making these determinations for temporary or permanent implementation.
If temporarily changing grading policies, such as moving to “pass/fail” rating, the program needs to consider how remediation may be identified and addressed if tied to letter grades. At a minimum, the CAA expects programs to have clear communications to students and faculty about grading or remediation processes so that all are duly advised and the new processes can be consistently applied.
GPA and Admissions
Additionally, graduate programs are encouraged to review their admissions policies if an undergraduate GPA (overall or major) is a factor for admission. Many undergraduate programs have modified grading policies to allow for P/F or other nonletter grading practices. Like grading policies, program admissions policies are at the discretion of the program and its university. The CAA expects that programs have admissions policies that meet or exceed the institutional policy for admission to graduate study, and provide clear, consistent communications to students about their admissions requirements.