Penn State students can change their grades AFTER receiving them

Students who got Fs will have the option of choosing a weightless “Z” instead.

In an effort to make life easier for students impacted by coronavirus, Penn State is allowing students to change to a non-traditional grading scale after receiving their final grade.

Pennsylvania State University students will have the option of changing their spring 2020 grades after receiving them.

”At the end of the spring semester, once students receive their letter grades, they will have the option, on a course by course basis, for those grades to remain as letter grades or to appear as one of three options on a new satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading scale,” the university announced in a recent update on its coronavirus FAQ page.

The school cited the “unprecedented time,” noting that it recognizes the “change in [students’] learning environments and the need for a rapid adaptation to remote learning.”

[RELATED:  Prof tells students to ‘stop’ doing their work: ‘A’s for every student’]

After students receive their grades for their semester, they will have the option of changing their grades to a different scale, one that will have no weight on a student’s GPA.

Grades of C or better can be changed to a grade of “SAT” for “satisfactory.” A D grade can be changed to a “V”, and failing grades can become Zs.

The Daily Collegian  reports that associate vice president and senior associate dean for undergraduate education Yvonne Gaudelius explained during a virtual town hall that a Z mark will indicate “no grade designation,” while a V mark indicates “pass.”

[RELATED: Ivy League prof: Just give everyone an A]

Gaudelius said that the point of the new system is to allow students to maintain “flexibility and control,” and to “minimize the negative impact on GPA and transcripts.”

The university noted in its announcement that this new grading model will only be available to undergraduate students, but that the university “will be sharing more information soon,” regarding a plan for graduate students. 

In a recent interview with Campus Reform, American Council of Trustees and Alumni director of academic affairs Jonathan Pidluzny reacted to colleges lowering academic standards, even amid a global pandemic. 

“One of the purposes of assigning letter grades and making fine distinctions...students really do want to end the semester with a 4.0 average. And that concern, that anxiety, that stress push them to work hard,” Pidluzny said. “It’s not grading for the sake of putting anxiety on the student, it’s grading for the sake of creating an incentive that will lead students to work harder.”

“High standards are your friend. The higher standard, the more you’re going to push yourself. And it’s in pushing yourself to do better work, to study harder, that you actually make the gains that college is supposed to teach,” he added.

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