Emergency Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Grading Option Policy and Procedures
Spring 2020 Grading Options:
Due to the unprecedented disruption to the Spring 2020 semester and the transition to remote coursework delivery caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, Ramapo College has approved the adoption of an emergency Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Grading Option Policy and related Procedures. Grading options that are available to Ramapo undergraduate and graduate students for classes taken in the Spring 2020 semester are described below.
Spring 2020 Course Withdrawal: As has always been the case, students have the option of withdrawing from any class that they do not feel they will be able to successfully complete by the end of the Spring 2020 semester. If a student would like to withdraw from any of their 15-week or full-semester classes or from the COND golf or tennis classes that began on March 23, 2020 (i.e., not the accelerated 2), note that the last day to do so is April 13, 2020, as per the established academic calendar, and that a “W” will be posted on their transcript. It is important that a student consults with their professors, their adviser, and the Office of Financial Aid before making the decision to withdraw from a class, as doing so can impact academic status, academic progress, eligibility for financial aid and scholarships, and more.
Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Grading Option: In order to accommodate the needs of those who have been substantively impacted by the change of coursework delivery methods and/or other disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during the Spring 2020 semester, Ramapo students may opt into a pass/fail grading system for one or more of the courses from which they are not planning to withdraw. Specifically, under this emergency Spring 2020 pass/fail grading option policy/procedure, students may opt into pass/fail grading for classes that are required for their general education program, their school core, their major, and/or their minor, although this is not normally allowed under Ramapo College grading policy.
The decision to opt into pass/fail should be made carefully, as not all students are eligible to do so or would even benefit from doing so. Students should carefully read and consider all information below before making their decisions and are strongly encouraged to consult with their professors, their advisers, and/or their school Deans before making the decision to opt into pass/fail grading for one or more of their Spring 2020 classes. It is important that a student consults with their professors, their adviser, and the Office of Financial Aid before making the decision to opt into pass/fail grading mode for a class, as doing so can impact their academic status, academic progress, eligibility for financial aid and scholarships, and more.
Furthermore, to be as accommodating as possible and to allow students enough time to experience and adjust to remote delivery of coursework before making this decision, the window for students to opt into pass/fail grading mode for one or more Spring 2020 class is beginning Friday, April 10, 2020, and ending Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at 11:59 pm. Please note that the last possible day to opt in to pass/fail grading is 7 days after Spring 2020 letter grades are viewable to students. Therefore, there is no rush to opt into pass/fail mode. Students should take their time to carefully consider all possible consequences before they make their decisions, as it will not be possible to reverse these decisions once they are made. To reiterate, the final day to opt into pass/fail grading, May 26, 2020 at 11:59 pm, is firm, and it will not be possible to change grading modes after this date.
General information related to the Spring 2020 pass/fail grading option:
- Under this emergency Spring 2020 semester pass/fail grading option policy/procedure, undergraduate students may opt into pass/fail grading for classes that are required for their general education program, their school core, and/or their major and/or their minor (i.e., not just free-elective courses). Graduate students may opt into pass/fail grading for classes that are required for their degree (i.e., not just elective or thesis courses). This grading option is only being offered to students enrolled in Spring 2020 semester classes because of extreme disruption caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic and will not automatically be offered in future semesters or terms.
- Students must opt into the pass/fail grading mode (i.e., P/F) for each class they would like to receive a P or F in for the Spring 2020 semester. Except for classes specifically excluded by this policy, a student can opt into P/F grading for just one, for two or three, or for all of their Spring 2020 classes.
- Ramapo College faculty will continue to assign letter grades to their students in all of the classes they teach. However, if a student opts into P/F grading for any of their classes, their grade will automatically be converted to a P or an F based on the letter grade they earned as follows: for undergraduate-level classes à letter grade of D or higher = pass (P); letter grade of F = fail (F). for graduate-level classes à letter grade of C– or higher = pass (P); letter grade of F = fail (F).
- Students who do not opt into the pass/fail grading mode for any of their Spring 2020 classes will receive letter grades in these classes.
- In calculating students’ grade point averages (GPAs), a pass (P) will have no effect at on their GPA, and a fail (F) will have the same impact as an F letter grade would (i.e., 0 grade points per credit, counted in attempted credits). Letter grades will affect students’ GPAs as normal (please see Ramapo’s Grading System Policy at https://www.ramapo.edu/provost/policy/ grading-system/ for more information).
