Category: Messages to the Community, News

Title: Revised Grading Policy for Spring 2020

Dear Georgetown Students,

We understand that COVID-19 has challenged you in many ways, and we are proud of your perseverance and commitment to your studies. A number of students and faculty, in groups and individually, have shared the difficulties and fears experienced as a result of the transition to remote learning. We continue to be deeply moved by the ways in which members of our community are supporting each other.

Thank you for your feedback in response to the revised grading scale of the Pass/Fail option shared previously. I have heard from many faculty as well on this topic. The Main Campus Executive Faculty (MCEF) Steering Committee and Deans have taken into consideration the diverse responses received about the grading policy. There is large variation in attitudes among faculty and students on these issues. For the clarity of student and faculty work during the few weeks remaining in the term, however, a timely decision is needed.

After reviewing all the alternative proposals forwarded, the MCEF Steering Committee and the School Deans have liberalized the Pass/Fail option for Spring, 2020. This protocol is the final decision on the grading policy for the spring 2020 semester.

The framework addresses many factors leading to this decision: ensuring the University academic calendar complies with federal regulations; taking into account the important voices we heard from students, faculty, and families; rightfully recognizing the unequal hardships faced by some students after moving to an online environment; and valuing the academic performance of students in the first portion of the semester.

For the Spring 2020 term:

  • Students (graduate and undergraduate) will have the option to choose one of two grading frameworks, either:
    (1) a letter grade, or
    (2) Satisfactory (S); Credit (CR); or No-credit(NC): (S = grades A through C; CR = C-, D+, D; NC = F)
  • Students can make this choice in MyAccess beginning on April 6 up until the last day of classes.
  • The choice to take a class S/CR/NC can apply to any course: Core, major, minor, certificate or free elective.
  • The choice can be made without permission from the deans (per the usual process). Requests by graduate students in programs that have opted into the policy must be approved by the appropriate director of graduate studies or dean.
  • The S/CR/NC options will not be counted toward the stated maximum of student’s degree programs (e.g., “six” as outlined in the Undergraduate Bulletin).
  • The withdrawal date will also be extended to the last day of classes. Late withdrawal is only available to graduate students in programs that have opted in to the policy.
  • A transcript notation will explain that S/CR/NC was instituted because of the Spring 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

This grading policy will be in place for the Spring 2020 term only and is in response to the mid-semester transition to virtual learning due to the COVID-19 situation.

In our decision-making we were guided by a compassionate consideration of students who are suffering under the conditions of dislocation due to the pandemic and are unable to work or perform at the same level they were before. Through the addition of CR, students who might slip into the C-, D+, and D range are assured of passing and of not having to repeat a course. The NC designation means the F grade on the transcript is removed for the Spring 2020 term.

I would like to thank you once again for your valuable feedback. I would like to thank our faculty and deans for their careful consideration and thoughtful deliberations on this complex issue, and for supporting the rigors of a Georgetown education while addressing the needs of our most vulnerable students. We thank you for continuing to exemplify Georgetown’s spirit of cura personalis through this unprecedented time.


Robert M. Groves