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The Spring 2020 semester has required some adjustment for students as we transitioned to remote instruction of courses. We recognize that this situation may be challenging, but, as future healthcare professionals, we expect our students to be able to rise to challenging situations.

Penn State is implementing a new opt-in grading system for the spring 2020 semester that will give students flexibility, help preserve GPAs and minimize impacts to students’ transcripts during the academic challenges presented by the novel coronavirus public health crisis.

As you consider your options for alternative grading this semester, keep in mind your future goals of graduate school and the competitive review process in which you will participate. We encourage you to stay motivated and remain focused so you can perform at your best. Completing Spring 2020 with strong letter grades will minimize any potential confusion about how prospective graduate schools will interpret your spring semester grades.

With this in mind, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders offers the following considerations to guide your decision about opting for alternative grading. Note that alternative grading is an option available to all undergraduate students; students who are pleased with their performance will be able to keep their letter grades.

Required CSD courses icon-olus-circle

​​​​​​We strongly encourage you to maintain letter grades for all required CSD courses in which you earn a C or higher grade. These courses include:

  • CSD 146
  • CSD 230
  • CSD 269
  • CSD 300
  • CSD 311
  • CSD 331
  • CSD 341
  • CSD 433
  • CSD 442
  • CSD 444
  • CSD 451
  • CSD 459
  • CSD 462
ASHA and/or graduate school prerequisites icon-olus-circle

We strongly encourage you to maintain letter grades for courses that fulfill ASHA and/or graduate school prerequisites, in which you earn a C or higher. These courses may include:

  • STAT 200 or EDPSY 101
  • PSYCH 100
  • HDFS 129 or PSYCH 212
  • GN-Biological Science
  • GN-Physical Science
  • Linguistics or Applied Linguistics
  • CSD 431
Courses that fulfill General Education and/or elective requirements icon-olus-circle

The general guidance is that you may want to use alternative grading for any course in which you earned a grade lower than your current GPA. For instance, if your GPA were 2.85, you would want to keep letter grades for courses in which you earned a B (3.00) or higher. You would want to select alternative grading for any courses in which you earned a B- (2.67) or lower.  You can see the grade-point equivalent for all letter grades in Senate Policy 47-60

For students admitted to Penn State Summer 2018 or later:

  • CAS 100 and ENGL 202 require a grade of C or better in order to fulfill graduation requirements. You may opt for alternative grading if you earned a C or higher in these courses; a SAT grade will fulfill requirements but will not be calculated into your GPA.
  • GQ-Quantification courses require a grade of C or better in order to fulfill graduation requirements. For STAT 200 or EDPSY 101 see above, under guidance for ASHA prerequisites. If you earned a C or higher in your additional GQ selection you may opt for alternative grading; a SAT grade will fulfill requirements but will not be calculated into your GPA.

Students considering the option of alternative grades are strongly encouraged to consult with their academic adviser in order to fully understand the implications for your future goals.

Additional Resources