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Universities give students a grading option amid pandemic

March 27, 2020 GMT

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s three public universities have announced grading options as the COVID-19 pandemic forces students into online education instead of classroom instruction.

As University of Iowa and Iowa State University undergraduate students returned from spring break this week, they are being allowed to take the letter grades their instructors record or choose a pass/nonpass option. The Gazette reported that the new option could help students who, for example, don’t do as well as they believe they could have without the coronavirus-related disruptions.

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University of Iowa graduate students will be allowed to take letter grades or choose a “satisfactory/unsatisfactory” grading option. Iowa State announced its graduate college is working on a similar temporary grading option.

The University of Northern Iowa already had a “credit/no credit” option but has announced that, “due to the extraordinary circumstances,” the campus has modified and expanded its use.

The three universities will add a designation on all student transcripts “indicating the extraordinary circumstances encountered during the 2020 spring semester,” according to a message sent to University of Iowa students Wednesday.

The pass or not-pass marks won’t factor into a student’s grade-point average.