CUNY implements schoolwide credit-only grading system amid distance learning

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Yasmeen Collins | The Ticker

Farah Javed, Copy Chief

In an email sent to CUNY students and staff, Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez detailed how the policy will work.

“In recognition of the difficulty posed by these circumstances, we are enacting a flexible credit/no credit policy, under which students will have 20 days after they receive their grades to decide if they want to convert any or all of the letter grades they earn in their classes to Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grading,” he said.

If a student after receiving their grade in May does not want to have the grade on their transcript, they can choose to utilize this credit/no credit system.

For example, a student that receives a C can choose to get credit for that class, but not have the C appear on their transcript. Students will have to meet with an advisor to understand how the decision will impact their financial aid and graduation.

This is not detrimental, as credit/no credit grades will not lower a student’s GPA. In fact, they will have no impact at all, only counting towards the total credits needed to graduate.

Students in the Baruch College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences already had the option to convert a class to a pass/no credit option by the third week of taking that course.

“The grade glossary, attached to each transcript, will be updated to include a notation denoting that Spring 2020 grades, including CR or NC, were earned during a major disruption to instruction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the official CUNY website states.

Hence, when applying to graduate schools or submitting transcripts for jobs, admissions officers and employers will be aware of why a given class does not have a letter grade.

Other New York colleges and universities have followed suit and implemented a similar policy. Two of these schools are SUNY Cortland and University at Buffalo. The latter is giving students until their last day of finals to convert a class to credit/no credit.

At Baruch, if students decide to make the grading conversion, they will not have to retake any classes they took for credit.

For University at Buffalo, however, “Spring 2020 credits are excluded from the maximum 25% of S/U credits allowed toward a degree.”

Students in the nursing, accounting, occupational therapy and physical therapy programs may be asked to “recover letter grades in major courses and prerequisites in the future,” according to their campus publication, The Spectrum.

With classes being online, students and faculty alike are unable to simply focus on their classes and work. They have to worry about balancing their home life with getting assignments done, others are homeschooling their siblings and some are essential workers still required to go to work. Right now an air of worry and uncertainty pervades the United States, especially in New York where the number of coronavirus cases and deaths is the greatest in the country.

This credit/no credit system is meant to make life easier for students who may not have technology available or just cannot adapt to the online format. With students’ lives greatly disrupted by the virus and assignments only increasing, Baruch students will have to wait and see whether they will accept their letter grades or switch to the credit/no credit system.