New Grade Options for Students

Thursday, April 2, 2020, 8:45 a.m.

A Message from Stanton Reed, Faculty Association President, and Kathleen Plinske, Executive Vice President and Provost

Over the last few weeks, we have been engaged in many conversations with faculty and academic leaders about how to mitigate the impact of the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic on our students and their academic journeys. We appreciate your untiring commitment, ideas, and collaborative spirit in addressing our students’ academic and emotional well-being.

Today, we will send this email to all students enrolled in Spring courses to introduce two new grade options:

  • Unenroll from a course in the spring term and retake the course in the future
  • Elect into an optional satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading system

The lives of all students, like all of ours, have been significantly disrupted, and these new grade options are designed to have no impact on a student’s GPA. Students will have the opportunity to choose these options on a course-by-course basis; students who elect neither option will maintain our current letter grade scale.

Unenroll/Retake Option

Students who choose to unenroll and retake a course will be removed from the course with the opportunity to retake the course in the future. This option will appear as an R20 for the spring term on their transcript. Students who retake the course in Summer 2020 will have tuition and fees for the course waived. The opportunity to retake the course at no cost will be extended into the Fall if the course is not available during the summer or in consideration of other special hardships. The final grade assigned to students when they retake the course will be posted on their transcript for the term during which they retake the course, and the R20 grade will remain on their transcript for the Spring 2020 term.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Option

If students elect into the optional satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading system, they will receive one of the following grades:

  • Satisfactory + (S+), representing a grade of C or better
  • Satisfactory – (S-), representing a grade of D
  • Unsatisfactory (U), representing a grade of F

A grade of S+ will satisfy prerequisite and graduation requirements that require a grade of C or better.

Final Grade Assignment Process for Faculty 

The process of assigning final grades will not change for faculty as the result of these new options. Students who choose the retake option will be automatically removed from your Canvas shell. For students who elect the satisfactory/unsatisfactory option, the final letter grade you assign to the student will be automatically converted to an S+, S-, or U as described.

Feedback from Faculty

We have had to make decisions about these new grade options more quickly than our normal collaborative design processes would allow in order to make them available to students this Spring. We collected feedback from our Faculty Association membership about both options in late March, and received nearly 250 responses. While there was not unanimity in the responses, there was overwhelming support for both options.

We have heard concerns that some students who were not performing well in their courses before the pandemic emerged will have the opportunity to choose one of these new options and receive a “free pass” this semester. While we acknowledge the concern, every student has been impacted by the pandemic in some way, regardless of their course standing prior to spring break. We have concluded that the opportunity for flexibility provided to all students outweighs the potential of a few — whose circumstances we do not fully understand — taking advantage of these new options.

Suggested Text to Share with Students

While we will send all students an Atlas email today, we encourage you to share this information with students as well. Please feel free to copy/paste the following language:

To limit COVID-19’s disruption to your academic plans, offer you increased flexibility, and ease your academic stress, Valencia College is introducing two new grade options. These grade options include the opportunity to:

  • Unenroll from a course in the spring term and retake the course in the summer 2020 term
  • Elect into an optional satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading system

For detailed information about these options, including details that can help you decide if these alternatives are a good choice for you, please click here.

Once you have reviewed this detailed information, you can elect the retake and/or satisfactory/unsatisfactory option until Friday, April 17, 2020, at 10 p.m. You’ll find information on how to elect these options on this webpage.

If you would like to connect with an advisor to discuss your individual situation and if either of these grade options are a good choice for you, please contact your advisor or email us at International students should contact International Student Services at

A Special Thank You

We sincerely thank you for all of the ways in which you are supporting our students during this incredibly challenging time. We also deeply appreciate the grace that you are extending to them, to one another, and to us. We will thrive through this, together.

1 Comment

  • Ibrahim salah said:

    Grades option

    PMTue, 07 Apr 2020 17:29:33 +0000Tue, 07 Apr 2020 17:29:33 +0000pm20,5:29 pm

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