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Pass/No Pass grading policy for undergraduates during fall 2020 semester

November 17, 2020

Dear Salem State Students, 

I am pleased to let you know that we have heard your concerns about the challenges you have been facing this semester due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your fellow students have brought forward a proposal to extend the temporary Pass/No Pass grading policy for undergraduate students to cover the fall 2020 semester. This proposal was presented to university governance and has been approved. It will cover the majority of our undergraduate courses, with the exception of a small subset of courses that may require letter grades. The list of courses that will require letter grades will be published during the week beginning November 23.   

Faculty members shall enter a standard letter grade for each student enrolled in their class, with the understanding that grades of A through D- shall be automatically converted by the university registrar to a grade of P (pass) and that grades of F shall be automatically converted to a grade of NP (no pass).   

After course grades have been posted (December 26, 2020) students shall reserve the right to change their P grade to the letter grade assigned by the faculty member (e.g., A, A-, B+). The initial deadline for students to notify the university of their decision to exercise this option shall be January 11, 2021. Subsequent notifications to exercise this option shall be submitted to the university registrar as determined by a future policy. Once exercised, the option to revert to a letter grade cannot be reversed. 

This temporary process shall not infringe upon each instructor’s right and responsibility to assess each student’s academic performance and to assign each student an appropriate grade.  

A note to the transcript shall read as follows: “In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, for the spring and fall 2020 semesters, the university adopted a temporary grading policy whereby students were automatically assigned course grades of Pass/No Pass and subsequently afforded the option to have their grade reported with a standard letter grade. Students for whom a grade of P/NP is reported shall be held harmless.” 

We recognize that many members of our community will have significant questions about how this grading system will work for individual students, and in the coming days we will be updating a guide online in Ask the Viking for students, faculty and advisors with additional guidance for students in their decision-making process. 

As we move forward together, please take good care of yourselves and each other. 

Thank you,

David J. Silva, PhD
Provost and Academic Vice President

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