Pass/Not Pass Option for Courses Impacted by the Transition to Virtual Instruction

Posted March 20, 2020, 5:00 PM

UPDATED 4/13/20: This temporary policy will also apply to courses that were designated to be taught fully online at the start of Spring 2020 semester (e.g. courses with a section designator starting with an “X”).

Iowa State University has adopted a temporary Pass/Not Pass grading option for undergraduate courses impacted by the transition to virtual instruction, effective immediately.

This decision was made after consultation with several stakeholder groups, including the Faculty Senate Executive Board and its Academic Standards Committee, the Department Chairs Cabinet, and Council of Deans. The Graduate College is working on a similar process for graduate course, which will be finalized in the coming days, and communicated to academic departments via their DOGEs.

Details on the Pass/Not Pass (P/NP) grading option:

  • The P/NP option applies to undergraduate courses intended to be in-person throughout Spring 2020, but which were changed to virtual instruction as a result of COVID-19. 
  • Courses taken for P/NP grades during Spring 2020 will count towards curricular, major, academic progress, and graduation requirements.
  • Grades of P and NP will not be factored into a student's grade point average.
  • Faculty will grade students as usual during the semester, and submit the letter grade (A-F, I, R) to the Registrar's Office following the standard submission process.
  • Students will choose to receive either the letter grade recorded by the instructor, OR a P/NP designation. This can be applied to any or all courses changed to virtual instruction. This decision must be made between May 13 and May 19, 2020, by clicking on a link in Access+. If no form is submitted, the letter grade will be recorded for the course.
  • This policy does not apply to 500/600-level courses. Although undergraduates may enroll in these graduate courses, they are subject to the grading policies of the Graduate College.

To accommodate students who may wish to make decisions based on this option, the deadline for dropping courses will be extended to Friday, April 3.

Iowa State has also decided to include a designation on students' transcripts indicating the extraordinary circumstances encountered in the 2020 spring semester.

Thank you for all of your efforts to help students navigate the unique challenge brought on by COVID-19 and the transition to virtual instruction.

Frequently Asked Questions  

Posted March 23, 2020, 9:20 AM

Updated April 17, 2020

Updated April 27, 2020

Please see the FAQ for specific questions related to the temporary P/NP policy for undergraduate courses impacted by the transition to virtual instruction. Updates have been included in this April 17 version of the FAQ document and they are denoted with the date.

What does P/NP designation mean?

Eligibility: Students and Courses

How does this Temporary P/NP Policy Relate to Other University Policies?

Considerations for Students Before Choosing P/NP

Process to Select the P/NP Designation for Spring Semester

Transcript Designation for Spring 2020 Semester