Category: Messages to the Community

Title: Revised Grading and Probation Policies for Fall 2020

Date Published: October 19, 2020

Dear Georgetown Students,

We continue to applaud your transition to virtual instruction. During this semester, we want to take steps to ensure further flexibility to students regarding grading and probation policies. The policies as they apply to graduate and undergraduate policies are treated separately below.

 

For Graduate Students

Fall Grading:

The Main Campus grading policy used in Spring 2020 semester will continue into the Fall 2020 semester, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy applies to graduate students in programs which have opted into it.

Students whose programs opted in have the option for Pass/Fail (S/NC) for the Fall academic term, which will be implemented similarly as in the Spring 2020 semester. Students may opt-in to take the S/NC option until the final study day on December 10. There will be the same transcript notation as Spring 2020, stating that the S/NC grading system was adopted for the COVID-19 crisis.

Probationary Standards:

The Graduate School Bulletin outlines the minimum standards for student academic performance, grading and GPA and time-to-degree expectations. Given the educational challenges presented by COVID-19, Georgetown has developed several ad hoc policies unique to the affected semesters. In light of the Main Campus Executive Faculty (MCEF)-approved Revised Grading and Withdrawal Policy for Spring 2020, the Graduate School will allow students at risk of not obtaining good academic standing this semester to proceed to the next term without penalty. Similarly, students on academic probation from Fall 2019 or earlier will not be terminated but rather permitted to continue to the subsequent semester without penalty.

The requirement that students must have a 3.0 GPA to be eligible for graduation remains in effect. As stated in the emergency grading policy adopted for Spring 2020 and extended to Fall 2020, it is accordingly the responsibility of students in programs that have opted into the policy to work with their advisors to make thoughtful decisions about whether to take a course for a grade or as S/NC; the revised grading policy for graduate students specifies that the election of the S/NC option requires the permission of the program and advising dean. The cumulative GPA will be calculated on the basis of those courses taken for grades during the student’s academic program.

Some graduate programs have additional criteria related to degree progression and probation in order to ensure professional standards are met. These policies will be clarified as needed by program directors.

This revised policy will apply only to the Spring, Summer and Fall 2020 terms, in response to the transition to virtual learning due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

 

For Undergraduate Students

Fall Grading:

The Main Campus grading policy used in Spring 2020 will continue into the Fall 2020 semester, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Spring 2020 ad hoc policy was approved by the MCEF and the Council of Deans. The policy applies to all undergraduate students.

Undergraduate students have the option for Pass/Fail (S/CR/NC) for the Fall academic term, which will be implemented similarly as in the Spring 2020 semester. Students may opt-in to take the S/NC/CR option until the last study day, December 10. There will be the same transcript notation as in Spring 2020, stating that the S/CR/NC grading system was adopted for the COVID-19 crisis.

Probationary Standards:

Given the educational challenges presented by COVID-19, Georgetown has developed ad hoc policies that offer flexibility to support learning and degree continuity. These policies include an extension of the course withdrawal deadline, an extension of the pass/fail deadline and further amendments to the pass/fail policy expanding the range of passing grades that will contribute toward a student’s degree. The requirement that students must have a 2.0 GPA to be eligible for graduation remains in effect.

In anticipation of the possibility for more severe impacts on students’ performance and final grades during the Fall semester, we are also adjusting our guidelines for academic standards review. Under ordinary (non-crisis) circumstances, students who perform below designated standards may be placed on academic probation, or in more severe cases face academic sanctions like suspension or dismissal. However, we consider the present time a crisis condition.

As such, at the close of the Fall 2020 semester, deans’ offices will, as usual, conduct their review of the academic performance of all students. At the conclusion of this review, students will be contacted with expressions of concern and caution, as warranted, but students will not face academic discipline (suspension or dismissal), and will not be placed on academic probation as the result of the Fall 2020 academic performance alone. Students who entered the semester on academic probation may continue to be on probation if they do not meet the conditions of their probation.

We place great value on the work in which you are engaged and are very proud of your efforts through these past few months. The changes to our Fall semester grading and probationary academic standards policies will provide greater flexibilities for students navigating this transition to online learning.

Sincerely,

Rohan Williamson
Vice Provost for Education