Use of temporary Pass (P) grading

To: Instructors with Unposted Undergraduate Fall Grades

From: Richard Hughey, Vice Provost, Undergraduate Education

Dear Instructors with Unposted Undergraduate Fall Grades,

Fall grades were due on December 18th, 2019. Since this date, we have been working together with deans, department chairs, and faculty regarding missing grades in an effort to post grades and mitigate impacts, with a focus on students’ financial aid, enrollment status, graduation, major declaration and other academic decisions.

As of today, many students do not have a grade in one or more courses. Some faculty have requested access to the ‘P’ grade because they have sufficient information to confirm some or all ungraded students in their class have earned a C or better, but due to lack of complete information are not able to fully differentiate among the exact letter grades that would convert to a Pass.

Having received concurrence from the Academic Senate Committee on Educational Policy (CEP), I have asked University Registrar Sanger to make available the Pass (P) grade as an option for letter-graded undergraduates as an interim measure.

The use of ‘P’ grades will allow for academic processes to continue (additional information regarding each can be found below in “Detailed Information on Expected P grade Impacts”).

For example, enrollment appointments will be set on February 12th. In the absence of a ‘P” grade, a student with missing grades, and hence missing units, will be scheduled for a later enrollment appointment time than a fully graded student. This means that students with missing grades may find more classes filled and receive worse waitlist positions than would be the case if all their grades had been posted.

This option is now available for instructors to assign to students who had chosen the letter grade option. Pass (P) grades for undergraduates who requested letter grades are to be regarded as temporary, to be changed on MyUCSC (AIS) once the instructor has sufficient information to assign the correct letter grade. The Pass (P) grade should only be assigned for student’s “work which would otherwise receive a grade of C (2.0) or better” (Academic Senate Regulation 9.1.2). An assigned P grade should not be changed to a grade lower than a C at a future time.

Additional information about expected impacts of P grade assignment are below. The Not Passed (NP) grade option is not being made available for reasons that are explained below.

Thank you,

Richard Hughey
Vice Provost and Dean, Undergraduate Education

Detailed Information on expected P grade impacts

CEP discussed the academic impact of missing grades in its January 27th memo, including major declaration; determination of class level and enrollment appointments; graduation and degree satisfaction; prerequisites; and academic standing. Missing grades can also affect quarterly dean’s honors and the financial aid status of students.

Assigning an interim Pass (P) grade to a student who has elected letter grades will have impacts that will generally be positive among the 7 domains discussed above. For the great majority of students, it will be better to temporarily have a Pass (P) grade than a missing grade.

  • Major declaration. A Pass (P) grade will confirm satisfaction of a major declaration requirement, but will not contribute to the major declaration GPA requirement, if applicable. To the extent that the true grade may have shifted the overall declaration GPA above or below the threshold, some students who should not have to may need to appeal to declare the major, and others who should have been subject to appeal may not need to. Programs will need to be sensitive to these issues.
  • Class level and enrollment appointments. A Pass (P) grade will mitigate impacts with respect to class level and enrollment appointment.
  • Graduation and degree satisfaction. A Pass (P) grade will in general mitigate impacts with respect to graduation and degree satisfaction with the exception of students just below the 2.0 GPA threshold for graduation, who thus need grades, and grade points, higher than a C (2.0), in order to raise the GPA to meet this UC requirement. Some programs have letter-grade requirements, which programs may choose to waive for students with a P grade as a result of the grade strike. Students may not be eligible for department or University Honors for students not meeting the GPA standard.
  • Prerequisites. A Pass (P) grade will confirm prerequisite satisfaction.
  • Academic standing. A Pass (P) grade will not influence the GPA, meaning that a student in poor standing would not have the advantage of an A or B to increase their GPA. A P grade will generally be positive for academic standing review or appeals as a qualitative indicator of academic achievement.
  • Quarterly Dean’s Honors. A Pass (P) grade may change eligibility for quarterly Dean’s Honors, which requires that students earn a minimum of 15 credits, including at least 10 with letter grades, and achieve a 3.73 GPA. A P grade may result in a higher or lower quarter GPA, and multiple P grades may impact eligibility based on letter grade credits.
  • Financial Aid. A Pass (P) grade will be generally positive in financial aid processes, with the exception of students needing to improve their GPA.

The Pass (P) grade, “C or higher,” may be considered a lower indicator of achievement than our most commonly-assigned grades (A or B, with or without modifier). Students with P grades may be impacted in situations that include transcript review, such as graduate school application.

The Not Passed (NP) grade has not been added as an option. This is because the NP reflects one non-passing grade (F), and four marginally-passing grades (D-, D, D+, C-). The four marginally-passing grades contribute to academic progress toward the 180-unit requirement, and thus are important to be assigned, especially for financial aid issues. As previously messaged to departments, work with your TAs to ensure that the grades for any non-passing and marginally-passing students are posted.