Campus Report

COVID-19 Update from Provost Klesner

Office of Communications
April 1, 2020

Dear Students:

I write to follow up on my message to you of Saturday, March 28, regarding grading policies for this semester. At the Faculty Meeting held yesterday, March 30, the faculty decided to change the grading policy to the following:

  1. All courses without a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grade mode will shift to Pass/Fail (P/F) with hidden grades for Spring 2020. Letter grades will be submitted at the end of the semester by each instructor. Students will receive the grades, but P or F will be recorded on the transcript unless the student requests that the P be replaced with the letter grade received. All coursework receiving a D- or above will have a P recorded on the student's transcript. If the work of the course is an F, that grade will be recorded on the student's transcript. These grades will remain on record with the Office of the Registrar. Students have the ability to request the change of P to a letter grade through the Registrar’s Office at any time after the end of this semester. Once the grade is revealed, it remains a part of the permanent record. If a student chooses a letter grade for a class, the numerical value of that grade will be calculated into the GPA as usual.

  2. For courses in which a letter grade is not an appropriate system for evaluating student performance, faculty may choose to change their courses to Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) by petition to the Curricular Policy Committee.

This decision changes our pass/fail policy from opt-in (choose by May 1) to opt-out (after the fact you may choose to have a letter grade recorded on your transcript and as part of your grade point average). Your instructors (except those in CR/NC courses) will report a letter grade to the Registrar. The Registrar will let you know what the letter grades would have been in your courses. You will then have an opportunity to tell the Registrar which of those grades you would like to have recorded on your transcript as letter grades. Those that you do not ask to have recorded as letter grades will remain P or F (or CR or NC in the case of CR/NC courses).

This policy allows you to change a P to a letter grade at any time in the future. For purposes of calculating your grade point average, class rank, collegiate honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude), and eligibility for Phi Beta Kappa, seniors will have to request the change from P to a letter grade by May 26, 2020. Similarly, students in the classes of '21, '22, and '23 will need to choose to change to a letter grade by April 15 of their graduating year for purposes of determining collegiate honors. Again, at any time in the future, though, you can change a P earned in the Spring 2020 semester to the letter grade that exists behind the P.

In year courses (e.g., SPAN 111-112) the grade recorded for the fall semester will convert to the grade received at the end of the course and will be recorded as P or F. Again, a student may choose to reveal the whole year’s grade if one wants to do that. In addition, if a student wants to keep the fall semester letter grade but leave the spring semester grade as P or F, that option is available.

Courses recorded as P/F for the Spring 2020 semester and year-long courses do not count toward the college limit of 3.0 units of P/D/F. Similarly, courses for one’s major may be recorded as P/F in Spring 2020.

When it examines student records at its semi-annual review of students who are on Conditional Enrollment or who might be placed on Conditional Enrollment, the Committee on Academic Standards will see the grade the student has chosen, either P/F or a letter grade, whichever the student has opted to keep.

This policy also applies to students who were studying off campus in Spring 2020 and are now completing courses remotely. We treat OCS courses as the equivalent of transfer credit, and ordinarily convert, say, a “B” earned on an OCS program as “TB” on the transcript, meaning “Transfer B.” While some OCS programs are offering P/F, in the case of programs that provide letter grades, a course that is recorded as a passing grade (A-D) on the transcript sent by your OCS provider (e.g., CIEE, SIT, Arcadia, etc.) will now be recorded as “TP” unless you ask that it be changed to the corresponding letter grade (TA, TB, etc.) by April 15 of your graduating year. OCS students should be aware that graduate schools and employers often request transcripts from the original program provider. What is recorded on providers’ transcripts (including letter grades) may become known even if you have opted to have P/F recorded on your Kenyon transcript. Please remember that we do not include transferred courses in the calculation of your GPA.

Thank you for sharing your views about the grading policy last week, and thank you for your patience as the faculty has sought to determine the best path for Kenyon. As I think you will be able to see, this policy will now give you even more choice about your grades this semester.

Good luck in the weeks ahead.

Joseph L. Klesner

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