Alternative grading, first implemented in spring 2020, will continue to be an option for the spring 2021 semester to serve as a safety net for undergraduate students who encounter significant academics challenges due to circumstances beyond their control.
LionPATH allows undergraduate students to select which standard grades (those that carry grade points) they want to replace with alternative grades.
For D or F grades, alternative grades protect students from having their Penn State GPA negatively impacted. For grades of C or better, the selection of SAT (Satisfactory) grades will keep the grades from appearing on their transcripts and remove them from their GPA calculation.
The alternative grading options are as follows:
- SAT (Satisfactory): This grade will be available if a student earns a C or better in a course. A course with an SAT grade can be used to meet prerequisites requiring a C or better.
- V (Pass): This grade, which will be available if a student earns a D in a course, will be considered a passing grade. The student will earn credits for the course, and a V grade can be used to meet requirements for which D is an acceptable grade. The V grade cannot be used to meet C-or-better requirements.
- Z (No Grade): This grade will be available if a student earns an F in a course. Z can be used to replace an F grade and will be treated similar to a Late Drop (LD).
Use alternative grading very cautiously and with a lot of attention to the potential long-term implications of this decision, especially for the selection of SAT grades.
- Administratively controlled majors may have specific entrance to major courses for which alternative grades may not be used.
- SAT grade may be interpreted negatively by outside entities such as graduate schools and employers, some of which are likely to recalculate GPAs.
Further information about alternative grading is available on the University Registrar's site.