COVID-19 Grading Policy Guidance

Grading Policy Modification for Spring Semester 2020 in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic April 2, 2020

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • Provide flexibility for students to mitigate impacts of COVID-19 on their learning experience in Spring Semester 2020
  • Sustain integrity of the learning process by encouraging students to complete their attempted courses
  • Guide students to make informed choices that protect their interests, including scholarships, graduation, GPA, progress toward degree, ability to gain professional certification, and ability to be accepted into graduate degree programs
  • Apply only to graded courses attempted in Spring Semester 2020  

GRADING SCALE SPECIFICS

Students can choose their options from options I-V below for each individual course. 

  1. Letter grades: Undergraduate students (A, B, C, D, F)
  2. Convert letter grade to Pass (SCP): Undergraduate (available for grades A, B, C)
    1. Results in course credit but has no impact on the GPA
    2. Normally accepted for transfer credit by other institutions
  3. Convert letter grade to Special Pass (SCD): Undergraduate (available for grade of D)
    1. Academic Forgiveness cannot be used for this course moving forward.
    2. Course credit earned, no impact on GPA.
    3. Normally not accepted for transfer credit by other institutions.
  4. Convert letter grade to No Grade (SCN): Undergraduate (available for grades D, F)
    1. Results in no course credit, no impact on the GPA
    2. Not eligible for undergraduate academic forgiveness moving forward.
    3. Basically, treated as if a student withdrew from the course in terms of no credit/no impact on GPA.
  5. If a course was being retaken and had already been academically forgiven (student previously filed paperwork for academic forgiveness and are retaking the course this term):
    1. If SCN is chosen, this gives student no credit for a course and must retake course again.
    2. If SCD is chosen, this gives student credit for course but not GPA.

Special Grade Policy Decision Matrix for Students (PDF)

How this grading policy relates to exempted finals

  1. For students offered an exemption from a final exam or project and the student accepts this offer, the official final grade will be the one given to the student on April 24; The above grading policy will apply thereafter.
  2. For students who take a final exam, the final grade that includes the final exam score will be the official final grade; The above policy will apply thereafter. 

TIMELINE FOR POLICY IMPLEMENTATION

  1. For All Students:
    1. April 17: Last day to withdraw without a final grade
    2. April 24: Instructors deliver grade to date for students, if opting to use the special COVID-19 final exam exemption policy; students confirm acceptance of final exam exemption with standing grade in writing (by email or Canvas) before the final exam period begins; instructors grant exemptions in writing (by email or in Canvas)
    3. April 27 – May 1: Final exams 
  2. For Candidates for Graduation:
    1. May 4: Deadline for instructors to submit grades for all candidates for graduation
    2. May 4 – 8: Candidates confer with academic and financial aid advisors to determine their choice of grading, based on the above policy
    3. May 8 by Noon: Deadline for candidates to submit their choice of grading to student workflow
    4. May 11 – 14: Registrar’s Office implements candidate grade choices to transcripts
    5. May 15: Degrees conferred (may need a later date here) 
  3. For Non-Candidates for Graduation:
    1. May 6: Deadline for instructors to submit grades for all non-candidates for graduation
    2. May 11 – 15: Non-candidates confer with academic and financial aid advisors
    3. May 15 by Noon: Deadline for Non-candidates to submit their choice of grading to student workflow
    4. May 15 – 22: Registrar’s Office implements non-candidate grade choices to transcripts

NOTES

  1. A grade of SCP in lieu of a letter grade will not be the best option for some students, depending on their academic program requirements, scholarships and financial aid.
  2. For any requirements, including prerequisites, academic programs are required to accept a grade of SCP) grades earned in Spring 2020 courses
  3. A Special Pass (SCD) earned in Spring 2020 may be accepted for meeting program requirements, including prerequisites at the department/program’s discretion
  4. A grade of Incomplete (I) may be used by some instructors for situations in which the student needs to complete only a small amount of work for the course to complete it. The grade of I is outlined in the current academic regulations.

REQUIRED ADVISING PROCEDURES

  1. Students are encouraged to consult with an academic and financial advisor to review the student’s final grade entered by the instructor of record within the timeline outlined above.
  2. Students will be provided advice on potential impacts of chosen grade on:
    1. Financial aid and costs
    2. Progress toward degree
    3. Academic eligibility
    4. Professional Certification
    5. GPA
    6. Impact on post-graduate studies
  3. Student initiates an online workflow to record the final grade and should begin that process only after reviewing all information provided on the COVID 19 student page as well as consultation with an advisor. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For All Students

  • How will grade change decisions impact cumulative and Spring 2020 GPA?

    We developed a GPA Calculator to assist students and advisors with understanding the impact of changing to one of the Special Circumstance grades (SCP, SCD, SCN) on their GPA. Please access the new GPA calculator here.

