Grading Policy


Page updated 5/19/2020 at 2:11pm
Recent changes in Bold/Italic

What’s the temporary grading scale for Spring 2020?

This answer has two parts, the first about replacing the F symbol with NC, and the second about being able to choose pass/fail to replace letter grades by course.

  1. The university’s regular grading scale for undergraduates is A, A-, B+ B, B-, C+, C, D, and F, and for graduate students it is A, A-, B+ B, B-, C, and F. Because of the change in how instruction was delivered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty will use the regular letter grades except that the F grade will be replaced with NC. NC stands for no credit. Unlike an F grade, the NC grade will not decrease your QPA because it has no QPA points whereas the F grade has zero QPA points.
  2. You will be able to choose which courses (none, one, two, three, etc., up to all courses) that you want to replace with a pass/fail grade instead. To be clear, you do not have to change any course letter grade to PASS. For any course that you choose, you can request that an A-D grade be replaced with a passing grade (your transcript will have a grade of "PASS"). NC grades will remain NC. (Note that you cannot choose this option if you are seeking teacher certification. Also, if you are in the ROTC program, you will need to talk with ROTC whether you can choose pass/fail.)

The directions for how to submit your request to change to pass/fail were outlined in an email dated May 15th from the registrar. You should consult with your faculty advisor to determine your best option for academic success and submit all requests before 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

Grading FAQs

Newest to Oldest

Why do I see a NCA or NCE temporary grade?

  • These temporary grades are used to differentiate students who earned no credits because a student never attended or stopped attending a class (NCA) or because a student did not successfully meet the requirements to pass the class (NCE). When grades are processed, all NCA and NCE grades will be changed to a NC (No Credit) grade.

How will the Pass/Fail impact the GPA of students who need a 3.0 for teacher certification?

  • Pennsylvania Department of Education requires that students have a 3.0 for entry into any Teacher Education Programs. After entry into the program, this GPA must be maintained for certification purposes. Also, certification officers must verify that a GPA of a 3.0 is maintained in order to approve PDE teacher certification. In order to maintain the certification requirements of PDE, students in majors leading to PA Department of Education (PDE) teacher certification will not be able to elect the Pass/Fail option. If you have any concerns, please talk to your academic advisor.

How will Pass/Fail impact students who need C or better for required courses in their major (B.S.Ed.)?

  • At this time, PDE has not verified if P/F grades will be accepted in lieu of the requirement of C or better for required courses in the education program. Therefore, students will not be able to select this option. If you have any concerns, please talk to your academic advisor.

Can I choose the pass/fail option for any course whether it is general education, major course, minor course, cognate course, etc?

  • The pass/fail option can be applied to any course.  However, if any part of your program has a minimum QPA requirement (such as teacher certification programs), you should speak with your academic advisor about the implications of choosing the pass/fail option for a particular course.

If I get an NC in a course this spring, can I retake it this summer at Ship or another school?

  • Yes, you can take this course at Shippensburg or another school this summer.

Can I repeat this summer through Shippensburg a previous semester’s Shippensburg course where I earned an F?

  • Yes, only for summer 2020.

What happens to my grade if I am registered for a class that is already offered with pass/fail grading, like certain internships?

  • Students who are registered for courses where pass/fail grading is already in place do not have the option to select standard letter grading.  The fail (F) grade associated with pass/fail grading, however, will be replaced with the non-punitive NC (No Credit) grade option for the spring 2020 semester.

I filled out a visiting student form for a class.  Will the temporary grading scale apply to me, and if so, how?

  • Yes, the temporary grading scale will apply, and you will also be able to change the grade to pass/”fail” (NC).   Because the Visiting Student policy allows for the letter grade you earned to transfer, as well as the credits, you will have the same opportunity to change these to a pass/”fail” (NC) grade as if you took the course at Shippensburg this semester.  You will get an email from the registrar’s office regarding how you can change the grading mode on these courses, if you choose to do so, and that email(s) will be sent specifically to you if the grades from those schools are processed at a later point in time than the grades given by Shippensburg faculty.   

How will Pass/Fail or NC impact a student retaking a class? [May 7 update]

  • The grade associated with the grade mode the student selects will be used for grade replacement purposes.  If you are within the repeat limit, per the policy, the grade associated with the chosen grade mode will replace the previously earned grade in the GPA calculation. When the new grade is PASS, the quality points and the credits for the course are not included in the GPA calculation, but the credits count toward graduation.
  • You will want to talk with your advisor to determine what is in your best interest. In general, you may be advised to choose the letter grade if your overall GPA will increase with this decision.

I want to improve or maintain my GPA. How do I know if I should take the new PASS option for a course?

  • Compare the numerical value of your cumulative GPA to the grade point equivalence for the letter grade.  Keep those letter grades where the grade point equivalence for the letter grade is larger than your cumulative GPA, and elect to change the grade to PASS if the grade point equivalence for the letter grade is less than your cumulative grade. 
  • See the charts below.  To illustrate, if your cumulative GPA is 2.2, you will want to keep C+ (2.3 grade point equivalence) to A (4.0) grades and replace C (2.0) and D (1.0) grades with PASS. 

If I am approved by my professor to take an incomplete grade for a spring course, will the same grading options that apply this spring semester still apply?

  • Yes, the same grading options will apply, thus if you were to earn an F, the letter grade will be on your transcript as NC, and if you choose to replace the letter grade with PASS/Fail, an F will remain an NC and any other letter grade will be replaced with PASS. 
  • When your faculty member submits your letter grade, just like this semester, you will have one week to indicate if you want to change the grading scale to PASS/Fail. 

