Changes to 2020 Grading Policy

UPDATE 4/8/2020: The University of Arkansas has announced it will extend the amended grading policy for the spring 2020 semester to the summer 2020 semester as well. This includes May Intersession and all summer terms.

After careful consideration and input from our campus community, and a recommendation from the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, the University of Arkansas has adopted changes to its grading policy for spring and summer 2020 that adds “Pass/Pass D/No Credit” grading options to the current letter grade options (on a course by course basis).

Undergraduate Student Grade Options for Spring and Summer 2020

All undergraduate students will initially be assigned a letter grade from their instructors for their spring 2020 classes. Undergraduate students completing classes after March 12, 2020, can request to have their spring and summer 2020 grades changed according to the following rules:

  • Students must request the grade change after final grades are posted but before October 1, 2020, unless they are graduating in spring 2020 or summer 2020. The deadline for students graduating in spring is May 15, 2020.  For summer graduates, the deadline is August 15, 2020.
  • Undergraduate students who receive a C- or better in a spring or summer 2020 course can request that the letter grade be replaced with a “Pass” (P).  Students do not have to choose the P option for all their classes in order to apply this policy.  Requests are allowed on a course by course basis, and students must petition each individual class for the P option.  Students are encouraged to see an advisor before submitting a petition. “Pass” will receive credit and will not count in the GPA.
  • Undergraduate students who receive a D in a spring or summer 2020 course will be assigned a “Pass D” (PD).  “PD” will receive credit and will not count in the GPA.
  • If a student receives a “PD” the student may request No Credit (NC) in its place.
  • Letter grades of “F” will revert in the system to “NC” and will not count in GPA.

Students in undergraduate programs with state or national accreditation or licensure should consult with coordinators of their respective programs prior to requesting a grade change.

The last day to withdraw from a class with a W in spring 2020 will be moved to April 30, 2020. The last day to withdraw from a class in the summer will be the last scheduled day of the class, as long as the final exam has not been completed. Prior to making this decision, students should meet with their advisors to discuss the best option for degree completion and career path. 

Faculty Undergraduate Grading Processes for Spring and Summer 2020

Grade rosters for spring classes will open on May 1, 2020. Instructors will submit letter grades as usual. Summer grade rosters will open on the last scheduled day of the class.

Administrative Handling of Spring and Summer 2020 grading

Grade Change Process:

An official record of grade change is required for university reporting. Students and advisors must follow the process to request a grade change. The grade options will be:

  • A, B, C (will become “P” or “NC” options upon student request)
  • D grades will convert to “PD” (will become “NC” upon student request)
  • F grades will convert to “NC”

GPA and Academic Standing for Spring and Summer 2020

Courses in which “P/PD/NC” are earned will not count in GPA calculation but will still be printed on the transcript.  The hours earned in courses in which “P” or “PD” was awarded will count toward graduation hours where applicable. 

Spring and summer 2020 academic standing will only be processed for students who improve their standing. A student on probation who improves to good standing will still be processed. No student will be moved to probation, suspension or dismissal based on spring or summer 2020 grades.

Graduate School Student Grade Options for Spring and Summer 2020

  • Instructors will submit letter grades for all spring and summer 2020 classes.
  • Graduate students may apply through their degree program to have their spring and summer 2020 grades changed to “Pass (P)/No Credit (NC)” status after final grades are posted but no later than October 1, 2020, unless they are graduating in spring 2020 or summer 2020. The deadline for students graduating in spring is May 15, 2020.  For summer graduates, the deadline is August 15, 2020.
  • If allowed by the college or school, the degree program will have the discretion to grant this request as many factors must be considered, including accreditation.  However, if one student from a given degree program in a course is granted a P/NC then all students in that same course and degree program who request it must be so granted as well.
  • Alternatively, a college or school may decide that no “P” or “NC” grades will be allowed for any graduate programs within that college for reasons such as accreditation or licensure issues. In such cases, the student may not appeal this decision. 
  • At the graduate level, grades of A, B, and C will be considered a “Pass,” and grades of D and F will be considered “No Credit”. Courses in which “P” or “NC” are earned would not count in the graduate GPA calculation. However, the hours earned in courses in which a “P” grade was awarded would count toward graduation.

School of Law Student Grade Options for Spring and Summer 2020

The School of Law began remote teaching and learning on March 16, 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Disruptions caused by the crisis, and student and faculty members individual challenges associated with it, require deviation from the law school’s grading policies to promote learning and preserve equity. The faculty adopts the following policy as one that is the most equitable in light of the formidable challenges likely to confront many students. We intend this policy to override existing inconsistent law school policies in accordance with the goals of these changes.

  • Student performance in each course will be recorded as “Pass” or “Fail.”
  • “Pass” is defined as “competency in meeting the educational objectives of the course.”
  • Faculty are strongly encouraged to set specific and meaningful standards for what is required to pass their course and to communicate those standards to their students as soon as possible. Faculty are also encouraged to design an exercise for students who may fail a final exam to illustrate competency and earn credit to pass the course.
  • Faculty will keep records of letter grades to provide students with feedback about their performance in the course and counsel them with respect to areas that might need attention in preparation for the bar exam and practice.

Related issues:

  • Class ranks for the end of Spring 2020 will be included in the Fall 2019 class rankings.
    • Ranks for current 1L and 2L students will be recalculated after the Fall 2020 semester, following regular practices.
    • 3L honor thresholds TBD.
  • Students currently on academic probation will have an opportunity to recover their GPA with an extension of one semester. During this extension, students on academic probation will remain in that status and subject to special advising by academic success. 

For questions regarding the updated grading policy, contact:

For questions regarding how this policy may affect your scholarship, contact: