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End of term grading options (Fall 2020 & Winter 2021 semesters)

End of term grading options (Fall 2020 & Winter 2021 semesters)

Here is a handy index to help your navigation when considering your grading options for this academic year:

  1. Withdrawal Date Extended
  2. PASS/ILL Grade Options
  3. PASS/ILL & Withdraw (W) at a glance (CHART)
  4. Conclusion

1. WITHDRAWAL DATE IS EXTENDED

For the 2020-2021 fall and winter terms, students have the option of withdrawing from a course with a grade of W until the last day of classes (December 8, 2020 for fall term and April 8, 2021 for the winter term).

What this means:

  • You have until the last day of class to withdraw.
  • If you withdraw you will have a W on your transcript. This means that the course will not be included in any GPA calculations.
  • A W grade MAY affect your eligibility for several things, including student loans, scholarships and other external funding, international student status, or your varsity status.
  • As per the refund schedule, there is no tuition refund for Fall 2020 courses dropped after November 2, 2020 and for Winter 2021 courses dropped after March 8, 2021.

How to withdraw from a course (excluding FYP):

  • Login to Dal Online -> Web for Students -> Registration -> Add/Drop Classes

Students considering a late withdrawal are encouraged to consult with an academic advisor to determine if this is the best option. More information about a grade of W can be found on Dalhousie’s website.

FYP students: Please refer to the FYP communications you have already received for detailed information. The “W” option for FYP was available to you until February 1, 2021.

What this means:

  • You have until February 1 to withdraw from FYP.
  • You will not receive any credit for either term of the course.
  • If you withdraw you will have a W on your transcript. This means that the course will not be included in any GPA calculations.
  • A W grade MAY affect your eligibility for several things, including student loans, scholarships and other external funding, international student status, or your varsity status.

You must contact the FYP Office at FYPOffice@ukings.ca to discuss any withdrawal from FYP.

2. PASS/ILL GRADE OPTIONS

What are PASS/ILL Grades

  • A grade of PASS simply indicates an achievement of passing the course. It is a neutral grade which is not included in GPA calculations. Credit is obtained in the course.
  • A grade of ILL is a neutral grade which is granted for compassionate reasons or illness. It is a neutral grade which is not included in GPA calculations. Credit is NOT obtained in the course.
  • In recognition of the impact of COVID-19 on student’s academic performance and well-being, both grade options have been made available for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms.

What Grade Options Are Available

  • If you receive a passing grade in your course, you may:
    • Keep your final letter grade and earn the credit for your course
    • Choose to have your grade changed to PASS and earn the credit for your course. This is an option that you may consider if you feel that your academic performance was significantly negatively impacted by circumstances resulting from the shift to online learning or changed personal circumstances due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
    • You (and university advisors) will have access to the original mark through your Degree Audit (DARS), but it will not be reflected on your transcript.
  • If you do not receive a passing grade in your course, you may:
    • Choose to have the grade changed to an ILL grade. Although you still do not receive credit for the course, the ILL grade will not negatively impact your GPA.

More information about PASS/grades, including FAQ and information on how to submit a grade change request, can be found in Dalhousie’s Academic Support section.

What is the process for requesting a PASS/ILL grade?

It is important to note that your request cannot be considered until you have received final grades in all courses that you are registered for in the term. Once you have received final grades in all your courses for the term, you can submit a request for a grade change to PASS or ILL (see above) through your Dal Online.

To do so:

  1. Login to your DalOnline account.
  2. Click on Student Records > Academic Record
  3. Select “Apply for PASS/ILL grades for fall or winter 2020-21 courses”
  4. Complete the waiver form and all required fields. Please note that you will need to select and enter your request for each course you would like considered. There will also be questions to allow for you to indicate if you are a potential graduate for Spring 2021 or an Honours student if these apply to you.

For the Fall 2020 term, this process will be available starting Friday, December 4, 2020. For the Winter 2021 term, this process will be available starting Monday, April 5, 2021. Please note: As FYP is a multi-term course with a final grade only being assigned at the end of the Winter term, the PASS/ILL option is not available for FYP in the Fall term. FYP students can make still make this request for any electives/additional courses.

The deadline to apply for this waiver for Fall 2020 was February 1, 2021.

The deadline to apply for Winter 2021 is June 1, 2021.

Upon submission, your waiver request will be sent through to the Dalhousie Registrar’s Office who will verify all required information and then forward your request along to the designated Advisor for your program and level of study. Your Advisor will reach out to you to discuss your options if and as needed and/or be in touch to notify you of the outcome of your waiver request. For FYP, this Advisor is Dr. Susan Dodd (susan.dodd@ukings.ca). Dr. Dodd will reach out to you to discuss your options if and as needed and/or be in touch to notify you of the outcome of your waiver request.

Important Points to Consider as You Think Through the PASS/ILL Grade Option

Pre-requisites: A grade of PASS will count as having achieved the basic pre-requisite requirement of passing a given course at King’s/Dal. However, a PASS will not automatically be accepted as a pre-requisite for courses where a minimum grade is required (e.g. a C or above in the pre-requisite course). Prerequisites with minimum grade requirements will be assessed using the original final grade you received in your course. Your advisor can inform you about the process for requesting instructor permission if your final grade is below the minimum requirement for a course. A grade of ILL will not count as having achieved any pre-requisite requirements as the credit was not successfully earned.

Honours requirements: A grade of PASS will not automatically count as having fulfilled the Honours program grade requirement of minimum grade of ‘C’ in courses in your Honours subject(s). Fulfillment of minimum grade requirements will be assessed using the original final grade you received in your course. Honours students should meet with their Honours advisor before changing a letter grade to a PASS. Requests to include courses with original final grades below ‘C’ may be considered by your Faculty and department. Your Advisor can provide direction on how to direct your request.

Bachelor of Journalism (Honours): A single grade of PASS will be accepted in a full-year course such as FYP, or in each of Fall and Winter terms as meeting the normal requirement of having to attain a C in a Journalism course. A request to meet this requirement by claiming multiple PASS grades in a term will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Please consult Tim Currie (tim.currie@ukings.ca), Director, School of Journalism, with any further questions or to make a request.

Repeated courses: The repeat policy allows students to retake courses to earn a higher grade. Our practice is to always include the higher grade on your academic record. For the purposes of applying the repeat policy, we’ll use your previous letter grade to calculate which grade should be applied.

  • If the grade is HIGHER than the previous grade earned in the course, the neutral PASS/ILL will be INCLUDED in the GPA calculation.
  • If the grade is LOWER than the previous grade earned in the course, the neutral PASS/ILL will be EXCLUDED from the GPA calculation.

Taking a PASS/ILL grade option for a repeated course may have GPA implications, so it’s important that you discuss this with your Advisor if you are considering this for a repeated course.

Academic standing: Academic standing is assessed at the end of each academic term (i.e. to assess dismissals, probation, Dean’s List, etc.) based on academic performance. As is normally the case, students who have completed at least 24 credit hours and receive a standing of “academic probation” or “academic dismissal” will be informed as such in letter from the Registrar’s Office. If you have requested any change of grades to ILL and/or PASS, your standing will be reassessed once these changes are processed.

Scholarships:

  • For upper-year undergraduate students (i.e. second year and beyond), renewable/consideration criteria will remain the same: a 3.7 GPA for full time students. A PASS grade is a credit and will count towards required credit hours, but it will not be used in the calculation of your GPA.
  • A minimum of 18 credit hours in a full academic year must have letter grades to be considered in scholarship standing, i.e. no more than 12 credit hours with PASS grades.
  • For students in the Foundation Year Program, scholarship criteria remain the same. While you may take a PASS if you wish, you must receive a letter grade (B+ and above) in the Foundation Year Program to be considered for a scholarship. Concerns and questions about this should be directed to Catherine Read at awards@ukings.ca and our Registrar, Julie Green (julie.green@ukings.ca).
  • There is an appeal process in place for students who may not meet conditions for retaining renewable scholarships. Appeals should be sent to Catherine Read at awards@ukings.ca for consideration by the Scholarships Committee. 

Graduate School/Professional Programs/Interpretation of PASS/ILL Grades by External Institutions & Organizations: Regretfully, it’s not possible to know all of the possible implications of a grade of PASS at this time, as we recognize that this grade may be assessed and interpreted by different bodies/organizations/institutions/employers in the future. In recognition that COVID-19 is an international pandemic, and this grade is being offered out of recognition that academic performance may have been affected under these extreme circumstances, there is sincere hope and expectation that grades of PASS will be viewed neutrally, however, there are no guarantees as we cannot govern how other institutions and competitive programs interpret and assess these results. Knowing that your original letter grade is most easily interpreted, keeping your original letter grade is an option to consider carefully based on the grade that you have received.

FYP students have received specific information about academic supports and options available in FYP. To reiterate:

3. PASS/ILL & WITHDRAW AT A GLANCE

PASSILLW
CANNOT be requested before
ALL your final grades are posted in Dal Online
CANNOT be requested before
ALL your final grades are posted in Dal Online
MUST BE requested by December 8 for Fall and by April 8 for Winter
WILL NOT be included in the calculation of your GPAWILL NOT be included in the calculation of your GPAWILL NOT be included in the calculation of your GPA
Available if you PASS your course but you do not feel your final grade is reflective of your overall performance.Reflects “compassionate reasons or illness” and is available to you if you do not pass your course.Reflects a decision to withdraw from a course without completing course requirements
WILL count as credit toward your degreeWILL NOT count as credit toward your degreeWILL NOT count as credit toward your degree
WILL NOT fulfill pre-requisite or degree requirements if your assigned grade is less than the pre-requisite grade for a course/degree program.WILL NOT fulfill pre-requisite or degree requirements, and course will need to be repeated if required as part of degree completion.WILL NOT fulfill pre-requisite or degree requirements, and course will need to be repeated if required as part of degree completion.

4. IN CONCLUSION

Your health and wellbeing are important, and these options are offered in acknowledgement of the challenges that many of you have been facing with the shift to online learning during the pandemic. We hope this equips you with the information you need to move forward with your decision-making as we near the end of term and we hope this grading option will alleviate some of the stress and anxiety we know many of you have encountered this term. Please never hesitate to reach out to registrar@ukings.ca, your departmental advisor or your course instructor with any questions or concerns. We are here to support you. Please continue to closely monitor your email for further information that may be relevant to you.