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Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Policy FAQ

In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the delivery of courses, the College faculty have approved a temporary Pass/Fail grading policy for the spring 2020 semester. The Pass/Fail option is intended to provide students with increased flexibility in the challenging transition in a time of widespread societal disruption due to the pandemic. We recognize that many of you will have questions related to this option, and we will keep the information on this page updated as additional information becomes available.

 
 

Programs/Courses with Specific Minimum Letter Grade Requirements

Many degree and certificate programs require specific minimum letter grades, as outlined in the curriculum, and and therefore will not allow a grade of Pass "P". Before opting-in to the Pass/Fail option, be sure to review the minimum grade requirements for your program below.

Programs with Minimum Letter Grade Requirements per course →

Pass/Fail Opt-in Form

You can choose pass/fail on one or more of your courses for Spring 2020. This choice will be available ONLY May 18th through May 27th (midnight). The Pass/Fail Opt-in Form deadline has expired.

 
 

General Questions About the Pass/Fail Grading Option

How will the Pass/Fail Option work?

  • Faculty will assign grades as usual. They will submit a letter grade for each student by the final grade submission deadline (within 72 hours after the final exam);
  • Students may decide whether to keep their assigned letter grade or to opt in to the Pass/Fail option within the period May 18th through May 27th, 2020.  They cannot opt in to the Pass/Fail option before or after these dates. There is no limit on how many courses a student can choose to opt in to the Pass/Fail option;
  • If a student chooses not to opt in to the Pass/Fail option, no action is needed and the assigned letter grade will stand;
  • For students who do opt in to the Pass/Fail option, they will need to complete the Spring 2020 Final Grade Pass/Fail Opt-in Acknowledgement Form.  After they do so, the College Registrar will convert the assigned letter grade to “P” (Pass) on the student’s transcript. Please note: a grade of “P” (Pass) is only an option for the assigned letter grades of A through D;
  • An assigned letter grade of F will remain an F.

How does a “Pass” (P) grade impact my GPA?

A grade of P will indicate that you completed the course and you will receive full credit for the course.  However, it will have no impact on your grade point average (GPA).

Where and when will the official Spring 2020 Final Grade Pass/Fail Opt-In Acknowledgment Form be available to opt in to the Pass/Fail option? What is the process for submission?

Students will be able to choose the Pass/Fail option by completing the online form (the Spring 2020 Final Grade Pass/Fail Opt-In Acknowledgement Form) which will be available to students on the College website beginning May 18th, 2020. Students must complete the online form no later than May 27th, 2020. The Registrar’s office will convert a student’s letter grade (A through D) to a grade of P within the next 7-10 business days. An assigned letter grade of F will remain an F. Students will receive an email confirmation from the Registrar’s office upon receipt of the Pass/Fail request and upon completion of the grade change to the Pass/Fail option. Students acknowledge through submission and completion of the online form to elect Pass/Fail for one or more of their courses that they understand the potential future impact that Pass/Fail may have on their academic record, including transferability and eligibility for internal and external programs.

Can I choose to receive a letter grade (A through D) instead of a Pass grade?

Yes. There is no action that needs to be taken on your part if you choose to keep your assigned letter grade. If you decide not to use the Pass/Fail option, then the letter grade that your faculty member assigned to you will stand.

How will opting in for a grade of P impact my academic standing at the college?

While a grade of P has no impact on your grade point average (GPA), opting in for a combination of P grades and letter grades will affect your academic standing. Please see next question for more detailed information on this.

I was given an Incomplete "I" for my class. Can I opt-in to Pass/Fail?

Incomplete "I" grades are issued when the student and faculty member decide together to extend the time frame in which the student can complete the course. Incomplete coursework from the Spring 2020 semester can be completed through December 2020. At the time the coursework is completed and the official letter grade is issued by the faculty member, you can then opt-in to the Pass/Fail option. You will need to contact the Office of the Registrar at that time.

I am on academic probation for the Spring 2020 semester; how will opting in for a grade of P impact my academic standing at the college?

A grade of P has no impact on your grade point average (GPA). Your Spring 2020 GPA will be calculated by only using any letter grades that you earn for the semester. Opting in for a grade of P for all of your courses will have no impact on your academic standing and you will remain on academic probation. A combination of grades of P and letter grades will impact your academic standing positively if your semester GPA is above 2.0, and negatively if your semester GPA is below 2.0. It is important that you speak with an academic advisor if you are on academic probation.

