Fisk University Implements a Revised Grading Policy for the Spring Semester of 2020


In response to the coronavirus outbreak Fisk University has adopted the grading options presented below.  This grading system provides three options for students.  Option (A) allows students to stay on the current grading system.  Whereas option (B) allows students to convert to a P/F system.  In addition, students, meeting the criteria listed below, will have the opportunity of attaining the grade of “I.”[1]

The deadline for electing to receive a grade of P/F is 4/22/20 (students seeking such an option will be prompted by their instructors as to the timeline for the submission of the requisite paperwork).  If you have additional questions about the grading system described below, please contact your academic advisor.

Implementation of Final Grade Options Spring 2020


  1. Pass/Fail(P/F). This option is available to all students for the spring semester of 2020. Before seeking this option, students should consult with their academic advisors.  Students choosing this option cannot change to another option. The deadline for electing to receive a grade of P/F is 4/22/20.


  1. Incomplete grade (I). This option is normally available only to students who are currently passing the course at the time of final grade submission. However, to accommodate students during this unusual transition, the Office of Academic Affairs is allowing this option to be exercised not only for the grades (A- C) but C- and D grades as well. Continuing students receiving the grade of “I,” will have until 4/15/21 to resolve the incomplete or it converts to an ‘E’. Spring 2020 seniors must complete the work by 4/23/20 for conferral of degrees in December 2020.  Students planning to graduate in December 2020 (excluding those who were to graduate May 2020) must complete all work by 11/19/20.  Students with incompletes expecting August conferral must resolve all work by 7/31/20.  This option is only available when there exists outstanding coursework to complete.


  • Assigned grade (A – E). This option is available to ALL students regardless of their final grade.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

  1. Question: I am currently taking a laboratory class. With the disruption caused by the virus, I do not think I gained the knowledge I need to go to graduate school. How will the University address this issue?  

Response: Students can opt to receive an ‘I’ for the course or retake the course the next semester. For a nominal fee, students can elect to audit the course.

Question: Will the University allow me to take the class again at no cost?  

Response: The University will not allow free courses.

  1. Question: If there are incompletes on a student’s transcript, when is the last day for incompletes to change and will it be factored in terms of honors and GPA for graduation?

Response: Incompletes are to be resolved for Spring 2020 seniors (4/23/20); December 2020 seniors (11/19/20); Summer 2020 seniors (7/31/20); 2020 non-seniors (4/15/21).  Honors designations are awarded for work completed at the end of the previous Fall semester. The grading policy employed for Spring 2020 does not affect honors. As a reminder, students will not be able to graduate with incompletes on their records.

  1. Question: Will the grades of P/F hurt my chances to enter graduate school?

Response:  Graduate schools may require traditional letter grades for significant courses. For this reason, we recommend that students pursuing advanced study discuss the consequences of P/F grades with their discipline advisors.


  1. Question: Will I have the opportunity for a one-on-one conference with my professor before grading?

Response: Conferences with instructors are a normal and expected activity. If so, how do I contact them? Instructors, chairs, and deans can oftentimes be contacted through their Fisk emails, phone calls, or virtual conferences.  Please allow 48 hours for responses.

  1. Question: I do not have access to the internet, and I did not sign up for web-based classes. What can the University do to make sure I am graded fairly under these circumstances?

Response: Online courses have become commonplace during this disruptive season.  Fair grading is expected for all courses and should coincide with information contained in the syllabus. Students who believe that they have been subjected to unfair grading have the right to appeal their final grade through the established complaint procedure.

  1. Question: Will professors go to Pass/Fail for the rest of the semester?

Response: All courses will operate under an online format for the remainder of the semester. Students will have permission to select one of three grading options for Spring 2020 including P/F.

  1. Question: My professor never gave me any feedback in his class. How do I know if I am passing or failing?

Response: Faculty are expected to provide students with measures of their progress in the course through Canvas.  Please feel free to contact the discipline coordinator or the chair to help resolve this issue. On the other hand, final grade determination is described in the syllabus.

  1. Question: I am unable to access the library resources needed in my class? What can the University do to address this issue? 

Response: Please contact Mr. Brandon Owens .

  1. Question: I am a senior. When will grades be reported for seniors? 

Response: The deadline for submission of final grades by faculty is 4/23/20. Students have until 4/15/20 to make a preference for a grading option. Faculty will determine eligibility for a desired grading option and record the grade in Canvas. 

  1. Question: I would like to apply to a graduate school. When will final transcripts be available? 

Response: Final transcripts will be available 6/1/20. 

  1. Question: Will I receive credit for the P/F grade?

Response: Students will receive only credit hours for the course.

  1. Question: Will the P/F grade change my gpa?

Response: No. There will be no change in quality points for GPA calculation. 

  1. Question: Can I request a grade change after I receive a P/F grade?

Response: No. This option is final.

  1. Question: Will I lose my scholarship if I receive a P/F grade?

Response: Scholarships are generally GPA and /or credit hour dependent.  For more information please contact the Office of Financial Aid .

  1. Question: What is the SAP Policy with regards to the P/F option?

Response: Students involved in a Financial Aid SAP Warning period must be awarded the traditional letter grade to allow for calculation of the cumulative GPA.   This measure is used to determine the eligibility for financial aid for the Fall semester. The link for the SAP policy at Fisk University in the catalog is

  1. Question: What the procedure for processing a final grade option for Spring 2020?

Response: Students have until 4/22/20 to make a selection in consultation with their discipline advisor. 

  1. Question: Can any student elect to receive an ‘I’ grade to improve their grade?

Response: No, this option is only available when work is outstanding. Students are expected to make every effort to complete assigned work. The omission of work by the student and subsequent eligibility for an ‘I’ grade remains under the auspices of the instructor.  

  1. Question: Can students elect the P/F option for required courses in the major?

Response: Upper-level sequential courses may require a minimum grade of C in prerequisites for enrollment. Also, admission to graduate and professional schools may require traditional grades in certain courses.

19. Question: If I am taking courses in Spring 2020 at another institution through cross-registration, can I elect the P/F option? 

Response: The P/F grading option outlined above pertains to courses taken only at Fisk University. Courses taken away fall under the grading policies of that institution.

[1] Unfortunately, students who select option “A,” or Option “B,” will not be able to reverse the selection later.  For that reason, it is essential that all students consult with their academic advisor before making a grading selection (students cannot select the “I,” option unless they meet the conditions listed above.).