You are here

Alternative Grading Options - Spring 2020

CSULB is focused on ensuring the academic success and retention of all students. We are proud of our faculty and students in their efforts to transition to alternative modes of instruction. We understand that this quick transition has left many in our campus community feeling uncertain and unsettled, especially in relation to how new teaching and evaluation methods will affect students’ final grades. 

Following guidance from the Chancellor’s Office, the Academic Senate Executive Committee has recommended, and Provost Jersky has approved, alternative grading options for Spring 2020courses. In Spring 2020 only, CSULB will allow students to select a Credit (CR) or NC (No Credit) grade in lieu of Letter Grades (A-F). An NC grade means no credit is given for the class; it does not affect a student’s GPA. A CR grade means credit is given for the class; it also does not affect a student’s GPA. A CR grade can be used for grade forgiveness via “repeat-delete”, but it will not enter into the GPA to be averaged with the first earned grade.

Students will remain in the current grading mode in each of their classes simply by taking no action.

Faculty enter final letter grades between May 11 and May 21. Students who would like to take advantage of alternate grading options must let their faculty know of their choice by Monday, May 25. If the student requests a change after final grades are posted, faculty will have until June 5 to enter the alternative grade through the online change of grade process in the MyCSULB grade roster.  This change will go directly to Enrollment Services for processing.

Undergraduate Students 

An NC grade means no credit is given for the class; it does not affect a student’s GPA. 

  • An F grade can be removed and replaced with an NC grade.  
  • A D grade can be removed and replaced with an NC grade. 
  • Note: although a D grade is passing for undergraduate coursework, if it is converted to an NC it is no longer a passing grade. Therefore, faculty and students should be aware that if a student chooses to convert a D grade to NC, they will need to retake and pass the course. For Financial Aid recipients, replacing a passing grade with a non-passing grade could impact future financial aid eligibility.  Students currently on a financial aid plan, on probation, or on warning should contact the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarship (562-985-5471) to discuss the impact of choosing CR/NC before electing this grading option.    
  • B and C grades can be removed and replaced with a CR grade. 

GE Foundation courses (A1, A2, A3, B4) will not require students to receive letter grades.

Graduate school admissions: Spring 2020 CR/NC grades will not affect a student’s admissions into a CSULB graduate program as long as they meet the minimum GPA requirements, and their transcripts show a conferred Bachelor’s Degree. 

Graduate Students

Graduate students need to check with their Department to see if CR/NC grades are allowed (see below). If appropriate: 

  • C, D, or F grades can be removed and replaced with an NC grade.  
  • Note: although a C grade is passing for graduate coursework the letter grade converts to an NC, which is not a passing grade. Therefore, faculty and students should be aware that if a student chooses to convert a C grade to NC, they will need to retake and pass the course. For Financial Aid Recipients, replacing a passing grade with a non-passing grade could impact future financial aid eligibility.  Students currently on a financial aid plan, on probation, or on warning should contact the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarship (562-985-5471) to discuss the impact before electing this grading option.    
  • A B grade can be removed and replaced with a CR grade.   

Students should contact their Department Chairs with any questions. Please be aware that some classes require a minimum letter grade of C to count for major credit, and graduate level prerequisites may have higher minimums.  

Opting out

An academic department may opt out of these arrangement for a degree or for specific classes. To opt out, the department shall write a memo explaining the reason the class should not permit CR/NC. The request will be evaluated by the Dean or Associate Dean, who will then send it to the Vice Provost for Academic Programs for final approval. Departments must notify students if the course is not eligible for alternative class grading.  If a department does not opt out, a grade of CR in a major course would count toward completion of that department’s major requirement, as a one-time exception for spring 2020. Currently, there is a limit of 24 units of CR coursework that can count to fulfill the requirements of a CSU degree.  

Departments may have some classes opt out of the CR/NC option and maintain letter grades for the following possible reasons: 

  • 1. Graduate and Professional School Admission and/or Certification and Licensure 
    • a. A number of licenses, certifications and credentials require letter grades in applicable courses. Credential students must maintain specific GPAs in order to enter clinical practice and be recommended for credentials. 
    • b. Some graduate or professional programs require grades in prerequisite or major courses for admission. 
    • c.  A course is part of an accredited program that requires students receive letter grades. 
       
  • 2. Student Veterans 
    • A CR grade is acceptable, as it counts towards degree progress. An NC grade does not count towards progress. The VA’s policy is not to pay for courses that receive with an NC grade, which can lead to a student owing money back to the VA if s/he receives an NC. In the case of veterans, the registrar may change a “no credit” grade to an F to avoid having a negative impact on their financial aid. 
  • 3. Student-Athletes 
    • All athletes should check with Bickerstaff staff to ensure that their grading choices will not affect their NCAA eligibility.
  • 4. International Students 
    • International students (undergraduate and graduate) must complete a sufficient number of units with a letter grade to maintain immigration status. Because an NC is defined as letter grades of D or F for undergraduate students, it can be counted as attempted units toward keeping immigration status, whereas an unauthorized withdrawal (WU) would not count and would adversely affects immigration status.  
       
  • 5. Students on Academic Probation 
    • Students on academic probation need to complete courses for a letter grade as they strive to raise their GPA to achieve good academic standing. A grade of CR will not positively impact their GPA. No disqualifications will be issued for the Spring 2020 semester. The AVP for Undergraduate Studies or the Dean of Graduate Studies can grant an exception on a case-by-case basis. 

Students should consider all ramifications of choosing a letter grade or a CR/NC grade, noted in this memo. If students have any questions about which grading option is best, they should contact their faculty member and/or advisor. If a student chooses to keep their letter grade, they do not need to do anything. If a student chooses to switch their letter grade to a CR/NC grade, they should notify their instructor by email. Students should check their MYCSULB Student Center to ensure that the change was made by June 5. If they do not see the grade change as requested after June 5, they should contact their Department Chair or Associate Dean.