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Interim Grading Option: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grade Policy

May 17, 2020

The University of Houston-Clear Lake is implementing an interim grading policy for spring 2020 semester to support students as they move to online/remote course delivery and address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy allows a student to choose either a traditional letter grading scheme or a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading scheme (S/U grade).

Please also see Frequently Asked Questions below.

Decision Period to Choose S/U Grading:
May 21-29, 2020

Students considering the change to S/U grading are strongly advised to consult with an academic advisor, college advisor, and/or financial aid advisor to understand the implications of the change on their future plans, including progress toward a degree or financial aid.

View the S/U Grade Option Student Webinar (April 9)

 

Policies

  1. The course’s current grading scheme remains the default (e.g., Letter grade: A, B, C, D, or F).

  2. Students may choose a S/U grading option on a course-by-course basis.

  3. All programs that normally require a letter grade for a course must accept S/U grades for all courses in the Spring 2020 semester. If the course is a prerequisite for another course, the student who receives a “S” must petition to be allowed into the course if the prerequisite requires greater than a C- for undergraduates and B- for graduates. Once a decision has been made by the student, and the grade converted to S/U, the decision is not reversible. Download the S/U Grading Basis Prerequisite Petition form.

    1. If petitioning to change a prerequisite grade, students must first complete the S/U Grading Basis Prerequisite Petition form and submit to the associate dean of their college for approval.
    2. If approved, the student must then complete the S/U Grade Basis Change Form.
  4. Students are strongly advised to talk with their academic advisor before switching any course to S/U grading. Any students currently not making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid and on an academic plan, should consult with a financial aid advisor prior to switching any course to S/U grading.

  5. To change grading options, students complete the S/U Grade Basis Change Form online though the Office of the Registrar, and submit it prior to 5 p.m., May 29, 2020.

Download the Grade Basis Change Form


For Undergraduate courses, the S/U grading will be applied in this manner:

  • S: Satisfactory will be equal to a C- or above, with no effect on GPA. Hours will count toward graduation.
  • U: Unsatisfactory will be equal to a D or F, with no effect on GPA. Hours do not count toward graduation. Some degree programs may count a D as acceptable for the purpose of degree completion or graduation – students should talk to their academic advisor to determine this before deciding.

undergrad grading policy diagram


For Graduate courses, the S/U grading will be applied in this manner:

  • S: Satisfactory will be equal to a B- or above, with no effect on GPA. Hours will count toward
  • graduation
    U: Unsatisfactory will be equal to a C, D, or F, with no effect on GPA. Hours do not count toward graduation. Grades of “U” cannot by themselves be used as a basis to dismiss students from graduate programs.

Graduate grading policy diagram


Grading Timeline

Faculty will enter final letter grades by May 21, 2020. Students will then have five business days to review final course grades, and a request a change to S/U grading scheme by 5 p.m. on May 29, 2020. Once the required form is completed with the Office of the Registrar, letter grades will automatically be converted into a S/U grade.

Download the Grade Basis Change Form


Drop/Withdrawal Date Extension

In addition to the S/U grading, the course withdrawal deadline has been extended to 11:59 p.m. on April 21, 2020. Withdrawals this semester will NOT count against the state limit on drops if the student identifies COVID-19 challenges as the reason.

 

Student Frequently Asked Questions

April 1, 4 p.m.

  What is the Satisfactory (S)/Unsatisfactory (U) grade option?
 

UHCL is providing students with the option of selecting a satisfactory or unsatisfactory grading option instead of a letter grade. This means that all courses are eligible to be taken on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/US) basis, but that determination is made individually by the students and on a course by course basis. Students will receive a letter grade for their courses, and then have 5 business days to make a choice to keep their letter grade or convert their grade to an S/U.

  Will an S/U grade apply toward my degree?
 

A satisfactory (S) will have no effect on GPA but the hours will count towards graduation. An unsatisfactory (U) will have no effect on GPA and the hours will not count towards graduation.

Note: some degree programs may count a D as acceptable for the purposes of degree completion or graduation. You should consult with advisors or your program faculty to determine this before deciding to move to the S/U grading option for the course.

