Credit / No Credit Grading Option Undergraduate Winter 2020 only

Credit / No Credit Grading for Undergraduates, Winter and Spring 2020

Also available as a PDF here.

Both students and faculty are operating in a dramatically changed environment. Most of us are teaching and learning in different ways. Because of the significance of this great shift, and in recognition of the challenges we face with the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation, the Undergraduate Faculty have approved a new Credit / No Credit grading option.

Courses graded with a "Credit" grade counts toward all degree requirements, including all undergraduate major, minor, and Foundation and Distribution requirements.

Students will be able to decide which of their Winter 2020 courses will be graded by the usual letter grades (A, B, C, etc.) and which will be graded using this new option. To be clear, you do not need to do anything at this time. For now, faculty will continue to assess student performance in a course and report a final letter grade as usual. The option described below will kick in after you have had a chance to see your winter-term grades.

All grades for the Undergraduate Spring Term 2020 will be assigned only as "Credit" or "No Credit", none of which will have any effect on the cumulative grade-point average (GPA).

The detailed FAQ below should answer most of your questions about the winter-term grading option. If you have other questions, please contact University Registrar Scott Dittman at sdittman@wlu.edu.

Undergraduate Credit / No Credit Grading Election for Winter 2020 grades

1. Who is eligible to elect to convert assigned grades to a Credit/No Credit basis once grades are submitted by instructors?

Students who have been enrolled in undergraduate courses for the Winter 2020 term.

2. Must a student's decision to convert assigned letter grades to a Credit/No Credit basis apply to either all or none of the student's classes for Winter 2020?

No. You may decide for each course, individually, whether to convert the assigned Winter 2020 letter grade to a Credit/No Credit basis.

3. What grades will qualify for a "Credit" on a Credit/No Credit basis?

Assigned letter grades of D-minus or better will all be eligible for conversion to a "Credit" on a Credit/No Credit basis. Grades of Pass awarded for a Pass/Fail course or student declaration will be converted automatically to "Credit". (Grades of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, which also have no effect on the GPA, will not be converted to CR/NC.)

4. What grades will qualify for a "No Credit" on a Credit/No Credit basis?

Assigned grades of E or F will be eligible for conversion to a "No Credit" on a Credit/No Credit basis. Grades of F awarded for a Pass/Fail course or student declaration will be converted automatically to "No Credit".

5. Are there any universal requirements for a student to earn the minimum D- grade that will be eligible to be converted to a "Credit"?

The faculty of each course determines what is necessary to receive a grade for the course, including such aspects as engagement in course activities, completion of course assignments, quizzes, tests, projects, and other assignments required by the instructor. W&L faculty have established no campus-wide grading scale to determine grade equivalencies.

6. Will this Credit/No Credit conversion opportunity impact the grades that instructors submit at the end of the term or the process of how they submit grades?

No. At the end of the Winter 2020 term, instructors will submit course grades based upon the grading scale in their syllabi as they would do at the end of any other term.

7. If a student chooses to convert an assigned Winter 2020 letter grade to a Credit/No Credit basis, will the assigned grade continue to appear on the student's transcript?

No. Once you elect to convert an assigned grade to a Credit/No Credit basis, the assigned letter grade will no longer appear on your transcript, having been replaced by CR or NC. Please be patient in expecting to see the change reflected in Self-Service (allow one working day). The one-time decision must be made by the morning of Mon., May 25.

8. What will be the impact on a student's GPA by choosing to convert an assigned grade to a Credit/No Credit basis?

The Credit/No Credit grade, whether "Credit" or "No Credit," will not be calculated in the student's GPA.

9. What will be the impact of converting a grade of D-minus or better or Pass to a "Credit" on a Credit/No Credit basis?

The earned credit will be retained, and the assigned grade will not be factored into the calculation of the GPA.

10. What will be the impact of converting an F grade to a "No Credit" on a Credit/No Credit basis?

No credit is earned, and the assigned grade will not be factored into the calculation of the GPA.