  • How will grade change impact scholarships and financial aid?

    Students are strongly encouraged to connect with the Office of Financial Aid prior to finalizing any grade change decisions. Students may email finaid@clemson.edu or scholarships@clemson.edu for more information as well as review information at the following links:

    1. Office of Financial Aid FAQ
    2. Grants
    3. Scholarships
    4. LIFE Scholarship GPA worksheet (PDF)
    5. Loans
    6. Student Employment
    7. COVID 19 Scholarship and Financial Aid FAQ
  • Can a student make decisions on a course by course basis?

    Yes. Students will make decisions for each Spring 2020 course.

     

  •  Will I need to submit an online workflow for each course I wish to change to pass (SCP), special pass (SCD) or no grade (SCN)?

    Yes. Students will need to submit a form for each individual course for which they wish to change their letter grade to a special consideration grade.    

     

  • Will a grade of SCP and/or SCD in a prerequisite course be accepted as fulfilling the grade requirement to enroll in the next course? 

    Academic programs are required to accept a grade of SCP as meeting course progression requirements for courses requiring a grade of C or better. A grade of SCD may be accepted at the department/program’s discretion. iROAR may not accept grades of SCP or SCD as fulfilling prerequisites for courses during registration. Students may need to contact a registration coordinator for assistance.

     

  • Are students allowed to take a grade of I (Incomplete)?

    IV.  A grade of Incomplete (I) may be used by some instructors for situations in which the student needs to complete only a small amount of work for the course to complete it. The grade of I is outlined in the current academic regulations. Incomplete grades count as an F in the student’s GPA until resolved. Once resolved, the instructor needs to complete a grade correction form as outlined on the Grades Correction portion of the Grades page within the Registrars website.

     

  • Should students take summer courses?

    Enrolling in summer courses provides students with the opportunity to earn additional credit hours and/or improve their GPA if needed. As a reminder, courses completed at Clemson will impact both GPA and credit hours whereas students will be awarded only the credits for courses they complete at another institution with a grade of C or better.

     

  • How will grade change decisions impact Dean’s and President’s List designations?

    To be considered for Dean’s or President’s List distinctions, a student must meet GPA requirements (4.0 for the President’s List and 3.5 – 3.99 for the Dean’s list) and earn 12 credit hours of letter grades in an academic term pass/fail grades do not count). Students earning fewer than 12 credit hours with a letter grade will NOT be eligible to earn one of these designations per the current policy.

     

  • How will grade choice decisions impact a student’s academic standing?

    Choosing a grade of SCP, SCD, or SCN instead of a letter grade can positively or adversely impact a student’s academic standing (i.e. academic probation, suspension, dismissal, and permanent dismissal). Link to grade policy

    Contact: UGSeligibility@clemson.edu 

     

  • How will grade change decisions impact change of academic program requirements?

    Minimum GPAs and credit hour requirements for change of academic program will be enforced at the department’s discretion. If a minimum GPA is required for changing majors (i.e. 2.0 GPA to change to Pre-Business), if a student is below that mark and takes P/NG/SP or a combination of G/SCP/SCD/SCN that keeps them below that GPA mark, they would be unable to change their major.  Any known exceptions to this policy are outlined below:

    1. Communication (COMM) and Sports Communication (SPOC):
      1. Students seeking to change their academic program to COMM or SPOC must earn a letter grade in COMM 2010 in Spring 2020. The department will not accept a grade of SCP, SCD, or SCN for this course.
      2. Students minoring in COMM or SPOC must earn grade of A, B, C, or SCP. This will allow them to meet the upper-level course prerequisite, which is COMM 2010 with a grade of C or better.
      3. For the GPA, the department will l plan to consider the GPA as is at the time of the student’s application to COMM or SPOC.
    2. Construction Science Management
      1. Will use the GPA on the student’s transcript in their change of academic program decisions, regardless of whether or not students opt to utilize grades of SCP, SCD, or SCN. No special requirements for prerequisite courses.
    3. Architecture
      1. Will use the GPA on the student’s transcript in their change of academic program decisions, regardless of whether or not students opt to utilize grades of SCP, SCD, or SCN. No special requirements for prerequisite courses.
    4. Packaging Science:
      1. A student must have a grade of B or better in PKSC 1020 in order to change their academic program to Packaging Science. Students will not have the option to choose a grade of SCP or SCD in PKSC 1020 if they plan to apply for a change of undergraduate program to this major.
      2. A student who already has a 2.7 GPA in the eligible science classes can choose a grade of SCP for a science course they are taking in Spring 2020 and still qualify to change their academic program to Packaging Science.
    5. Health Science:
      1. Students wishing to change their academic program to Health Science have always been evaluated on their science and math grades specifically. Final grades of D or F have negatively impacted chances for successful acceptance; likewise, conversion to a grade of SCD or SCN will negatively impact a student’s chances for acceptance. 
      2. Students are encouraged to take the letter grade instead of a grade of SCP especially if it is a required math or science course for Health Science and/or professional school.  For students who choose to take the grade of SCP, should it become a factor in the change of academic program application process, they may be asked to provide their original letter grade.
  • Will minimum GPA and credit hour requirements for degree progression be enforced?