What will happen to my cumulative GPA if I choose the Pass/Fail option for all of my classes for the spring semester?

Your cumulative GPA will not change if all of your spring 2020 courses convert to a grade of Pass (P). Your cumulative GPA will stay the same as it was at the end of the fall 2019 semester. Students who are new to MassBay in the spring 2020 semester and choose the Pass/Fail option for all their classes will not have a cumulative or term GPA.

What is the deadline for choosing the Pass/Fail option for my class/es?

Students can only select the Pass/Fail option within a very specific timeframe: after their final grade is issued beginning on May 18th through the deadline of May 27th, 2020.

Can I change my mind about receiving a letter grade or receiving a Pass/Fail grade after the May 27th deadline?

No. After May 27th, 2020, all grades, whether letter graded, or Pass/Fail graded, are final.

Will I be able to see my letter grade before making my decision?

Yes. You will have the opportunity to see your assigned letter grade for each course prior to choosing the Pass/Fail option. You cannot opt in to the Pass/Fail option until after final grades are posted.

If I choose the Pass/Fail option for a class, will MassBay keep a record of my assigned letter grade?

Yes. The assigned letter grade submitted by your faculty member will be stored in our student information system. However, the Pass (P) grade will be the recorded grade on your official MassBay transcript and academic record.

Are there courses where I must take a letter grade?

You may choose the Pass/Fail option for any course offered at the College.  However, for programs that have minimum grade requirements for specific courses, opting in for a Pass (P) grade might not meet the program requirement. It is strongly recommended that students review their curricular requirements and discuss the Pass/Fail option with an academic advisor.

How will a grade of P reflect on MyMAP in BayNavigator?

MyMAP, the degree progress tracking tool in your BayNavigator account, will recognize a grade of P as a passing grade (A through D) when auditing your coursework; therefore, a grade of P will fulfill the requirement. In certain programs, where a minimum grade requirement exists for specific courses, MyMAP will not allow a grade of P to fulfill the requirement and will show as “not satisfied”. We strongly recommend that students review their curricular requirements and discuss the Pass/Fail option with an academic advisor.

Will faculty continue to grade assignments with letter grades or just Pass/Fail?

Faculty will continue to grade assignments. Faculty will assign letter grades for courses at the end of the semester. The only way an assigned letter grade can be converted to a grade of Pass (P) is if the student chooses to opt in to the Pass/Fail option and submits the official Spring 2020 Final Grade Pass/Fail Opt-In Acknowledgment Form.

I was repeating a course this semester to improve my GPA. Will a grade of Pass (P) help?

Potentially. The most recent attempt in a course replaces a previous attempt. Therefore, if you previously earned a low grade in a course, repeated the course this spring semester and earned a low grade again, choosing the Pass (P) option will remove the previously earned grade from your GPA calculation. The P itself does not affect the GPA, but the removal of the previously earned low grade may help raise your GPA. Alternatively, if you earn a high grade this spring for the repeated course, then choosing the Pass (P) grade may not be the best choice to raise the GPA.

For specific questions about whether to choose the Pass/Fail option or keep your assigned grade, it is highly recommended that you consult with an academic advisor.

I took a course in the first 8-week session and already received a grade. Can I still choose the Pass/Fail grade option?

No. Courses graded prior to the implementation of this new policy are not eligible for conversion to Pass/Fail grading.

If I choose to withdraw from a course by the withdrawal deadline of May 1st, 2020, rather than using the Pass/Fail option, will I be eligible for any refund or other adjustment on my student account?

No. You will not be eligible for any adjustments to your student account. All instruction is ongoing, and the standard tuition and fee refund policy for spring 2020 remains in effect. It is highly recommended that you speak with an academic advisor before withdrawing from a course.

Honors Questions

I am graduating this semester. If I take all Pass (P) grades, how will it impact my degree honors (e.g., Honors, High Honors, etc.)?

If you take a grade of Pass (P) in all of your spring 2020 courses, your degree honors will be calculated based on your cumulative GPA at the end of the fall 2019 semester.

Will a grade of Pass (P) affect my eligibility for Dean’s List?

If a letter grade is taken for any course/s, the letter grade(s) received will dictate your spring 2020 eligibility for Dean’s List, so long as you maintain a minimum of six college-level credits and attain the appropriate term GPA. If, however, you receive a grade of Pass (P) in all courses for the spring 2020 semester, you will not be eligible for the Dean’s List.

