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UPUA Releases Alternative Grading Survey

The University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) is advocating on students’ behalf to reinstate Penn State’s alternative grading system for the fall semester.

UPUA released the survey, which is anonymous and voluntary, seeking students’ thoughts on restoring alternative grading for the fall semester. Should there be enough support, the organization would likely present its findings to Penn State’s Faculty Senate for consideration.

If implemented again, students would be able to replace earned letter grades with one of three options:

  • SAT (Satisfactory) — This grade is available if you earn a C or better in a course. SAT grades meet all C or better conditions, including entrance to major requirements and prerequisites.
  • V (Pass) — This grade is available if you earn a D or better in a course and is considered to be a passing grade. You’ll still earn credits for courses with V grades. They can be used to meet requirements for which D is an acceptable grade.
  • Z (No Grade) — This grade is available if you earn an F in a course. Zs can be used to replace Fs and will be treated the same as a Late Drop (LD) grade.

UPUA suggested alternative grading could be helpful for those struggling with mental health, remote learning or financial burdens, as well as the challenges international students endure.

“UPUA is committed to advocating for the reinstatement of alternative grading because of the continued negative impacts that the pandemic has had on students’ physical and mental health, as well as academic success” UPUA Academic Affairs Chair Paty Birungi said.

The alternative grading system debuted in the spring 2020 semester to accommodate challenges caused by the abrupt switch to remote learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Notably, Penn State’s administration has already said it won’t use alternative grading this fall, citing the unique spring semester as a special circumstance.

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About the Author

Mackenzie Cullen

Sadly, Mackenzie graduated from Penn State in 2022. She majored in English and served as one of Onward State's associate editors. You can keep up with her life and send compliments to @MackenzieC__ on Twitter.

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