    All minimum GPAs and credit hour progression requirements will be enforced at the department’s discretion. Students should consult with their academic department for clarification.

     

  • How will grade choice decisions impact a student’s VA benefits?

    Students’ VA benefits will not be impacted by whether they choose a letter grade or a grade of SCP, SCD or SCN so long as the courses still fulfill degree requirements.  Read more about that here: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/03/26/no-taking-pass-fail-courses-wont-affect-your-gi-bill-benefits.html  Additionally, the Veterans Administration (VA) passed a ruling allowing VA Benefit users whose programs switched to online from in-person due to COVID-19 to continue receiving full BAH (housing stipend) until Dec 2020. Normally fully online students receive just over half the residential BAH amount.  Read more on that here: https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5403  Students with specific questions or concerns should send an email to vabenefits@clemson.edu.

     

  • What are the grade choice decision implications for law school admissions?

    Law schools are fully aware of and understand that many undergraduate schools are going to some version of a pass/fail grading system for Spring 2020. In fact, many law schools are making the same decision for their current students. Law schools will be understanding of the situation and will not penalize any applicant for having Pass/Fail grades. Law School Admission Council (LSAC) will place a letter in the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report of every applicant enrolled during the Spring 2020 term to remind law schools, going forward, that the 2020 term was one in which many colleges and universities changed their grading system in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact: Tim Garrison, Pre-law advisor, tagarri@clemson.edu

     

  • What are the grade choice decision implications for health professional school admissions?

    Health professional schools are fully aware of and understand that many colleges and universities are going to some version of a pass/fail grading system for Spring 2020. Please see Clemson’s Health Professions website for more details. Contact the Health Professions office via email at: cuhpa@clemson.edu. Link to medical schools accepting pass/fail (or similar) grades.

     

  • What are the grade choice decision implications for student athletes?

    Due to NCAA Continuing Eligibility rules, prior to changing any earned letter grades to grades of SCP, SCD, or SCN, students should consult with their assigned Athletic Academic Coordinator in the Nieri Center. The Coordinator will review what, if any, implications the change could have on a student athlete’s NCAA academic eligibility status. Student-athletes will then be following the university procedure for processing any grade changes with their assigned academic advisor. Contact: Leslie Moreland-Bishop, lmorel@clemson.edu

     

  • What are the grade change implications for students in the Calhoun Honors College?

    The following policy changes are in effect for Spring 2020 honors courses: students will receive honors credit by earning a grade of A, B, C, or SCP in honors courses. (Normally, to earn honors credit in an honors course, a student must earn a grade of A or a B. For spring 2020 courses only, grades of C or SCP will also be accepted.) This policy cannot be applied to courses completed before Spring 2020. Beginning with the Summer 2020 term, the College will resume the regular policy that requires a student to earn an A or B in an honors class in order to receive honors credit.

     

For Candidates for Graduation

  • Will minimum GPA requirements for graduation be enforced?

    Yes. Minimum GPAs requirements for graduation will be enforced. A 2.0 cumulative GPA is required for graduation for all degree programs.  Depending on the academic program, other specific requirements beyond the 2.0 minimum cumulative GPA may also be in effect. If a student chooses a grade of SCP, SCD, or SCN for all of their courses or a combination of letter and SCP, SCD, SCN grades and does not have a 2.0 cumulative GPA, the student will not be eligible to graduate.

     

  • Will course and minimum credit hour requirements for graduation be enforced?

    Yes. Minimum course and credit hour requirements for graduation will be enforced. Course and credit hour requirements are established by the department. If a student chooses a grade of SCN or a combination of letter and SCP, SCD, SCN grades and does not meet course requirements and/or have enough credit hours, the student will not be eligible to graduate.

     

  • Will minimum GPA requirements for graduation with honors be enforced?

    Yes.  GPA requirements for graduation with honors will be enforced. If a student is below the required GPA mark for the following distinctions and takes SCP/SCD/SCN or a combination of G/SCP/SCD/SCN that keeps them below that GPA mark, they would not graduate with these distinctions.

     

NOTE: College/departmental restrictions and considerations may also apply. Connect with your academic advisor for these specific questions/concerns.