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Concordia pass/fail information

April 13, 2020

More detailed information about the pass/fail grading policy exception that is meant to address the unique circumstances in which we all find ourselves during Spring 2020 semester.

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Good afternoon, CUWAA undergraduate students:

I pray that your Easter break has been blessed and peaceful. We look forward to having you back in your virtual classes as they begin again after 4pm this afternoon. Please excuse the long-ish email, as I share information about the pass/fail option.

As I mentioned in an email this past Friday, I am sending you more detailed information about the pass/fail policy that Concordia’s plenary faculty passed last week. It is actually an exception to Concordia’s grading policy, meant to address the unique circumstances in which we all find ourselves during Spring 2020 semester. Faculty members heard the concerns raised by students and voted overwhelmingly to give you some options regarding your course grades. At the same time, the exception to the policy mitigates against unintended consequences that a less nuanced policy might have provided.

I am sharing two documents with you, 1) the actual proposal that was passed by plenary faculty, below, and 2) a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) document, attached, that provides more detail for your understanding. You will notice a slight difference in nomenclature between the two documents. After plenary faculty passed the resolution, the Registrar’s Office recommended a different transcript notation for the transcript. Thus, the CP/CF notation in the faculty resolution changes to VP/VF in the FAQs.

At this point in the semester, there is nothing that you need to do regarding this policy except to begin to understand your options. Continue to work hard in your courses and do your best. At the appropriate time, the Registrar will share more details with you.

In His service,
William Cario, Ph.D.
Provost


Proposal that was passed by plenary faculty:

A motion from the faculty senate to plenary faculty to establish a “Covid Pass/ Covid Fail” option for the current semester.

This option is available for all (traditional and post-traditional) undergraduate students taking undergraduate courses, and does not apply to graduate or professional students or to undergraduate students taking graduate courses.

Faculty will grade all student work as usual, and will assign a letter grade based on the grading scale already outlined in each course syllabus. Beginning May 20, 2020, students may choose to convert a course grade from letter grading to a “Covid Pass” (CP)/ “Covid Fail” (CF) option. Students will request this change from the registrar’s office. All courses that are awarded CP grades will receive academic credit, will count towards graduation and degree requirements, and will satisfy future course prerequisites. CF grades will not count for academic credit. Courses that are awarded CP or CF grades will have no impact on a student’s GPA. Letter grades of “C” or higher can be converted to a CP; letter grades of “C-“ or lower can be converted to a CF. Transcripts will clearly state the meaning of both CP and CF grades.

The deadline for choosing the CP/CF option will be Friday, June 5, 2020 at 5:00 pm Central Time. Any student who does not choose to exercise the CP/CF option by that deadline will receive a normal letter grade. The decision to exercise the CP/CF option will not be reversible.

By allowing the change to be made after grades have been assigned, we are enabling students to consider all of their options and allowing them time to contact advisors and others to fully discuss the potential impact of their decisions.

Frequently asked pass/fail questions:

Only undergraduate students can choose the VP/VF option. It is not available for Concordia’s graduate students. The VP/VF option will be available to all traditional undergraduate students enrolled in Spring 2020 semester, including those enrolled in fully online and/or face-to-face courses at centers. This policy exception option applies to post-traditional undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in Term D and/or Term E courses and have not yet received a letter grade. This option is also available to all those individuals who are non-degree students taking an undergraduate course.
The VP/VF option is available only for undergraduate students enrolled in undergraduate courses; undergraduate students taking graduate courses will not be able to choose VP/VF in their graduate courses.
Concordia’s normal grading scale sets “D- “ as the lowest passing grade, but a higher bar will incentivize students to continue learning and turning in academic work.
A course with a VF grade will not count toward graduation or toward degree requirements, and the student will not earn academic credit for that course. Students who choose a VF grade will need to successfully re-take the course in order to earn academic credit for it. Some students may choose to accept the letter grade and the course credit, while others may prefer to take a VF so that the GPA is not negatively impacted.
It is unlikely that a student who has earned a high grade will select the VP option, but this proposal allows each student to decide what is best for him or her.
Concordia transcripts will clearly state that a VP is equivalent to a letter grade of “C” or higher, and that VF will be equivalent to a letter grade of “C-“ or below.
It is possible that VP/VF grades on a transcript could affect future acceptance to graduate school. At this time, no one is certain how this semester will affect graduate school appointments. Professional and faculty advisors are available for this discussion, but they are also waiting to see the implications of COVID-19. Therefore, students with potential interest in graduate programs should be very careful about choosing the VP/VF option!
Many universities in the country are providing a pass/fail option this semester. While we can’t predict exactly what will happen in the future, many students nationwide will have COVID related grades on their transcript in 2020. It is possible that VP/VF grades on a transcript could affect future acceptance to graduate school. If you are concerned about these issues please work with your advisor.
No, other than any impact of a passing or failing grade might normally have.
A VP grade in a class does indicate that a student has earned credit for that course. It is possible that VP/VF grades could affect athletic eligibility for some student athletes, depending on their individual GPAs. Student athletes will need to confer with their coaches and athletic directors to be fully informed about the potential implications.
Courses that already use pass/fail grading will not be impacted by this policy. These instructors will use the regular pass/fail indicators in their grading.
During the traditional spring 2020 final exam week, the Registrar’s Office will inform traditional undergraduate students of the specific process to choose a VP/VF grade for a class. Faculty members will submit course grades by the end of the day on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. From 22 May through 5 June 2020 students will be able to review the posted grades and choose the option of VP/VF for any or all of them. After 5 June students will not be able to use this option to change a grade.

Post-traditional students in term D will have approximately 2 weeks after the submission of grades on 10 May to choose their VP/VF options, if they so desire. Those students in term E will have approximately 2 weeks after submission of grades on 21 June to choose their options. The Registrar will work with Extended Campus team and center directors to communicate more details. As is the case with traditional students, after the closure of the option time, students will be unable to change a grade.

Please note that the pass/fail process will delay mailing diplomas and transcripts to our AA, BA, BS and BSN graduates by about 2 weeks.
Many are offering pass/fail or a similar option, but it’s hard to say exactly how many. We know that the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Marquette University, and most of the WAICU schools are offering some kind of pass/fail grading, as are most of the Concordias. Concordia University-St. Paul is an exception.