- Opting into pass/fail grading will not impact students’ current financial aid awards as long as the courses/credits completed count toward fulfilling their degree program requirements. As always, financial aid awardees are required to make satisfactory academic progress, which may be found at https://www.ramapo.edu/finaid/sap/, for continued financial aid eligibility.
- All students who are enrolled at Ramapo College in Spring 2020 will have an asterisk notation on their academic transcript, which will note that the global COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions in the semester. This will be standard practice across many United States higher education institutions.
Which students are ineligible for or may not want to opt into Spring 2020 pass/fail grading?
- Students who already completed and earned letter grades for any accelerated 1 Spring 2020 classes by March 13, 2020, as per the existing academic calendar, cannot opt into pass/fail grading for any of these accelerated 1 classes.
- BS and MS Nursing students cannot opt into pass/fail grading for any Nursing (i.e., NURS) course in which they are enrolled. However, Nursing students can opt into pass/fail grading for any non-Nursing course in which they are enrolled. Even if a Nursing student opts into pass/fail grading for a non-Nursing course(s), the letter grades received in this course(s) will be considered for prerequisite purposes. Nursing students should consult with their advisers or the Assistant Dean of Nursing, Dr. Kathleen Burke, if they have any questions or need further clarification.
- Ramapo College Honors Program students should consider the GPA they would earn in Spring 2020 if they opt into pass/fail grading and make sure it is at least a 3.0, which is a requirement to remain in the Honors Program. Honors students who need further guidance on minimum GPA requirements for the program should contact the Honors Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Students whose scholarships require them to maintain a minimal certain GPA should consider the GPA they would earn in Spring 2020 if they opt into pass/fail grading and make sure it fulfills their scholarship requirements. Scholarship recipients should consult with the individual who provides oversight for their scholarship, their advisers, or their school Dean if they have any questions or need further clarification.
- Students who are working to increase their GPAs will not be able to improve their GPAs by opting into pass/fail grading for all of their classes. Receiving a pass (P) grade will not positively impact students’ GPAs. Therefore, students working to improve their GPAs are advised to not opt into pass/fail grading for all of their Spring 2020 classes.
- Students who want to make the Dean’s List for the Spring 2020 semester should be aware that to qualify for the Deans’ List, a student must be matriculated, complete a minimum of 12 credits (not including P grades), receive no incomplete grades for that semester, and attain a semester GPA of at least 3.5 and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. Therefore, students who want to make the Spring 2020 Dean’s List should be sure to receive letter grades for at least 12 credits of their coursework.
- Students who are working to achieve the status of “Graduation with Distinction” (also known as Latin Honors) should consider the impact opting into pass/fail grading would have on their cumulative GPA and academic transcript. To graduate with distinction, a student must complete a minimum of 64 credits not including P grades at Ramapo College and must achieve a cumulative GPA, including R grade credits, as follows: GPA of 3.500 – 3.699 = cum laude; GPA of 3.700 – 3.849 = magna cum laude; and GPA of 3.850 – 4.000 = summa cum laude.
- Students who are working to increase their GPAs in order to meet external requirements such as the state-mandated 3.0 GPA requirement for Teacher Education majors will not be able to improve their GPAs by opting into pass/fail grading for all classes. Receiving a pass (P) grade will not positively impact students’ GPAs. Therefore, students working to improve their GPAs to meet external requirements are advised to not opt into pass/fail grading for all of their Spring 2020 classes. Teacher Education majors should consult with their advisers or the Assistant Dean of Teacher Education, Dr. Brian Chinni, if they have any questions or need further clarification
- Students who are currently on academic warning, academic probation, or continued probation and are working to increase their GPAs in order to advance their academic status (e.g., to achieve the 2.0 GPA required for good standing) must consult with their advisers before opting into pass/fail grading for all of their Spring 2020 classes. Receiving a pass (P) grade will not positively impact students’ GPAs. Student-athletes who are not in good standing should especially consider the consequences of opting into pass/fail grading, as it may prevent them from participating in their next sport season. Student-athletes should consult with the Associate Director of Athletics, Ms. Kathleen Finnegan, if they have any questions or need further clarification.
