The University of Virginia (UVA) announced Monday the school is extending the optional credit grading policy, originally implemented this fall, for all undergraduate and certain graduate classes during January-term and the spring 2021 semester.
Provost Liz Magill made the announcement in a letter to students, which included details on how the grading policy will work.
“After extensive discussion and thoughtful consideration, we determined that it would be best to extend the fall grading policy to both J-term and the spring,” Magill wrote in the letter. “Ultimately, we sought to balance serious concerns raised by students, faculty, and staff about the effects of this pandemic on many of our students, while at the same time honoring the views of those students and faculty who seek to give or receive standard grades.”
When students register for January-term, a two-week period between semesters where students only have one class, or spring semester classes they will have the option to choose standard letter grading or to receive a credit (CR)/general credit (GC)/no credit (NC) grade.
Any courses UVA students take with the credit grading option during those terms will still count toward curricular, major, and graduation requirements, and will not factor into a student’s grade point average (GPA), according to the letter.
Additionally, a credit grade will not hinder students’ ability to apply for a specific major, research program or to switch between UVA’s different schools.
“It is a little bit of a good and bad idea,” Lauren Pitkin, a senior at UVA, told The Virginia Star. “Even though I’m not going to be choosing [credit grades], I do think that it’s a good option for some students because, even though we should be used to online classes by now, every class is super different and it can be more difficult to focus or get work done in one class than it is another, especially based on [professor’s] teaching styles.”
Pitkin, who chose to receive letter grades for classes this semester, also said she thinks credits are more helpful for younger students, opposed to juniors or seniors.
Joseph DiPetto, a fellow senior at the university, offered a slightly different opinion on credit grades.
“There are a lot of different students in different situations, but I don’t really feel it helps much,” DiPetto told The Star. “It kind of just seems like a pass for me, maybe a pass in a more difficult class. It really depends on your major, because for some majors the classes you take are not really contingent on a grade, but for other majors, grades are really important.”
“Last semester I think it was a good option, it was necessary,” DiPetto added. “But, now that [students] have their feet on the ground and we prove we can take classes online that is not really necessary.”
For students that choose the credit system, a CR grade will be given if they meet course requirements for credit (C or higher), GC will be given if a student gets a passing below a C, and NC is given for an F grade, according to the letter.
Magill also noted that before making a decision, students should think about any possible implications of selecting or not selecting credit grades.
“I remain grateful to our students, faculty, and staff for their valuable insight and leadership on this important topic,” Magill wrote.
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Jacob Taylor is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network. Follow Jacob on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “University of Virginia Students” by the University of Virginia.