Students given more flexibility for pass/not pass grading system


Enrollment Services Center on Apr. 5, 2019.

Jill Even

A circumstantial pass/not pass grading system has been put into place at Iowa State, allowing students to convert letter grades into a pass/not pass for classes affected by virtual transition.

According to provost, this option applies to undergraduate courses in spring 2020 that initially met in person but now are taken virtually due to COVID-19. These classes will still count towards academic requirements while not being factored into GPA, therefore not affecting scholarships.

If a class was originally online, pass/not pass will not be an option unless it was implemented prior to the transition to virtual instruction. It will be available to 500-level or 600-level graduate courses with written approval from students’ major professors or academic advisors.

There are now no limits to how many classes can be designated pass/not pass, and it will not count towards the total number of pass/not pass classes available to students.

This policy also applies to students on academic probation; however, it is encouraged by Iowa State for these students to discuss the pass/not pass option with their advisor.

In undergraduate courses, an A through a D- is considered a passing grade. An F is considered not passable. In graduate courses, an A through a C is considered a passing grade, while a C- through an F is considered not passable. Instructors will not be notified of a student’s pass/not pass selection.

Students will be able to choose the pass/not pass option after final grades are given, between May 13 and May 19. This can be done by submitting a form through an academic advisor, who will then send it to the Registrar’s Office. If the form is not submitted, the student’s final letter grade will stand.

Iowa State will include a designation on transcripts, highlighting extenuating circumstances encountered spring 2020. The retake option for courses a student elects as pass/not pass is under review.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) appeal for financial aid is a federal regulation, and the Office of Financial Aid is waiting on guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on how to handle the situation.

Students who plan on applying to post-graduate programs should discuss with their advisor the potential impact of using the pass/not pass option on their courses, as some programs require a certain grade point average in certain courses or programs.