I chose to take a course at the beginning of the semester using the Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory option in the catalog.  Can I change this to a letter grade or to PASS/Fail?

  • Yes, you may change the grade to PASS/Fail.  You cannot, however, change the grade to standard letter grading. 

I missed the deadline to withdraw from a course with a “W” grade.  If I quit doing work in a class, what will the grade be on my transcript, an F, W or NC? 

  • If you stop doing assignments in a class and the resulting numerical score would result in an F grade based on your faculty member’s syllabus, the faculty member would award an NC grade.  W is not an option unless you have successfully obtained a medical withdrawal.  See the catalog policy “Withdrawal from a Class”, the last paragraph.

What should I do if I am not able to finish the semester due to health problems?

  • Contact your dean’s office and refer to the “Withdrawal from a Class” policy in the catalog, specifically the last paragraph.

I’ve been called up for active military duty (military reservists or members of the National Guard) and don’t think I can finish the semester.  What should I do?

  • Contact your dean’s office to learn about two policies: the incomplete grade policy and the leave of absence policy.  If you choose the leave of absence policy, you will be withdrawn from the semester and will get a refund.  If you choose the incomplete grade policy, the dean’s office can help you communicate with each of your faculty members in order to request an incomplete grade for each course, learning what you need to do before the end of the Fall 2020 semester to finish each course.  You also need to talk with your faculty advisor regarding which option is in your best interest.  For more information, see “Temporary Grades (‘Q’ and ‘I’)” and “Withdrawal and Leave of Absence” in the catalog.

I am a residential student and need to request an exemption for the second year of the residency requirement. How will my GPA be taken into consideration for this request?

  • Upon choosing the Pass/Fail grading option, all passing letter grades will be issued as “P” (symbol yet to be finalized). As such, a new GPA will not be calculated for the semester, and your cumulative GPA remains the same as the previous semester. Housing and Residence Life will use your previous cumulative GPA to determine eligibility for exemption. Review the full two-year residency requirement. 

I took a spring course that has ended before the new grading scale was announced on April 3rd. Is that course eligible for the temporary grading scale for spring 2020?

  • If your course ended before the transition to online learning that began on 3/23/20, the course is not eligible for the temporary grading scale.

If my program requires a C or better in required prerequisite courses, can I request the Pass/Fail option?

  • Yes, you can request the Pass/Fail option. Because it is important for the university to keep track of the letter grade that you earned, there will be a way to know the letter grade that was replaced with Pass. Therefore, whether you met the minimum grade requirement will be known by your advisor, the dean’s office, the registrar and others who need to know. It is important that you check with your academic advisor regarding requirements like these for your major.

If I want to switch majors, how will Pass/Fail courses impact my ability to switch?

  • Your ability to switch majors typically depends on grades earned in specific course and GPA. Any letter grade that you earn this semester will be kept in your academic record even if you replace it with a Pass grade. As for GPA requirements to change your major, the decision is at the discretion of the Dean of the program you wish to transfer into; the dean reviews the recommendation of the department/program chair. Consult your advisor with any questions you have regarding switching your major.

Does the grading scale apply to graduate students?

  • Yes. Since the graduate catalog has no D letter grade, then faculty will award A, A-, B+, B, B-, C and NC (No Credit). The NC grade replaces the F grade. Graduate students will also be able to choose to have their letter grades replaced by P, and the NC grade will remain NC.

How will Pass/Fail or NC impact the grade of a student retaking a class?

  • You will want to talk with your advisor to determine what is in your best interest.In general, you may be advised to choose the letter grade if your overall GPA will increase with this decision.

How will my GPA be calculated if I choose the Pass/Fail option?

  • Choosing the Pass/Fail option removes that letter grade from the GPA calculation. For example, an undergraduate student with five three-credit courses where four courses have a B grade and the fifth course has a C grade, the GPA is 2.8. If this student chooses to have the C grade replaced with a P, then the GPA is 3.0. If this student chooses to
    replace all letter grades with P, then there is no semester GPA, and the cumulative GPA remains the same as the previous semester.

How will the Pass/Fail or NC system impact students on academic probation?

  • You will want to talk with your advisor to understand the impact of your choices on your academic probation status. In general, you should choose to keep letter grades that increase your cumulative GPA.

Will Pass/Fail or NC impact a student's financial aid eligibility?

  • You will want to talk with financial aid about your specific situation. In general, you want to earn as many credits as you can this semester, thus no NC grades.

Will the new system impact a student-athlete's NCAA eligibility?

  • You will want to talk with Ms. Ashley Grimm about the choices you want to make and how this will impact your athletic eligibility. There are minimums required as it relates to cumulative GPA and new credits earned for the semester, academic year, and annually which would include summer credits earned.

Will faculty still award +/- grades?

  • Yes, faculty can award the +/- grades that are in each catalog, if they choose. For undergraduate, the grades are A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D and NC for this spring 2020. For graduate students the grades are A, A-, B+, B, B-, C, and NC for this spring 2020.

I dropped a class before learning this temporary grading scale was announced. How does this apply to me?

  • Courses from which a student has withdrawn will have a W on the transcript as the grade. W grades do not earn credit and do not have QPA points, just like the NC grade. You will be able to request a pass/fail grade for any course from which you did not withdraw.

When and how can I submit my request for the pass/fail option?

  • You will get an email from closer to the end of the semester with directions for making the request. Currently, the university’s IT and Registrar’s staff are creating and testing a process using Shippensburg technology.

Can I have an F from the fall semester replaced with NC?

  • This special grading scale and opportunity to replace a grade with the pass/fail option is only for this spring 2020 semester and due to moving all courses to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not apply to previous or future semesters.