11. Once a student decides to convert an assigned grade to the Credit/No Credit grading basis, will there be further opportunity to reverse that decision?

No. Once you elect to convert an assigned grade to a Credit/No Credit basis, it will be irrevocable with no appeal.

12. What resources will be available to help a student decide whether to convert their assigned grade to a Credit/No Credit basis?

If you are concerned about the effect a change will have on your GPA, use the GPA calculator spreadsheet at https://go.wlu.edu/gpa-calculator.

You should consult an academic adviser, dean's office, financial aid officer, or any other campus resource with whom you regularly work on decisions related to registration, add/drop, or repeating a course. If you are seeking professional licensure, you should also check with licensing organizations (CPA, teacher education). You are responsible for completing your own due diligence to be fully aware of the implications of your decision to convert an assigned grade to Credit/No Credit.

Taking this step will be especially significant as you consider the impact of converting a course (or courses) to Credit/No Credit and the impact of that election on scholarships, other forms of financial aid, veterans' benefits, licensure, graduate or professional school admission (including grade conversions), and/or other professional GPAs. Remember, the election will be a one-time process for each course, and will be irrevocable with no appeal.

13. If a student elects to convert an assigned grade of D-minus or better to a "Credit," will that "Credit" be eligible to meet the prerequisites for subsequent courses?

Generally, yes, but with some exceptions. Courses graded with "Credit" will be eligible to satisfy most subsequent prerequisites, though certain courses have a specific grade prerequisite. (See for example courses in Arabic; Biology courses at St. Andrews; Organic Chemistry; and certain courses in Engineering and Mathematics). However, if you have any question or doubt about your preparedness for a subsequent course, you should seek advice from your academic adviser and/or the department offering the course before making your decision.

14. How will a Credit/No Credit grade impact a student who is repeating a course in Winter 2020?

Assuming that the repeated course is otherwise eligible, the previous earned grade should have already been excluded from cumulative GPA calculation. The new grade of "Credit" or "No Credit" will be the new grade of record and will have no new effect on the GPA.

15. What process will be utilized for students to elect to convert an assigned grade to a Credit/No Credit basis?

As of April 30, we are in the final stages of testing an online process which will show the current Winter 2020 grades with an option to change each one individuall. Certain grades (Incomplete, Work-in-Progress, Satisfactory) are not eligible to be selected. We are still planning to communicate the details to students and faculty by Monday, May 4 and for the window to be open for almost three weeks.

16. During what period of time may students elect to convert assigned winter-term grades to a Credit/No Credit basis?

You may submit your election to convert your winter grade(s) from May 6, 2020 at 5:00 pm US Eastern Time until (before) Monday, May 25, 2020 at 12:00 noon Eastern Time. The format and manner of the declaration will be announced widely as soon as it has been determined. Once you submit the election to convert an assigned grade to a Credit/No Credit basis, it will be irrevocable with no appeal.

17. Will students who are assigned an "Incomplete" grade at the end of Winter 2020 be eligible to later choose to convert their assigned grade to a Credit/No Credit basis?

It depends on when the election is made. If an "Incomplete" from Winter 2020 is changed to an assigned grade by the regular deadline of three weeks into the Spring Term (Tuesday, May 19), you still have time before the deadline to make an election for Credit/No Credit. If the election cannot be made before the deadline of 12 noon Eastern Time, Monday, May 25, then the Winter Term grade of record will be the grade assigned.

18. How might a student's financial aid be impacted by electing to convert an assigned grade to the Credit/No Credit grading basis that results in a "No Credit"?

The Financial Aid Office has determined that "No Credit" grades will correctly count as attempted (but not completed) credits and, as such, will have no effect by themselves on either determination of satisfactory academic progress or Title IV aid eligibility.

19. How might a student's VA education benefit be impacted by electing to convert an assigned grade to the Credit/No Credit grading basis that results in a "No Credit"?

