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California State University, Fullerton
Titans Return: COVID-19 Recovery

To limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus, see the University’s COVID-19 Mitigation Measures & Guidelines (Presidential Directive No. 21).  View the full directive.

Academic Year 2020-21 Credit/No-Credit Grading Basis for Faculty

NOTE TO OUR FACULTY: The following FAQs are designed to describe the extended time for students to opt for CR/NC grading basis in courses that offer that option during the fall 2020 and spring 2021 terms. This is but one effort toward helping our Titans amid the sustained COVID disruptions.

For all courses exclusively established with a CR/NC grading option at the beginning of the semester, students will now be able to select the CR/NC option for those courses only by the last day of classes (Friday, December 11, 2020 for fall 20 and Friday, May 14, 2021 for spring 21) and before final exam week. Students will be encouraged to seek in-depth academic and student services advisement and information resources to help them make the best decisions possible, helping them to understand that before they choose they must be made aware of a number of consequences; as such, the CR/NC grading option may or may not be beneficial to some individuals. Opting for CR/NC grades can have numerous effects for certain populations of students (such as veterans, financial aid recipients, students on academic probation, students repeating course(s) to improve a prior grade, re-entry students in Extended Education, student-athletes, students who may need a letter grade to satisfy major requirements, students in pre-licensure or credential programs, students in post-baccalaureate programs to prepare for professional school, etc.). Therefore, comprehensive communication involving outreach by various measures will be key under the 2020-2021 CR/NC DEADLINE EXTENSION Campaign.

When you are approached by students with questions about grading requirements in their major, please recommend that they visit their department or Student Success Center, click on “Student Success Teams”) and for questions about General Education courses, they should visit the Academic Advisement Center.

What is grading basis?

Grading in the California State University (CSU) is governed by Title 5 Administrative Code of California Section 40104.01, CSU Executive Order 1037 and systemwide memorandum ASA-2016-08. These policy documents specify utilization of grading designations for letter grades (A through F) and credit/no credit grades (CR/NC), and the use of +/- designations for letter grades.

How are we defining the CR/NC grading basis here at CSUF?

At Cal State Fullerton, for the fall 2020 term (and longer as required due to the COVID-19 pandemic), the CR/NC grading option for those courses originally designated to have that option at the beginning of the semester, will be allowed until the last day of classes in the semester and before final examinations week.

  • Undergraduate Courses: CR=A through C, NC=C- to F grades
  • (For the Golden Four undergraduate GE courses, a letter grade and not CR/NC is required and C – is still acceptable as a minimum passing grade.)
  • Graduate Courses: CR=A through B, NC=B- through F grades

Under what authority can our campus implement the CR/NC grading basis?

The Chancellor’s Office has given campuses the authority to choose their own grading options during the COVID-19 crisis.

Can students select either to keep the final letter grade that I assign or opt for the CR/NC equivalent grade for my class?

No, unlike the spring 2020 CR/NC process, students must now select their option for those courses that are eligible for CR/NC before final grades are assigned.

What is the timeframe for students to opt for the equivalent CR/NC grade for my class?

Students must choose the CR/NC option by the last day of classes before final examinations.

Can students change grading basis options after the fall 2020 term?

Students would need to follow the Records and Registration Retroactive Change of Grading Basis Petition process to change any fall 2020 grades. This process has a fee, and only CR/NC grades can be changed to equivalent letter grades; a letter grade cannot be retroactively changed to the CR/NC equivalent grade.

Will course withdrawals be handled differently amid the COVID-19 disruption for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 terms?

No, normal withdrawal processes per UPS 300.016 will be followed, including requirements for proper documentation and approval for only the most serious and compelling reasons after the census date and prior to the last twenty percent of instruction.

Per CSU EO 1037, students may withdraw from up to 18 units of coursework attempted at Cal State Fullerton. This will not been changed for fall 2020 and spring 2021.

What happens if students just stop attending my class?

Faculty should continue to abide by UPS 300.018, Withdrawal Unauthorized – Issuance of WU Grade, which advises instructors to assign a WU when a student who is enrolled on the census date does not officially withdraw from a course but fails to complete it. The WU symbol is used when, in the opinion of the instructor, satisfactory or unsatisfactory completion of the class by use of the letter grade (A – F) is not feasible.

How can my students complete the required service learning and internships hours requirements given the COVID-19 disruptions?

While UPS 411.600, Policy on Service Leaning and UPS 411.601, Policy on Academic Internships require students to complete a certain number of hours to complete Service Learning or Internships, as articulated in Senate Resolution ASD 20-40, the Academic Senate encourages instructors, department chairs, and deans to collaborate and find alternative assignments and activities to fulfill the Service Learning and Internship hour requirements (if possible) during the COVID-19 crisis. It would be wise for students to check with an advisor to see if the authorities requiring such field work/service learning/internships will find alternatives to be acceptable.

Can I just award Incomplete grades to my students?

Yes, but incomplete grades must be awarded in accord with UPS 300.017, Incomplete Authorized (I) and Incomplete Charged (IC). There are many circumstantial considerations that should be evaluated on a case by case basis.

What about grades for lab, studio and other physical location courses?

These classes will be treated like all other classes.

Can a CR grade satisfy prerequisite and major courses?

Prerequisites may not necessarily be satisfied with a CR grade, and the student should check with an adviser in their major or their college. Unlike spring 2020, major courses have reverted back to the requirement for a letter grade. There is a small number of major courses that are only available as CR/NC, and thus would be a normal exception to this general rule. To be sure, students are urged to contact their major advisor or college Student Success Team.

Can students choose CR/NC grading basis options for upper-division writing requirement (UDWR)- and Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)- certified courses for the fall 2020 term?

No, a grade of C or better is required for undergraduate students to satisfy upper division writing. For graduate students, departments can choose alternate means to assess meeting the GWAR.