Office of the Provost: Academic Grading Policy

By Maria Tanner | March 26, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

In Monday’s message, I mentioned that Academic Affairs is actively listening to the concerns and challenges our community is facing as a result of the coronavirus COVID-19. 

Effective immediately, Arcadia University has adopted a revised pass/fail grading policy for the Spring 2020 semester. The following opt-in policy applies to all undergraduate students, without exception. Individual graduate programs will determine whether their students are eligible to opt-in to this revised pass/fail policy.

  • Students will have an opportunity to opt-in to a pass/fail grading rubric for any or all of their Spring 2020 courses beginning on April 13 and extending until two weeks after they receive their Spring 2020 grades, an end date which we expect to be May 22, 2020. 
  • Please note that students must affirmatively choose to opt-in to the pass/fail grading rubric.
  • Students who choose to retain the standard letter grading rubric can do so and need not take any action.
  • Undergraduate students may elect to opt-in to a pass/fail grading rubric for any undergraduate course, without exception – including courses that fulfill major/minor and Arcadia Undergraduate Curriculum (AUC) requirements. 
  • Faculty will not be notified of students’ grade system choices and will continue recording regular grades throughout the semester.
  • Graduate programs may have specific criteria for courses that are eligible for pass/fail.

Although no academic adviser or instructor approval is necessary for students to opt-in to a pass/fail grading rubric, students are very strongly encouraged to consult with their academic advisers and instructors before making these decisions. This decision is particularly important for undergraduate students who are planning to enter graduate programs that have prerequisites for grades in specific courses, or those who are seeking certification or other credentialing. 

The window to make an opt-in decision begins April 13, which provides time for students to schedule academic adviser and instructor consultations, and to assess otherwise how they are adjusting to the fully online educational environment. The last day to withdraw from courses—only with permission from an adviser—has been extended to April 27 so that students have flexibility as they make their decisions. Additional information about the process will be coming soon. If faculty or students have any questions related to this effort, please email Kate Hanley (, and she will coordinate a response from Academic Affairs.

I am grateful to the students, faculty, and staff who have offered their perspectives on Arcadia’s pass/fail grading policy in recent days. Our Faculty Senate provided the adaptable and collaborative leadership needed to facilitate the necessary discussions to make this adoption possible. 

We are facing one of the most disruptive academic semesters of a generation. This solution is a student-centered approach to uphold our academic values and standards while providing options to help our students bear the stress and uncertainty of these extraordinary circumstances. 

We are #ArcadiaStrong.


Jeff Rutenbeck
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Arcadia University