A "No Credit" on a Credit/No Credit basis will have an impact on VA education benefits; those implications vary by benefit chapter. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss your particular situation.

20. If a student elects to convert an assigned grade of D- or better to a "Credit," will that "Credit" be eligible for completion of degree requirements and Degree Progress (probation, Automatic Rule) standards?

Yes. This is an exception to normal standards and will only apply to Credit/No Credit grades for Winter 2020.

21. How will a student's decision to convert an assigned grade to a Credit/No Credit basis impact academic actions (i.e., academic probation, suspension, and dismissal)?

If you elect a Credit/No Credit basis for one or more grades, your GPA will not change as a result of those grades. Academic actions at the end of the Winter 2020 term have been postponed until after the end of the Spring 2020 term. Your academic record at that time will be considered by the usual standards for Degree Progress, including academic probation or suspension, though it is expected that "Credit" and "No Credit" grades will have no effect on those decisions.

22. How will a student's decision to convert an assigned grade to a Credit/No Credit basis impact the determination of qualifications for President's List recognition for the 2019-2020 academic year?

Grades of "Credit" awarded by W&L faculty will count as graded credits. Grades of "No Credit" would disqualify you from consideration, just like any grade below C. Since the President's List is determined through a combination of W&L GPA credits for just this academic year and the number of people in each class year who qualify for consideration, the effect for each student will be different and unpredictable.

23. How will a student's decision to convert an assigned grade to a Credit/No Credit basis impact the student's opportunity to be recognized with Latin honors at graduation?

Latin honors are determined by percentages of the class in a ranking by cumulative GPA. We expect that many low grades will be removed from the calculation of the cumulative GPA, resulting in higher GPAs and higher cutoffs for the various Latin honors. The effect for each student will be different and unpredictable.

24. Will Credit/No Credit grades count toward institutional limits on Pass/Fail or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grades during a student's academic career?

No. Credit/No Credit grades will not count toward these standard grade limits.

25. Should a student considering applying to law school, medical school, or another similar graduate or professional program elect to convert an assigned grade to a Credit/No Credit basis?

If you are thinking about graduate or professional school, before making your Credit/No Credit decision, you should consult carefully with your adviser(s), department(s) or professional-school resources like the Health Professions Coordinator (Prof. Lisa Alty, altyl@wlu.edu) or the Pre-Law Advising Coordinator (Ms. Lorri Olán, olanl@wlu.edu). Some graduate and professional admissions processes will have specific requirements for prerequisite courses to be graded (e.g. CHEM 110, MATH 101) or will convert your grades to a standard system.

26. If, at some point in the future, a student needs to know what was their originally assigned letter grade for a Winter 2020 course that had been converted to "Credit", how will that be available?

The University Registrar's Office will collect and keep permanently the original faculty submissions for all Winter 2020 grades. If someone in the future requires that information, submit a written request and we will be able to certify the original grade in an official letter.

27. Will the Credit/No Credit options for Winter 2020 become permanent options for future terms?

No. These Credit/No Credit election options and exceptions will only apply for Winter 2020.

28. Will a student who elects to convert their assigned grade to a "Credit" be eligible to repeat that course in the future under the Repeating a Course policy?

Yes, but not on a Credit/No Credit basis nor are you guaranteed to have the opportunity to repeat a course. If you are eligible to repeat, as determined by department policy or university policy, and can register for the course, the repeat will be treated according to the Repeating a Course policy. Be advised that many departments will not allow a student who is repeating to register for the course until after all other students attempting the course for a first time have been accommodated.

29. Will a student who elects to convert their assigned grade to a "No Credit" on a Credit/No Credit basis have used one of their attempts under the Repeating a Course policy?

Yes. Regardless of the Credit/No Credit election opportunity, any course attempt that leads to a final grade (e.g., A, B, F, Pass, Credit, No Credit) counts toward the limitations of the Repeating a Course policy.

Scott Dittman, University Registrar
March 31, 2020