How will the Pass/Fail option affect my eligibility for other honors societies?

Each honors society has different requirements regarding GPA in both the major and overall. Typically, an honors society will look at average GPAs and not letter grades in specific courses, so a grade of Pass (P) will have neither a positive nor negative affect on your eligibility for honors society membership.

Specific questions can be directed to your Academic Dean.

Graduating Student Questions

Will opting-in for a grade of Pass (P) in my classes affect my ability to graduate this semester?

Most likely it will not, but it does depend on your individual situation. Students who are struggling to meet minimum GPA standards for program completion may need to earn a letter grade in the spring 2020 semester in order to raise their cumulative GPA. Most graduating students will be able to choose the Pass (P) grade option in their classes with no impact to their graduation status. For graduating students, we highly recommend that you speak with an academic advisor.

Transfer Student Questions

I am planning to transfer next semester to another school or am taking a course as a non-degree student to transfer at the end of this semester. How will a grade of Pass (P) impact my ability to transfer?

For Undergraduate students: Due to the special circumstances surrounding spring 2020, many — but not all — four-year colleges are making exceptions for transferring a grade of Pass (P) for the spring 2020 semester only.

For Graduate students: Graduate programs generally will not accept a Pass/Fail grade for pre-requisite or program admission credit.

You should consult with the transfer professionals or admissions office at the school you are transferring to for their specific institutional policies in this area. In many cases, it may be to your advantage to choose a letter grade.

For specific questions about transfer, you may email the Academic & Transfer Advising Center, advisingcenter@massbay.edu, and a transfer advisor will contact you.

Student Athlete Questions

Will choosing Pass (P) grades impact my athletic eligibility for the 2020-2021 school year?

Potentially. For student athletes, a grade of Pass (P) grade counts as a “C” according to the NJCAA. Therefore, in determining your eligibility, a P grade will count as a 2.0 in the calculation of your GPA.

For specific questions about your athletic eligibility and the Pass/Fail option, please consult Adam Nelson, Director of Athletics at anelson@massbay.edu.

Veterans & Military Questions

I am a veteran receiving GI Bill benefits. How will the Pass/Fail option affect my eligibility for benefits?

If you choose to receive a Pass (P) grade for some or all of your classes, there will be no impact on your eligibility for benefits.

Students who are reported in the final grading process as having stopped attendance may see an impact to their benefits. MassBay must continue to report nonattendance failures to the VA, resulting in the VA creating a debt against the student.

For specific questions about your benefits and the Pass/Fail grading option, please consult Marie Hahs, Coordinator of Veteran and Military Services at mhahs@massbay.edu.

International Students Questions

I am an International Student studying at MassBay on a visa. How will the Pass/Fail option affect my visa?

If you receive a Pass (P) grade for any/all of your classes, there will be no impact to your international student visa.

For specific questions about your visa status and the Pass/Fail grading option, please consult Claudia Ortiz, Assistant Director of International Admission at cortiz@massbay.edu.

Selective Admissions Questions

I am completing pre-requisite coursework for admission into a selective health sciences program at MassBay. How will opting-in to the Pass/Fail option affect my candidacy for these programs?

Several selective Health Sciences programs continue to require minimum grades and some also limit the number of times you can attempt courses required for admission. Opting-in for a Pass (P) grade in a required course will count as an attempt and will likely not meet the program requirement. We strongly recommend speaking with an academic advisor.

Financial Aid Questions

How will a Pass grade affect my Financial Aid?

A Pass (P) grade is counted as attempted and completed course. A grade of Pass (P) does not negatively impact the quantitative or qualitative components of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
Federal aid regulations consider a grade of Pass (P) as completed. Students cannot receive aid for a repeated course after completing the course twice. Letter grades of D or higher also count as completed.

Will selecting the Pass/Fail option impact my current or future eligibility for Student Employment?

No, choosing the Pass/Fail option does not directly impact Student Employment. However, if you have been awarded Federal Work Study, it may affect your Financial Aid eligibility. If you have questions about your Financial Aid status, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at finaid@massbay.edu.

More Questions

Don’t see your question answered here? We are working diligently to continue to provide information for you. Please continue to check back regularly for updates.

In the meantime, we encourage you to submit your questions to Sarah Salerno, Director of Academic & Transfer Advising at ssalerno@massbay.edu, and we will provide you with an answer.