CUNY Authorizes colleges to use the Credit/No Credit option for Fall 2020

With only two days of classes left in the fall semester a memo from Thomas J Jennings, assistant dean and registrar, at CUNY SPS, says “students can select the flexible grading policy for one or even all courses. You can also choose to keep whatever traditional letter grade was earned.” The memo also urges students to discuss this with the academic and financial aid advisors to “help you think through it”.

Academic Advisor, Anjali Anderson-Buckley says students have already contact her about the newly released policy.  The advice depends on the individual student.  “If a student has a low GPA, and the earned grade can help improve the GPA, opting into this policy is not advised” Anderson-Buckley said.  Also, students applying to graduate programs, need to keep in mind specific letter grades for some courses are required. Conversely, “if a student knows they are failing, academically a W might be better than a NC,” Anderson-Buckley said. 

A communications and media senior at CUNY SPS, Carson Borson, took advantage of flexible grading earlier in his studies while a student at Hunter College because the classes were difficult and flexible grading did not affect his GPA.  “Personally, I would never choose Credit/ No Credit for one of the classes that are pertaining to my major” said Borson, “there’s a stigma around it, because it means you didn’t do well in that class.” Borson is planning to continue his studies at the Graduate Center in the fall of 2021.

CUNY authorized its 25 colleges to Use Credit/No Credit Option also known as flexible Grading on Dec 10th.  Currently, CUNY SPS grading policies do not include flexible grading which allows students enrolled in most classes the option to convert the traditional letter grade earned (any grade from B+ to D-) into a grade of Credit (CR) or F to No Credit (NC). Taking advantage of flexible grading does not affect the overall grade point average. 

In 2020, 295 students took advantage of the No Credit Spring Flexible Grading Policy and converted an F grade to No Credit.  For this semester, the details around when students can to opt-in is not yet determined.  Jennifer Grace Lee, associate dean of enrollment management and student services, says “we are working on getting the Fall 2020 time period for students to opt in and should be ready by the middle of next week.”

Alternatively, CUNY SPS offers students the option to utilize an Incomplete (INC) grade, a temporary grade issued until outstanding work is submitted by the following fall or spring semester.  If the work is not completed on time the temporary INC converts to a permanent F on the record.  Antoinette Burgos, communications and media, senior says she would rather take advantage of an incomplete instead flexible grading because “it is important to get a grade, as a credit /no credit does not affect GPA” said Burgos “and I want my GPA to be positively affected because I’m hustling to get into grad school.” 

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