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301.17 - Course Grading Policy for Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021

University Group Policy #301.17

I.    Executive Summary

To control the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the Spring of 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021, the university moved many face-to-face courses to online instruction. This environment was new to some faculty and students and the transition may have disrupted the flow of some courses, students’ ability to access and engage the material, and faculty’s comfort with teaching and assessment strategies.

II.  Policy Statement

For Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 academic terms, the university will allow students to retain the letter grade recorded by each instructor for each course or they may elect to receive a Credit Option (CO) grade for any course or all courses. Faculty will assign letter grades using the current scale of A – F. After viewing their posted grades, students will be able to select to convert any course grade (B+ to F) to the CO grading system.

The Credit Option grading system for students will be as follows:

  • PCR Designation: Satisfactory. Replaces grades of B+ to C- in the regular grading system. Credit is granted for this course, and it will fulfill university and major requirements even in cases where a grade of “P” (passing) does not.
  • DCR Designation: Credit Given but Not Satisfactory for Certain Requirements. Credit is granted for this course while noting that the student’s work would have earned them a “D” letter grade had that option been chosen. DCR grades will apply to departmental requirements in the same way that “D” grades apply in the A – F grading system. Students should refer to the University Catalog to determine whether courses earning “D” grades will count for prerequisites—e.g., to move from or count toward a specific major requirement.
  • NCR Designation: No Credit or Not Satisfactory. Replaces an “F” in the regular grading system. No credit is granted for this course.
Under the CO grading system:
  • Faculty will continue to assess student performance in courses and report final letter grades as usual. Students will be able to see these final grades in Banner. Faculty will not be able to identify students who have selected the new CO grading system until after they have submitted their final grades.
  • Non-graduating students will be able to request to have grades converted to the new CO system beginning as soon as grades are recorded for the terms under the policy and continuing until September 4th, 2020 for spring 2020 courses, December 21st, 2021 for fall 2020 courses, and June 4th, 2021 for spring 2021 courses.
  • Graduating students will have one week (five business days) once their grades post to request a conversion of a course or courses to the CO system. Once the degree has been conferred, students may not request changes.
  • Students granted an incomplete (I) for spring 2020, fall 2020, or spring 2021 courses will have until two weeks after the faculty member changes the grade to a letter grade to request a change of the grade to the CO option. Students who do not complete the requirements for the course within the one year allotted for incomplete grades to be addressed cannot request for the grade to be converted to the CO option.
  • In cases where students request the new CO course grading system, the registrar will convert the reported (B+ to F) grades to the CO grading system. When students choose to have grades converted to the CO system, the initial letter grade will no longer be visible, however, it will be retained in history and accessible to the Office of the Registrar.
  • Once a student has opted into a CO grade and the deadline for the decision has passed for the term in question, a student may not request to reverse the CO grade back to the original letter grade.
  • Students’ degree audits and transcripts will show either PCR (Credit for Satisfactory Performance), DCR (Credit but Not Satisfactory Performance for Certain Requirements), or NCR (No Credit Earned) for the relevant courses. A note on the transcript* will explain the CO system and why it was used in Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021.
  • There will not be a limit on the number of courses that a student may convert to the CO grading system.
  • Grades of PCR, DCR, and NCR will not be computed in a student’s GPA. Students should work with their advisors to make decisions about converting letter grades to credit grades and consider the impact on admission to some majors and graduate schools.

The decision to request CO grades will not be used to impose financial aid sanctions as courses with CO grades will be treated essentially as transfer credit whereby the student gets credit for courses but not grades as long as they earn credit for the course (no NCR) courses. NCR graded courses will count as attempted hours but not completed hours and will not count toward GPA.

III.     Applicability

This policy applies to all students for grades earned in the Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 semesters. This policy supersedes department and college/school grading policies except as specifically noted in the policy.

*Transcript Note: To control the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the aforementioned terms, the university transitioned many face-to-face courses to online and allowed students to choose between a standard letter grade (A-F) or a Credit Option (CO) grading system. Credit Option grades are not used in the computation of the term or cumulative GPA. 

Credit Option Grades:

  • PCR Designation: Satisfactory and Credit Given (Replaces B+ to C- letter grades).
  • DCR Designation: Not Satisfactory for Certain Program Requirements but Credit Given (Replaces D to D- letter grades).
  • NCR Designation: Not Satisfactory and No Credit Given (replaces F letter grades).

Responsible Division: Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Authority: Chancellor


  • Approved April 9, 2020
  • Amended with Name Change November 24, 2020