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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

March 20, 2020


To: Chief Academic Officers
From: Tod A. Laursen, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor
Subject: Guidance Regarding Grading for Spring 2020

In light of recent conversations regarding grading during the transition to online or remote instruction, we want to share some information regarding pass/fall options:

  • Campuses are advised to flexibly extend their policies so that students may opt —with appropriate advisement—to have spring 2020 courses graded pass/fail. There is no SUNY, NYSED, or Middle States approval needed to enact such flexibilities on an ad hoc basis according to programmatic needs; instead, this is a campus-based decision.
  • Note, however, that if you consider shifting *all* spring 2020 course grading to pass/fail, you must first consult Middle States and all applicable programmatic accreditors, as well as review all licensing/certification requirements for licensure/certification-qualifying programs.
  • Further, please note that we advise against adopting an across-the-board pass/fail grading scheme unless absolutely necessary, because there are multiple considerations that could render such a process problematic, including the following:
    • A student may need GPA-impacting course grades in order to meet the institutional GPA requirement for graduation;
    • A student may need GPA-impacting course grades in order to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress;
    • Inter-SUNY transfer plans could be impacted in some cases;
    • A student may want GPA-impacting course grades in order to be competitive for graduate school admissions (and other purposes external to the program);
    • Programmatic accreditors may have requirements regarding the maximum percentage of courses that may be graded pass/fail and/or the particular kinds of courses that may be graded pass/fail; and
    • Licensure/certification-qualifying programs may be impacted by licensing/certification requirements.

Tod A. Laursen, PhD
Provost & Senior Vice Chancellor
The State University of New York
State University Plaza – Albany, New York 12246
Tel: 518.320.1313    Fax: 518.320.1571
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