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April 9, 2020: Competence/No Competence Grading Options

Posted Thursday, April 9, 2020 | Announcements to Students

Email from Provost Gort

Dear Students,

Given the disruptions in your courses and lives this semester due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are providing new grading options that will offer more flexibility, to ensure your success for Spring and Summer Terms 2020.

You will have the option to select a standard letter grade or a Competence/No competence (S/NC) grade. Below you will find a Q&A to help you make your decision. Your decision for grading does not need to be made until May 15, so please consider this carefully and seek advice from your academic advisor.

In addition, Metropolitan State University has extended the Course Withdrawal Deadline for Spring to be April 23. Please carefully read the details below and seek advice from your academic advisor, as you receive no refunds with this option.

I want to reiterate, we are here to support you and help you succeed, not just during this pandemic, but always.

Be healthy and well.

Amy Gort

Flexible Grading Options for Spring 2020 and Summer 2020
Competence/No Competence Grading

What is Competence/No competence (S/NC) Grading?

Metropolitan State University policy #2080 provides the option for competence/no competence (S/NC) grading. It is similar to Pass/Fail grades that you might know from other institutions. Normally, students need to select the S/NC grading option before the end of the second week of the semester and some courses cannot be taken S/NC.

Competence (S): This grade indicates that you have accomplished satisfactorily completed work equivalent to a grade of C- or better.

No competence: (NC): This grade indicates that you have completed unsatisfactory work equivalent to a grade of D or F. An NC grade cannot be used to meet academic requirements and negatively impacts your course completion rate.

S or NC grades do not impact your overall grade point average because they are not included in its calculation.

How are S/NC grades determined?

If you select the S/NC grading option, your professors will continue to grade your assignments using the standard A-F grading scale following their regular practices. At the completion of the semester, your professors will determine your final grade. If you have selected the S/NC grading option and your final grade is between an A and C-, you will earn an S grade. If your final grade is a D or F, you will earn an NC grade and will not earn credit for the course.

Why is it being offered as an option now?

We are experiencing unusual semesters this spring and this summer in which we have been directed to have all of our course meet remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic in our community. For some students, these conditions are particularly difficult and may negatively impact their course success.

We are allowing students to select the S/NC grading option up to one week after final grades are posted for Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 courses. The deadlines are as follows:

  • Spring 2020: May 15, 2020
  • Summer 2020 (Full Semester): August 26, 2020
  • Summer 2020 (First Summer Session): July 2, 2020
  • Summer 2020 (Second Summer Session): August 26, 2020

For some students selecting S/NC grading may provide some needed flexibility. The S/NC grading option is available to all students in all general education, elective, major, and graduate program courses with the following exceptions:

  • Students some Nursing and Dental programs: ELMSN, MANE BSN, DNP, MS NA, BSDH, and ADT

What do you need to consider before selecting S/NC grading option for your classes?

  • Your academic advisor can provide advice about this decision.
  • You have time to make this decision. By moving the deadline to May 15, 2020 you will be able to see what your final grade is before making a choice to change the grading option.
  • A grade of D is considered a passing grade for all Goal Area courses (per MN State procedure 3.21.1).
  • S/NC grades will not negatively impact your cumulative GPA, but they won’t increase your cumulative GPA either. Student who are on academic warning, or probation should talk with their advisor before making the decision to select S/NC grading.
  • You will not receive credit for a course in which you earn an NC grade.
  • If you are an undergraduate student who plans to attend graduate or professional school, you should talk with your advisor before making the decision to select the S/NC grading method.
  • We do not have to include the Spring 2020 GPA or course completion rates in our Satisfactory Academic Progress calculations to determine Financial Aid eligibility. If you are on Academic Warning or Probation you might benefit from this option. Please talk to your academic advisor for guidance.
  • All Minnesota State Universities will accept S/NC graded classes from Spring 2020 to meet undergraduate major and program requirements if you transfer between MN State institutions. However, other universities may not accept courses in the same way. If you are considering transferring to another university, review the transfer policies at that university with regards to this kind of grade.
  • Some employers only reimburse students for courses in which they earn a minimum grade. If you are planning on employer reimbursement, check with your employer about the reimbursement policies before selecting the S/NC option.

Extension of the Course Withdrawal (W) Deadline for Spring 2020

What is the Withdrawal option?

Normally, the Minnesota State system deadline for withdrawal is set for the date at which 80 percent of the term has been completed. Because of the impacts of the COVID-19, the Minnesota State system has decided to set the withdrawal deadline for the date at which 90 percent of the term has been completed. For Metropolitan State University, that means you will have until April 23, 2020 for the spring semester.

When you withdraw from a course, a W is noted on your transcript. The W indicates that you did not complete the course and does not impact your cumulative GPA.

What do you need to consider before withdrawing from a class?

  • No refunds will be available for courses that you withdraw from.
  • You have time to decide whether or not you should withdraw from a course. Please talk to your professor and your academic advisor before making the decision.
  • Withdrawing from a class impacts your course completion rate which, under normal circumstance can impact your access to Federal financial aid. However, the Federal government is allowing universities to exclude course completion from this Spring 2020 term when determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid eligibility.