Credit Grading System Changes 2020

The College of Arts and Sciences is committed to helping students and faculty navigate the many changes we have had to make to accommodate the challenging situation we all find ourselves in. One of the biggest recent changes is the Enhanced Pass-No Credit Alternate Grading System that is now in place for the Fall 2020 semester. We know that this change will generate many questions during advising sessions and we want to provide a reference for you to consult when answering those questions.

Below are some common concerns that students and/or faculty may have while considering the use of the Pass/No Credit (P/NC) system.

Is this Alternate Grading System Mandatory?
No. This system of grading is ‘opt in’ and not required. Students who want to leave their grades in the normal A - F grading scheme will not need to do anything. Students can decide which grading option they want to use for each class. Those who wish to adopt the new scheme for some or all of their classes may do so via their Banner Self Service portal.

How will cumulative and major GPA be affected?
Any course that a student opts to change to a P/NC grade will not affect their cumulative or their major GPA either positively or negatively. Any courses for which the student chooses to stay with the normal grading scheme will impact GPA calculations as usual.

When and where can students implement this Alternate Grading System?
Beginning Monday, November 16 and going until Friday December 18 at 11:59PM, a student may go into Banner Self Service and on a course by course basis opt in to the Enhanced Pass No Credit grading policy.  This is only available for undergraduate courses.  Undergraduate students taking graduate courses as part of an Accelerated Admissions program will not be allowed to opt in to Pass No Credit for graduate level courses unless a similar policy is adopted by the Graduate School.  Students can change their choices on opting in to the system until December 18 at 11:59 PM but not after that.  

Is this an all or nothing option or can I adopt it for a single class?
The system is designed on a course by course basis. You may access your Banner Self Service and choose the courses to which you want to apply the Alternate Grading System. Consider carefully before choosing this option if you have licensure courses.

What about my grade forgiveness course?
If a student is repeating a course seeking grade forgiveness this semester, the only way to replace their original grade is to stay with the letter grade option for the course. A student may opt in to the P/NC system for the repeated course for this semester but if they do the original/initial grade will not be replaced. However, a student who opts into a grade of P will be allowed to use grade forgiveness again for this course at a future time if desired.  A student also has the option to drop any course until December 18 at 11:59PM. As was announced earlier this semester, any course that a student is taking for the initial time this semester may be repeated for grade forgiveness in a future semester and will not count as one of the students four grade forgiveness courses. As was announced earlier this semester, any course that a student is taking for the initial time this semester may be repeated for grade forgiveness in a future semester and will not count as one of the students four grade forgiveness courses.

Will professors see which students choose the Alternate Grading System?
No. Professors will not know if a student has chosen the P/NC option. They will post their grades as they usually would using the normal A - F grading system. Students will choose which grading scheme they want via Banner Self Service and that choice will not be visible to instructors. Faculty will not have the ability to see if students opted into this program until grades are final (after December 18).

How does this affect my probation status?
Unlike in the spring, the university will continue to process academic probations and suspensions by our normal policies.  Those policies can be found here.

What do the grades look like in the Alternate Grading System?
A student who chooses the alternate system will be able to see the posted grades in Banner Self Service and they will appear like this: P A, P A-, P B+, ….. P D, P D-, NC . The grades will only show as P or NC on official Appalachian transcripts.

What will my transcript look like?
If a student chooses to adopt the alternate grading format for a course, the grade will be recorded by adding a “P_“ before the grade assigned for passing grades and by changing an F to NC. Thus the possible grades in the alternate system are P A, P A-, P B+, P B, P B-, P C+, P C, P C-, P D+, P D, P D-, and NC and these will be the grades that will appear in Banner, including in Banner Self Service. All official transcripts from Appalachian State only show the first two characters of the grade so will either show P or NC. A grade of NC does not earn course credit, does count as attempted credit hours, but is not used in GPA computations.  Any student receiving an F in a course should almost certainly opt in to the P/NC system for that course. A note will be added to all academic transcripts indicating the major disruption this pandemic has caused to the academic experience.

How does this affect students needing prerequisite grades for future classes?
The Alternate Grading System does not change required prerequisite grades. In the alternate grading system, each passing grade is posted as two parts. The first part is a ‘P’ to represent passing and the second part is the letter grade assigned by the instructor. For example: ‘P C’ would show up on a transcript as a ‘P’ but the registration system will recognize the ‘C’ part of the grade as well. This allows the registration system to recognize major, minor, certificate and prerequisite requirements. The letter grade associated with the ‘P’ received will determine if the prerequisite is met or not. In other words, if you need a ‘C’ as a prerequisite, you still need a ‘C’ to meet the prerequisite requirements; a ‘P C’ grade acts the same as a ‘C’ grade, except that it won’t affect your GPA. 

How does this affect students expecting licensure?
Any program that leads to external licensure needs to pay particular attention to that licensing body’s requirements and how it is adapting to this situation. Please check with your advisor to see if there are any changes that affect you. Licensure is an important issue for most education students. The James Center for Student Success & Advisng can provide further information about specific Education requirements.    