- Students who are repeating a course they previously failed may not want to opt into pass/fail grading for the course that is being repeated in Spring 2020, as receiving a P may not improve their grade point average (GPA). In fact, receiving a P will only help increase the GPA if a student uses one of their RF options to repeat the course (more information may be found in Ramapo’s Repeat Course Policy, which may be accessed at https://www.ramapo.edu/ provost/policy/repeat-course/). It is also important to note that if a student opts into pass/fail grading for this course and receives a P, this new grade will appear on their academic transcript, as will the RF, and the P can be used to satisfy degree requirements.
- Students who plan to transfer a course to another higher education institution, especially Ramapo students pursuing articulated programs (e.g., Chiropractic, Dentistry, Drawing & Painting with Art Therapy concentration, Optometry, Physical Therapy, Podiatric Medicine), may not want to choose pass/fail grading for that particular course, as other colleges and universities may require a minimum letter grade (e.g., a C or higher) and may not accept a pass (P) grade. Students pursuing articulated programs should consult with the faculty adviser or the school Dean (i.e., for pre-medical and pre-health professional programs, Dr. Rena Bacon and Dr. Edward Saiff; for the art therapy program, Dr. Jackie Skrzynski and Dr. Peter Campbell), if they have any questions or need further clarification.
Other important considerations:
- Students who expect to earn a D grade in a class and, therefore, opt into pass/fail grading for that class will still have to repeat the class if earning a grade higher than a D in that course is a required prerequisite for another course they plan to take in the future or if earning a grade higher than a D in that course is required for acceptance into an academic program. Two examples of such instances include the following: CMPS 148 requires as a prerequisite a grade of C or higher in CMPS 147; and students who are applying for admission into the Social Work program must earn a combined average grade of B in SWRK 222 and SWRK 225. There are many more examples of such instances, so students should consult with their professors, their advisers, and their school Dean if they have questions or need further information.
- Students who expect to earn a D grade in a class and, therefore, opt into pass/fail grading for that class may have difficulties successfully completing classes in subsequent semesters if the class they earned the D in provides foundational content for the following classes. By receiving P grades, these students will be permitted to enroll in the sequential classes but may not have acquired an adequate knowledge base to be successful.
- Students who are planning to request an incomplete in any Spring 2020 classes, which may be done up until May 12, 2020 as per Ramapo’s academic calendar, and whose requests for an incomplete are approved must still opt into pass/fail grading by the May 26, 2020 11:59 pm deadline even though they will not have received a letter grade by that point in time.
- Please note that a pass/fail grade in core curriculum courses may influence how graduate schools and employers view students’ transcripts even though a note will be included on the transcript to indicate that disruptions were caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. This may be especially true for certain academic programs such as medicine and law. Students should consult with their faculty advisers and/or prospective graduate programs to obtain further information before making the decision to opt into pass/fail grading. Students who have already been accepted into graduate programs, medical school, law school, etc. for next year should check with their programs to make certain that Spring 2020 pass/fail grading at Ramapo College is allowed.
Implementation of the Spring 2020 pass/fail grading option:
- All professors will assign letter grades (i.e., A through F) following the grading policies information on their class syllabi.
- For students who opted into pass/fail grading for one or more of their classes, letter grades that are D or higher will automatically be converted to P for pass in undergraduate-level courses and letter grades that are C– or higher will automatically be converted to P for pass in graduate-level courses. All F grades will remain F for fail. These conversions will happen automatically through the Registrar’s Office for all students who complete and submit a Spring 2020 pass/fail grading option request. This request to opt into the pass/fail grading mode for one or more of students’ Spring 2020 classes may be submitted anytime between Friday, April 10, 2020 and 11:59 pm on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Instructions on how to submit this request will be sent to all students at the @ramapo.edu email addresses prior to April 10, 2020 and, in the meantime, students can begin discussing whether they should opt into pass/fail grading with their professors, advisers, and/or school Dean. They may also use the GPA calculator found at https://www.ramapo. edu/myadvisor/gpa-calculator/ to consider certain scenarios.
- Please note that students who do not submit the required request form by the May 26, 2020 11:59 pm deadline will have the letter grades received in their Spring 2020 classes posted on their transcripts and calculated into their GPAs as usual.