Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Spring 2020 COVID Pass/Fail (P/F) Policy

Approved by University Faculty Council on April 3, 2020

I. Purpose

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, which is affecting virtually all sectors of public life, Illinois Tech moved all instruction to online, telephonic and/or other non-in-person means. This new mode of instruction commenced on March 23, the first regularly scheduled day of classes following Spring Break. Given this new mode of instruction as well as the severe limitations that have been imposed on individuals and entities by governmental agencies as a result of the pandemic and the mental and emotional impact of these limitations, IIT academic leadership, in consultation with the faculty and input from student government representatives, have determined that it is necessary and prudent to adopt this temporary, special grading policy. To be clear, this is a temporary policy, and it only applies during the Spring 2020 semester. During the period that this policy is in effect, it shall govern and control to the extent of any conflict with any existing policies, procedures or provisions published in the Undergraduate or Graduate Bulletin or other policy manual. For the avoidance of doubt, all such published policies, procedures and provisions remain in effect to the extent not in conflict with this policy.

In devising this policy, Illinois Tech evaluated the pedagogical considerations unique to the academic programs it offers, any applicable professional licensing concerns and academic considerations relevant to students at different stages of their education. Illinois Tech also sought a policy that treated similar situated students comparably, while allowing Illinois Tech a means to take into account extenuating circumstances that a particular student may have. Based on the foregoing, for the Spring 2020 semester, the following grading policy shall apply.

II. Undergraduate Students

For the Spring 2020 semester, grading for any courses taken by undergraduate students, regardless of their college, will move to PASS/FAIL.

Nothing in this policy is intended to limit an undergraduate student’s right to file any petition allowed for by the Undergraduate Bulletin. All such petitions must be filed in accordance with the policies and procedures set forth in the Undergraduate Bulletin, and all such petitions will be evaluated in accordance with the policies and procedures set forth in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

In light of the adoption of this policy, Illinois Tech, for the Spring 2020 semester, hereby clarifies and refines its policies and procedures for making certain academic consideration. Specifically, for students who receive pass/fail grades, determinations related to academic standing, probation, and graduation reviews are to be made not only on grades and GPAs but also quality performance information from the student’s advisor and instructors, including, but not limited to, student improvement, comprehension, participation and other like indicators of academic performance.

III. Students of the Graduate College and Graduate Students in the Stuart School of Business and the College of Architecture

For the Spring 2020 semester, grading for any courses taken by graduate students of the Graduate College, Stuart School of Business, Institute of Design and College of Architecture will continue to use the letter grade system.

Nothing in this policy is intended to limit a graduate student’s right to file any petition allowed for by the Graduate Bulletin or any other academic policy applicable to their college. All such petitions must be filed in accordance with the policies and procedures set forth in the Graduate Bulletin, and all such petitions will be evaluated in accordance with the policies and procedures set forth in the Graduate Bulletin or such applicable policy.

IV. Students of Chicago-Kent College of Law
In Chicago-Kent College of Law, all students will be graded “pass or fail” for the Spring 2020 semester in all of their courses.  Any student who believes that the mandatory pass/fail policy will have a negative effect on them in the manner specified below may file a petition for letter grades to be entered for all of their Spring 2020 classes. (For the avoidance of doubt, students cannot petition to receive letter grades for only select classes.) Variance petitions will be granted only if receiving letter grades is a requirement for the students' external education funding or in similar unusual circumstances. Petitions that meet this standard will be granted; petitions that do not will be denied. Petitions must be submitted to variance@kentlaw.iit.edu by 11:59 P.M. on Sunday, April 12, 2020.

Spring 2020 COVID-19 Pass/Fail (P/F) Policy FAQ

The following FAQs are intended to provide guidance as to how this temporary policy will work in practice. The answers to the FAQs generally apply only to undergraduates, except as otherwise expressly specified. Graduate and professional students should review the policies and procedures of their respective colleges and/or reach out to the academic leadership of those colleges.

Upon completion of the course, instructors will in most cases issue final grades of S or U. A grade of S corresponds to letter grades A, B, C, or D. A grade of U corresponds to E.  Neither S nor U grades will count toward the GPA so for most students their GPA will not change. S awards credit for the course, U does not.