For Undergraduate courses, the S/U grading will be applied in this manner:

  • S: Satisfactory = C- or above, no effect on GPA, hours count toward graduation.
  • U: Unsatisfactory = D or F, no effect on GPA, hours do not count toward graduation. Some degree programs may count a D as acceptable for the purpose of degree completion or graduation – students should talk to their academic advisor to determine this before making a decision.

For Graduate courses, the S/U grading will be applied in this manner:

  • S:  Satisfactory (B- or above, no effect on GPA, hours count toward graduation)
  • U: Unsatisfactory (C, D, or F, no effect on GPA, hours do not count toward graduation. Grades of “U” cannot by themselves be used as a basis to dismiss students from graduate programs.)

Programs with prerequisite or accreditation requirements may require students to petition to have the S/U grade count for their program requirements. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their course faculty, program faculty, and academic advisors as they make these determinations.

   Is the S/U grade option right for me?
   The decision is up to the student, but we strongly encourage that all students consult with their academic advisor, financial aid advisor and/or faculty before making the decision. For example, certain professional schools may not accept an S grade in their admissions process.
  What is the deadline to choose the S/U grade option for Spring 2020?
 

Students will have the opportunity to review their final course grades which will be posted on or before May 21. Students will have until 5 p.m. on May 29 to complete the grade option change form. The form will be available soon. If, in your course you are aware of your final grade immediately following the last day of finals, then you can begin the paperwork as early as May 17. Some students will want or need to wait until the final grades are posted for their courses, for those students, they might not begin the paperwork until May 21.  Either way, it is important for students to know that they have until 5 p.m. on May 29 to make the decision about whether to take their final letter grade in the course or request their grade be converted to an S/U grade.

  How will the S/U grade option effect my Financial Aid?
 

“S” – An “S” will not have an impact on the calculation of the Financial Aid GPA.  An “S” will count as a completed course towards the calculation of the Financial Aid Completion Ratio.

“U” –  A “U” will not have an impact on the calculation of the Financial Aid GPA. The course will not count towards the completed classes in a student’s ratio calculation; therefore, it will negatively impact the ratio. That does not mean that a student will fail SAP or have to appeal, but if they fall below a 75% ratio or are already on an SAP appeal, they would fail the SAP calculation and need to submit documentation to Financial Aid.

A “U” will not count towards a student’s completed courses for renewal of scholarships.  Students should consult with Financial Aid if they have any questions.

Every student is unique in their financial aid situation. We encourage students to reach out to our office to understand the implications. Students experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19 may be asked to submit documentation.

  What if the course for which I choose the S/U option has a letter grade identified as a prerequisite to another course?
  Under the S/U grading policy, students will need to be very cautious about their program requirements, their future goals, and the way an S/U might impact their educational ‘next steps’. Currently, if a program requires a specific letter grade in a course as a prerequisite to another course, that program can require a student to petition for approval and permission to move on to the next course. It is advised that students consult with their program directors, faculty, and/or academic advisors in order to make the best choices for their future academic plans.
  Will an S/U grade be acceptable if I want to go to graduate or professional school?
  Students are encouraged to consult their program or major faculty before making the determination that S/U grading option will have an effect on their applicability to graduate or professional study.
  What is the appeals process for a S/U grade?
  There is no appeal process within the S/U Grade Policy. Once the student requests a S/U grade in lieu of a letter grade that request is not reversible. A student can choose to appeal a letter grade in the manner and with the process that we have always used. That policy and guidance can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog p. 67 and Graduate Catalog p. 59.  This means that a student effectively has three choices at the end of the semester: a) Keep their letter grade; b) opt to convert to the S/U letter grade option by completing the form or c) appeal their letter grade. Students are encouraged to review the policies and criteria in place for all three of these options before making their decision.
Contact
  • Office of the Provost

    Phone: 281-283-3000
    Fax: 281-283-3009
    Email: provostoffice@uhcl.edu

    Bayou Building, 2525
    2700 Bay Area Blvd, Box 74
    Houston, TX 77058-1002

    Office hours:
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