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U.Va. announces opt-in credit/general credit/no credit grading option for undergraduates

Students must opt into the system no later than Nov. 6

Grades of credit/general credit/no credit will not factor into a student’s GPA and will count towards major and graduation requirements.
Grades of credit/general credit/no credit will not factor into a student’s GPA and will count towards major and graduation requirements.

Students will be able to opt into a credit/general credit/no credit grading system between Nov. 2 and Nov. 6 for their classes this semester, per a University-wide email sent Friday afternoon by Provost Liz Magill. Unlike last semester, when credit/general credit/no credit was the default option for grades, students must opt in no later than Nov. 6 — about one month before final exams.

The decision was made with “unanimous agreement” from undergraduate school deans, as well as engagement with students, student leaders and faculty and staff, who have cited higher levels of anxiety, stress and other challenges related to the pandemic.

“While no decision about grading will be welcomed by all, on balance, this solution seemed the most targeted to the legitimate and serious concerns raised by students, faculty and staff, without changing the grading system in ways that would have additional consequences for students and faculty who are relying on giving or receiving standard grades,” Magill wrote.

Under this system, students who achieve a grade of C or better will receive a credit. General credit will be awarded to students who earn a passing grade below a C, and a letter grade of F will denote a grade of no credit. Grades of credit/general credit/no credit will not factor into a student’s GPA. Though courses taken for credit/general credit/no credit will count towards major and graduation requirements, Magill said that students should consider that graduate and professional school admissions will view the grades throughout their admissions processes. 

The decision comes after an open letter authored by student leaders urging the University to adopt a default credit/general credit/no credit grading option this semester garnered over 1,700 signatures. Student Council also passed a resolution earlier this semester in support of extending the spring semester’s grading policy, and the Faculty Senate discussed a resolution Monday on whether it should advance discussion of a system that would require students to apply to take their classes credit/general credit/no credit. 

According to the email, University Registrar Laura Hawthorne will follow up with more information on how students can change their grading preferences in SIS. Magill also said that the University will make a decision on grading for the spring 2021 semester no later than December.

The updated grading policy only applies to undergraduates, and Magill added that deans of the Darden School of Business, School of Medicine and School of Law will be announcing decisions on this matter to their respective schools soon.

The announcement comes less than a week before the last day to drop a class, which is Tuesday. The last day to withdraw from a class is Tuesday, Oct. 27.

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