Do these changes impact my ‘attempted hours’?
Yes. If you choose the P/NC option and receive a NC grade for a class, that class will still count as part of your attempted hours. If you receive financial aid you should contact a financial aid advisor to determine what might be the potential impacts of a NC grade on your ‘Satisfactory Academic Progress’ (SAP) ratio.  

How does this affect my internship?
Internships will still require a 2.00 GPA. Either grading system can be used by students planning to complete an internship over the summer provided it is not a class required for licensure of some kind. The cumulative GPA will only be affected by classes graded using the ‘A - F’ grading scheme.

How does this affect my plan to transfer to another institution? 
If you plan to transfer out of Appalachian to another institution, be aware of the potential implications. Many institutions only accept a grade of C or higher for transfer credit rather than Pass/NC. Check with your intended institution often to see how they will be accepting credits that have been moved to a P/NC format.

How does this affect my plans to go to graduate school?
Some graduate schools require certain grades in certain courses or may want to see an actual grade on a transcript when evaluating an applicant. Generally speaking, having a P on your transcript is not considered desirable. You should monitor the institution where you plan to complete your graduate degree to see how they will be accepting grades from this semester.

Can I change my P/NC selection once I make it? 
Yes. You can change your selection of P/NC if you want to during the selection period. This means you can switch from the A - F grading system to the P/NC grading system and then back again to A - F grading if needed during the selection period.  Students can change their choices on opting in to the system until December 18 at 11:59 PM but not after that.

Can I still choose to drop a course instead of opting into the P/NC format?
As announced earlier, a student may withdraw from any course until December 18 at 11:59PM.  This course will appear on their transcript with a W grade, they will not receive credit for the course and the course will not be used in grade point average calculations.  Any course dropped during this semester will not count as a career drop. Students should consult with their academic advisor and the Office of Financial Aid prior to dropping coursework.  

What are my options for opting into P/NC for a course listed as an incomplete?
Incomplete grades are assigned only because of sickness or some other unavoidable cause. An “I” becomes an “F” or “U” if not removed within the time designated by the instructor, not to exceed one semester, except that all incompletes must be removed at the time of graduation. An Incomplete is not given merely because assignments were not completed during the semester, nor is an incomplete given if the student never attended the class. Students are not permitted to attend a class in a future semester in which they earned a grade of “I” in order to complete the incomplete without prior approval by the Dean’s Office of the college teaching the course. In addition, students do not re-register or audit a class in which a grade of “I” was earned in order to complete the incomplete. If a student receives a grade of “I” in a class and then re-registers for or audits the class (either with the same or a different professor), the grade of “I” in the first class will default to “F” or “U”.

  •  Incompletes from Spring 2020  - If a student has an incomplete from Spring 2020, they will be allowed to switch to the P/NC Alternate Grading System for that course within five days of when their grade is assigned following the procedure in the Fall 2020 section below. They also have the option of extending the deadline to complete their work if necessary due to the unusual circumstances of this semester. A student who wishes to extend the deadline for their incomplete should contact their instructor who should submit a grade change in Appalnet with a grade of I and a new extension date.
  • Incompletes for Summer 2020 - Incompletes from Summer 2020 will not be eligible for the P/NC Alternate Grading System as it was not available during the summer term.  Students will however have the option of extending the deadline to complete their work if necessary due to the unusual circumstances of this semester. A student who wishes to extend the deadline for their incomplete should contact their instructor who should submit a grade change in Appalnet with a grade of I and a new extension date.
  • Incompletes for Fall 2020 -  Obviously, this semester contained an “unavoidable cause” that may have kept students from completing their coursework. We encourage faculty to work with students to try to get their work completed this semester as much as possible but certainly it is possible that some may need to be assigned an “I” grade. These students will still have the option of switching to the P/NC Alternate Grading System for this course either before the December 18 deadline, or within five days after their letter grade is assigned.To allow for this processing, all incompletes need to be completed and grades submitted by faculty by May 3, 2021. This is seven days before final grades are due and is necessary to allow processing by the Registrar’s Office. No late exceptions will be given. 

    If a student opts into the P/NC Alternate Grading System on the Appalnet page before the December 18 deadline then the grade will automatically be converted to the P/NC system when it is submitted by the faculty member. If the work is not completed, the “I” will roll to an “NC”. Faculty will still submit the letter grade with the Grade Change form in Appalnet.

    If a student wishes to wait until after they receive their letter grade to decide whether or not to opt in to the P/NC system, they can make that decision known by emailing registrar@appstate.edu asking for the switch within five days of the time the letter grade is submitted. Faculty will record the grade that the student earns after completing the incomplete with the Grade Change form in Appalnet just as they normally do for an incomplete.

How will this affect the awarding of the Dean's and Chancellor's list?
Dean’s or Chancellor’s list will be awarded to any undergraduate student who carries 12 semester hours or more of coursework on which grade points are computed and who meets the grade point average threshold for each list. Only those courses earning credit toward graduation will be used in determining eligibility for honors. This is not a change from our normal policy but is a change from Spring 2020.