UNC Charlotte is giving students the option for a pass/no credit grading system to replace their current grades in some of their courses. Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Joan F. Lorden initially announced on Oct. 29 that a pass/no credit grading policy was in the works; on Nov. 20, that policy was put into place.
Starting on Monday, Nov. 23, students were able to choose to replace a grade with pass/no credit, according to the most recent email from Provost Lorden. For the fall 2020 semester, students can select up to two courses for pass/no credit by Dec. 14. For the spring and summer 2021 terms, students can choose pass/no credit by Jan. 27 and May 25 respectively. Each student gets a maximum of three courses that they are allowed to replace their grade with pass/no credit for the entire school year (spring and summer courses included). Only two of the three pass/no credit courses can be used for the fall 2020 semester. The remaining pass/no credit course can be used for the spring and summer 2021 semesters.
Taking certain classes as pass/no credit may preclude some people from advancing in certain majors, so be sure to consult with an advisor before changing your grading system. Be aware of courses that require a prerequisite class with a grade of C or better, because the "pass" may not satisfy this requirement.
Student and faculty react to the grade replacement option
The transition to virtual learning has also put a strain on professors. Professor Debbie Baker, a Public Speaking Faculty Coordinator within the Department of Communication Studies, says that teaching virtually has come with its own set of unexpected challenges and pleasant surprises.
“Transitioning my teaching, service and professional commitments to online platforms has been time-consuming,” she said. “I have had frequent 12-hour workdays compounded with health and family responsibilities to mitigate.”
When asked about if and how the grading system could be beneficial to students, Baker said that this pass/no credit grading system can “provide some relief to those who are struggling with educational and/or personal challenges.”
Some students have mixed feelings about the grading option for this semester. Freshman Ryleigh Williamson believes that “this pass/no credit option can really help out some students.” However, she says “ I have been working really hard to get the letter grade I want and deserve."
Williamson added that although this can be a great opportunity for other students, she would rather take the letter grade than the pass/no credit option.
Other students won’t benefit from the pass/no credit option. Freshman Sammy Williams struggled at the beginning of the semester and was looking forward to utilizing the pass/no credit option; however, the grading system is not available for some of her courses.
“I was actually really excited seeing that chemistry has been so tough online for me and so many other students," said Williams. "But unfortunately I can’t use chemistry as a pass no credit class.”
She added that most of her courses are sequenced and if she wants to move on to the next course in her major, she can’t have a pass or no credit on her transcript. Like many students, Williams “would like to know why we can’t use pass no credit on sequencing classes. Getting a pass means at least a C and I don't want to ruin my GPA.”
Editor's note: This article previously referred to the pass/no credit grading system as a form of "grade replacement." This wording was changed to be more accurate. Grade replacements typically refer to repeating a class and overriding the previous grade with a new one. The pass/no credit system is entirely different. We regret this ambiguity.