Editor’s Note: The story has been updated to include a response from the Student Senate President.
Ohio University announced an alternative grading system for students on Monday due to the impact of the Coronavirus and the ability for students to learn remotely.
Student Senate, Faculty Senate and the Provost’s Office developed the system and adjustments to academic policies for the Spring Semester.
The alternatives are for undergraduate students in online, hybrid or face-to-face courses.
Students have the option to exempt out of any course that they are currently earning a letter grade of A to C-. If a student opts out, they will receive a Satisfactory, or “S,” grade for the course or keep their letter grade.
Satisfactory/no credit is different from pass/fail courses. If a student were to go with a pass/fail option, the “fail” would still affect a student’s GPA unlike the no credit option, according to an OU news release.
Student Senate President Lydia Ramlo said she spoke to university faculty involved in the decision about the petition for pass/fail classes, concerns she heard from students and her own opinions on the matter. She said she felt it was important for a student’s voice to be a part of the decisions for course credit.
The alternative grading system was chosen since the wording for satisfactory/no credit courses was already listed in the faculty handbook. It has not been used since 1969, Ramlo said.
“Pass/fail was similar, but a fail does affect your GPA while no credit doesn't affect it,” Ramlo said.
Students have until May 13 to decide to opt out for any of their courses that are not exemption. Departments and schools can exempt some courses from the satisfactory/no credit system if traditional letter grades are essential for a programmatic accreditation, licensure or similar reasons. Exempted courses will be listed on the Registrar’s website by April 8.
Ramlo said there has mostly been a positive response to the alternative grading system, especially for students who are in circumstances where they aren’t able to complete their coursework as well as they could on campus.
“It allows Ohio University to be more flexible with students,” Ramlo said.
There has also been some confusion about the alternative system.
“You still have to finish the semester unless you withdraw from the course,” Ramlo said.
An alternative grading system for graduate students is still being developed.
The university has already extended the day to withdraw from a full semester class from March 27 to April 24, which is the day before the last day of classes.
Other changes to policies for the semester include extension of incomplete deadline and no new students can be placed on academic probation.
If students need to take an incomplete for a course, the deadline for completing it will be extended until the last day of the 2020 Fall Semester.
No student will be placed on academic probation if their cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0 at the end of the Spring Semester, according to the release. Students who are currently on probation, however, may move off of it at the end of the Spring Semester if their GPA reaches a 2.0 or above.