CSUN’s administration has endorsed student flexibility in its decision to switch to alternative grading standards for the spring 2020 semester. The Faculty Senate and Associated Students presidential cabinet made the ultimate decision to grant students the power to choose if they will receive letter grades or not, according to Faculty Senate Vice President Michael Neubauer.
Students will have the choice to declare if they want to be graded on the standard “A through F” scale, an “A through C or no credit” model, or simply receive “credit or no credit” on their courses. If selected, the “credit or no credit” option will not have any effect on a student’s grade point average.
“Students should check with advisors if they want to switch their grade system to credit or no credit, to see if this has a negative impact on their academic progress,” said Neubauer, who is also a mathematics professor.
Students have from April 8 to May 1 to declare a new grading basis. The change can be made through the Northridge Portal’s Solar Student Center. A step-by-step guide has been posted to the university’s website.
In addition to the flexible grading structure, the university pushed back the due date for late schedule adjustments to drop a class without a formal request, as long as they disclose compelling reasoning to back up their need to drop.
The form to request a drop can be found here. The deadline for the form is Friday, April 17. First time freshmen currently enrolled in at least 15 units are allowed to drop classes through the Matador Academic Challenge up until April 10.
Letter grades could be necessary for a student attempting to receive honors, make the dean’s list or meet requirements for financial aid or scholarships.Professional societies and funding sources, including CSUN athletics, may enforce a GPA-based requisite to receive respective campus benefits.
Neubauer said that classes which were already graded on a “credit or no credit” system will not be authorized to change to a letter grade scale.
An Educational Policies Committee met on April 1 to solidify the transition to the new approach to grading.
According to Neubauer, the CSU Board of Trustees recognizes that all 23 campuses have unique differences. This being said, there will not be a CSU-wide student flexibility model that mirrors CSUN’s approach.
“They probably did not want to come up with a ‘one size fits all’ policy, but leave it to the individual campuses to make their own decisions,” Neubauer said. “You know there are guidelines, there are some things we can’t do. We can’t just say, ‘Everybody gets an A,’ so those are the kinds of constraints the Board of Trustees has on us. But the grading scenes that are being discussed are being allowed by the Board of Trustees.”
The new system was first brought to light in President Dianne F. Harrison’s campus-wide email delivered March 23. In the email, she reassured her commitment to prioritizing student learning outcomes.
“We have also asked faculty to be as flexible as possible in accommodating students with special circumstances related to the disruption,” Harrison wrote. “For all of these reasons, we believe that students will receive a meaningful educational experience despite the national emergency we are facing.”
Ediotr’s Note: A correction was made to the deadline for students to drop classes. The correct date is April 17 for students and April 10 for first-time freshmen taking at least 15 units.