Academic Senate alters credit/no credit policy

Changes apply to fall 2020, spring 2021 and summer 2021

The+Academic+Senate+voted+to+expand+the+credit%2Fno+credit+%28CR%2FNC%29+grading+option+for+the+2020-2021+academic+year.

Brian Gallegos

The Academic Senate voted to expand the credit/no credit (CR/NC) grading option for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Anneliese Esparza and Richard Ho

The Academic Senate passed a resolution on Wednesday to expand the credit/no credit (CR/NC) grading option for the 2020-2021 academic year. The resolution passed with 57 votes for, three against and one abstain.

As the semester progressed, it became increasingly apparent how stressful the fall semester was to our students, both from the nature of most courses being delivered online, and also due to what was happening in the external environment.”

— David Barsky, APC chair

“As the semester progressed, it became increasingly apparent how stressful the fall semester was to our students, both from the nature of most courses being delivered online, and also due to what was happening in the external environment,” said David Barsky, chair of the Academic Policies Committee (APC).

In spring 2020, the Senate had passed a resolution to alter certain academic policies, including CR/NC grading, withdrawals, probation, disqualification, course repeat and incompletes. That resolution only applied to spring 2020, but a follow-up resolution extended the relaxed policies on CR/NC grading for summer 2020.

In November 2020, the Senate voted to relax withdrawal policy for the rest of the 2020-2021 academic year. While the Academic Policies Committee considered the issue of CR/NC grading all semester, it was initially hesitant to extend the modified policies.

“The fall semester was regarded as ‘different’ because everyone had known at the outset that instruction would be remote (from most courses). Additionally, there were concerns that students who opt to take courses CR/NC might be less motivated to excel. As the semester progressed, it became increasingly clear that even though everyone (instructors and students) had understood that instruction would be remote, we hadn’t really anticipated exactly how stressful this would be,” read the rationale section of the resolution.

The resolution makes several changes to the issue of CR/NC grading. First, it automatically converts all course grades of F completed in fall 2020, spring 2021 and summer 2021 to grades of no credit (NC). Additionally, the resolution suspended normal academic policy which prohibits courses taken with a CR/NC grade to count towards general education requirements.

With the resolution’s passage, both upper division and lower division general education courses can be completed for a CR/NC grade. “Free electives,” or courses taken neither for major/minor requirements nor for general education, can also be taken CR/NC for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Lower-division classes taken for a major or minor requirement can also be taken for a CR/NC grade, unless the major or minor is impacted. In that case, the program, department or college that houses the major or minor program can decide to allow CR/NC grading or to require courses to be taken for a letter grade.

Students taking graduate level courses or upper-division courses taken to fulfill a major or minor requirement can choose CR/NC grading, unless the program, department or college that houses the graduate, major or minor program elects to require a letter grade for those courses.

Programs, departments and colleges must determine which, if any, courses to require letter grades for by Mar. 5. The list of those courses that have to be taken for a letter grade will be posted to the Academic Programs website by Mar. 12.

With the resolution, students who have not already graduated can also retroactively choose to petition to change the grading of a course taken in fall 2020, winter 2021 and spring 2021 courses for which grades have been posted (such as the first 8-week session of half-semester courses). They would have to petition by Apr. 9.

Students can petition to change their grading basis to CR/NC for full semester and the second 8-week session of half-semester spring 2021 courses by May 7. According to the resolution, it will usually not be possible to convert a course grade to a letter grade afterwards.

To read the resolution in full, visit this site. For more information on credit/no credit grading and the new policy changes, visit this site.

The Cougar Chronicle: The independent student news site of California State University, San Marcos