What is the policy for Spring 2020 Extended Access to Pass Fail for undergraduates?
In light of Loyola’s decision to transition temporarily to an online delivery model and in recognition of the challenges this may pose to students and the gravity of the national situation, the University Courses and Curriculum Committee and university leadership have decided to provide students with expanded access to the Pass/Fail grading option for the Spring 2020 semester.
In early April, undergraduate students, with the exception of RN-BSN students, may elect to switch some or all of their Spring 2020 courses to P/F. This includes students in programs that were fully online before the COVID-19-related move to online instruction. The deadline to switch is April 26th. We strongly recommend students consult the frequently asked questions below and talk over their options with an advisor.
Moving to Pass/Fail does not change the course requirements but a Pass/Fail grade allows a student to focus on successfully completing a class without worrying about how a grade of A-D would impact GPA (grades of F impact GPA regardless of whether a student chooses to remain in standard grading or P/F grading) . Expanded access to the P/F grade mode aims to fulfill our mission of cura personalis “care for the whole person”, while still providing a pathway to fulfill program and degree requirements. Students may decide to continue to pursue a letter grade (A-F) as we continue to offer a high quality online experience and work to ensure students have the resources they need to be successful. In addition, there are circumstances that Loyola cannot control including the future admissions requirements of graduate and professional programs, the information requested by employers, and the documentation needed to maintain good academic standing for certain scholarships.
What are faculty instructions for the Pass/Fail Spring 2020 Policy?
Faculty should continue to grade their courses as normal in Blackboard as classes will contain some students electing for P/F and others needing letter grades. Please keep your Blackboard Gradebook up to date so students understand how they are doing in your courses.
If you also advise students, please refer to the student FAQs and look for resources shared by Dr. Paul Buehler, Director of Academic Advising.
How will I know which students are to be graded P/F?
Your grading roster will appear in LORA with an additional note about grading type. Students who opt into P/F grading will be highlighted as such. Normal grade rules refer to A-F grading.
Please watch this short video to learn more about the student-facing process for selecting P/F.
Why did the administration decide to do this? Will students lose all motivation to succeed?
Midterm grades tell us that the vast majority of our students were on target to earn a passing grade before this crisis and we hope that all of your efforts to provide an outstanding online education and our efforts to provide ongoing student support result in the vast majority of students continuing on to excellent grades in these new circumstances. We have confidence that our students will make the right choices for themselves and that our thoughtful and caring academic advisors will help them evaluate all of their options. That said, we believe giving students this option is consistent with our institutional mission to care for the whole person. We must recognize the ways in which these current events are shaping students' lives outside of the classroom. We also know that digital equity is an issue in this country and while we are doing all we can to loan laptops some of our students are going to have unequal access. These are among the reasons that many other institutions have also made this decision and why students across the country are writing change.org petitions asking their universities to do the same.
Should faculty encourage students to go P/F or let students initiate?
Students may have questions for you as an instructor or as an advisor as they make this decision. This decision involves weighing current ability to continue making good progress in the course (which might be dependent on internet quality, whether a family member is ill, etc.), future plans in terms of graduate and professional school, and need to maintain a GPA for a scholarship like TOPS. Hopefully these FAQs have given you a starting place for your conversations with students but in some instances a student needs to consult with Student Financial Services and Financial Aid as well. Dr Paul Buehler will be sharing additional guidance in the lead up to registration advising. In the case of a course you are teaching, please keep students up to date on their progression in the course via your Blackboard gradebook. This is the single best way to help students make an informed choice. Ultimately, if a student is doing well in the course and they have reason to believe they will be able to continue as planned there is no reason they need to opt into P/F.