A safety net for grades was introduced to Queens not long after the coronavirus sent students home in March for the year and introduced to online learning.
Dr. Sarah Fatherly, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Queens University of Charlotte, decided to give students the option of receiving either a standard letter grade or a grade of “pass or fail.”
This change to grading triggered lots of questions among students at Queens.
Among the questions asked were, “How will this impact my GPA,” and “When must I decide?”
Fatherly sought to clear up any confusion that students have.
She first explained that the change was a way to accommodate students who are finding the changes disruptive.
Students had until April 17 to indicate whether they would like this option. Once grades are in, they will once more be asked whether they want their original letter grade or pass/fail.
In order to receive a “pass,” the student’s grade must be a C or higher at the end of grading. The student will only receive a “fail” if the final grade is D or lower.
Neither pass nor fail will impact their GPA, which remains neutral.
Fatherly said the school will reach out to a student by email, before grades are permanently recorded and say, “…You said you wanted ‘pass/fail’ in that course. Just wanted to make sure, do you? If so, great. If not, we’ll… put you back on the letter grade system.”
Not all schools are giving their students the option to choose a letter grade after they initially chose pass/fail, but Queens wanted to give students a lot of flexibility this semester, Fatherly said.
At this point, she does not see this grading option being offered permanently at Queens, but she would not rule out another extraordinary circumstance that would require this.
“I think we’re in a really extraordinary semester, and I think that that means we need to do whatever we can to provide some flexibility.” Fatherly said, “So at this point, I don’t see us moving in that direction.”