ATU students permitted to choose pass or no credit for spring 2020 courses

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Arkansas Tech University will allow undergraduate and graduate students the option of choosing pass or no credit for their final grades in courses during the spring 2020 semester.
The recommendation for the procedure came forth through a collaborative process involving the ATU Faculty Senate, the ATU Graduate Council and the ATU-Ozark Campus Faculty Senate as well as Dr. Barbara J. Johnson, ATU vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Sheila Jacobs, chief academic officer at ATU-Ozark Campus.
The pass/no credit procedure they developed for spring 2020 applies to ATU’s Russellville and Ozark campuses. Johnson said that one of the most important aspects of the plan is that it allows ATU students the opportunity to either accept the grade they earned or adjust to the pass/no credit option on a course-by-course basis.
“I am appreciative of the leadership and deliberation that our faculty applied to this process,” said Johnson. “I believe we have arrived at a flexible solution that will best serve our students and provide them with the most beneficial path forward as they continue to pursue their academic goals.”
The temporary modification to the ATU grading policy applies to most spring 2020 courses. Spring 2020 courses that are not eligible for the pass/no credit option include the eight-week courses from earlier this spring that were completed before the transition to virtual instruction on March 18 and courses in programs with licensure or accreditation constraints that do not allow for the pass/no credit option.
Below is the entirety of the procedure ATU students may follow if they wish to pursue the pass/no credit option for any or all of their eligible spring 2020 courses.
A decision tree to aid students in their evaluation of the pass/no credit option is available at www.atu.edu/registrar/covid19gradepolicies.php.
Students with questions are encouraged to contact their academic advisor. Students unsure of the identity of their academic advisor may consult the registration tab at https://onetech.atu.edu to gain that information.
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Resolution by the ATU Faculty Senate
Spring 2020 Grading Policy
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a temporary modification to the Arkansas Tech University grading policy will occur for the spring 2020 semester. Offering a pass (P)/no credit (NC) option is intended to provide flexibility for students as they adapt to the unanticipated complications presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. To minimize the impact of these complications on an individual student’s grade point average, each student has the option to convert any course grade to a pass (P)/no credit (NC) grading scheme. The P/NC conversion is applicable only for spring 2020.
Faculty will submit conventional letter grades which will post to each student’s transcript. Subsequently, students will have the option to change the traditional letter grade to the P/NC grading scheme. The form to change a traditional letter grade to a pass/no credit grade will be located on the website of the ATU Office of the Registrar (www.atu.edu/registrar) once final grades are posted.
• Spring 2020 graduates will need to make a request to change a letter grade to the P/NC option by May 29, 2020.
• Continuing students will need to make a request to change a letter grade to the P/NC option by Aug. 3, 2020.
Students will receive written confirmation the letter grade has been changed to a pass or no credit.
The P/NC grade may be administered in courses that meet the general education requirements, major requirements or minor requirements. Students will determine if they would like to use the P/NC grade as opposed to a letter grade. There is no limit to the number of courses a student may opt to use P/NC grading for the spring 2020 semester. A pass grade will be counted as earned hours but will not be calculated into the GPA. A no credit grade will have no earned hours and will not be calculated into the GPA. The P/NC grade equivalents are:
Undergraduate Courses:
Pass (P) = A, B, C
Pass-D (PD) = D
No Credit (NC) = F
Graduate Courses:
Pass (P) = A, B
Pass-C (PC) = C
No Credit (NC) = D, F
Students will need to confer with their assigned advisor to ensure they are aware of course or program restrictions and requirements such as licensure or accreditation requirements. In collaboration with their advisor, students will need to examine program requirements carefully to determine if a P/NC option is allowable and/or recommended. In addition to the assigned advisor, students should communicate with a financial aid counselor to discuss any implications of switching from the traditional grading system. A decision tree to assist students is provided at www.atu.edu/registrar/covid19gradepolicies.php. Courses and programs with requirements for letter grades or a minimum course grade of C to progress can be found on the ATU Office of the Registrar website.

Exemptions:  Students who completed courses in the first 8-week session for spring 2020 are exempt from this policy as grades were assigned for those courses prior to COVID-19.

Sam Strasner

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