Students who believe that the policy will negatively impact them may file a petition in accordance with the applicable policies and procedures of the Undergraduate or Graduate Bulletin or other applicable academic policies of their college.  Such petition must seek letter grades for all classes that a student is taking during the Spring 2020 semester, not just a selective class. Petitions will be evaluated in accordance with applicable criteria. (See the answer to the immediately following FAQs for a discussion of the criteria.) Students will be informed if their petition has been granted. Any undergraduate student wishing to file such a petition must first meet with their advisor to discuss the proposed petition. If after meeting with their advisor, a student wishes to file a petition, they should do using the following form:  https://iit.secure.force.com/form?formid=217935. Graduate students should petition by completing the G701 form found at https://web.iit.edu/sites/web/files/departments/academic-affairs/Graduate%20Academic%20Affairs/G701%20-%20Student_Petition.pdf.  Petitions must be received by 11:59 P.M. on Sunday April 12, 2020.

For graduating undergraduate students only, they do not need to provide a reason in their petition to justify their request; they must merely check the box that they are graduating in May 2020.

For all other, any student who believes that the PASS/FAIL grading system may have a substantive negative impact on them may, consistent with the terms of the policy, file a petition for letter grades to be entered for all of their Spring 2020 classes. (For the avoidance of doubt, students cannot petition to receive only letter grades for select classes.)  Petitions must be filed in accordance with the petition process set forth in the Undergraduate or Graduate Bulletin or other applicable policy, as the case may be, and any petition not so filed will be denied.  The petition must set forth the bases for the student’s belief that they will be harmed by this grading system and may include supporting evidence.  The petition will be reviewed in accordance with the applicable procedures set forth in the Undergraduate or Graduate Bulletin or other applicable policy.  In connection with such review, the following reasons, if reasonably established by the student in their petition, is sufficient to demonstrate harm and, in such circumstances, the petition will be granted:

a.    A letter grade is a requirement for continuation in or entry to programs within ROTC, Athletics or the like;
b.    The student plans to apply to a graduate program, medical school, law school or other professional school, and the need for letter grades is important to this process;
c.    The student is seeking to remove themselves from probationary status and believes that the issuance of letter grades will facilitate this removal; 
d.    The student is aiming to raise their GPA to the minimum required for internship and/or employment interviews and;
e.    Other such circumstances related to external requirements and/or the need to demonstrate academic improvement that is established by clear and convincing evidence.

Petitions that do not meet the criteria set forth in this guidance will be denied.

Students of Chicago-Kent College of Law must file petitions as set forth in the policy, and these petitions will be evaluated as provided for in the policy.

Any such student who believes that they have circumstances related to the transition to online instruction, which circumstances did not exist prior to this transition, that negatively impacts them may petition to receive Pass/Fail grades.  The petition must request that the grades for all courses be graded under the Pass/Fail system, not just selective courses. Petitions must be filed in accordance with the petition process set forth in the Graduate Bulletin or other applicable policy, as the case may be, and any petition not so filed will be denied.  In the Graduate College, this means students must use the G-701 Form.  Any student wishing to file such a petition needs to indicate their intent to do so by completing the G701 form found at https://web.iit.edu/sites/web/files/departments/academic-affairs/Graduate%20Academic%20Affairs/G701%20-%20Student_Petition.pdf. The petition must identify the circumstances underpinning the student’s belief that they will be negatively impacted, explain how the circumstance will have a negative impact and may include supporting evidence.  Any such petition will be evaluated based on the totality of the circumstances and will be approved if such evaluation leads to the determination that such circumstances are valid and the direct cause of such negative impact. Any student wishing to file such a petition needs to indicate their intent to do so in DegreeWorks by 11:59 P.M. on Sunday April 12, 2020.  

Neither S nor U grades will count toward the GPA so for most students their GPA will not change. For graduating seniors who elect the letter grade option, normal GPA calculation rules will apply.

As set forth in the policy, the Academic Standing Review Committee understands the special circumstances and will adopt a broad holistic review stance. There will be consultation with advisors and course instructors. Any student on probation, or any students experiencing academic difficulty should discuss this with their advisor.

The grade will be replaced with S or a U. This will remove a poor grade for a transcript. In many cases this will be more favorable to a student

  • students repeat classes they did poorly in.
  • any grade below a student's average GPA results in GPA decline
  • many/most repeat grades are still below the student’s average (i.e. E to D or C) so E--> S is better than E-->C if a student has a GPA>2.0

For this semester, we will accept a S as satisfying this prerequisite. Students are advised to consult with their advisor and instructors in such courses about the suitability of proceeding with higher level coursework in order to be successful.

As always, faculty will award grades based upon student achievement of the learning objectives of the course.  The mode of delivery may change, but there will be no change in the difficulty of the material delivered or the assessments utilized.

Courses taken by undergraduate students will receive S or U. Courses taken by graduate students (other than those of the Institute of Design and Chicago-Kent College of Law, who will, per the policy, be graded using the PASS/FAIL grading system) will receive letter grades. Please note, co-terminal students are considered undergraduate students.

Co-terminal students are undergraduate students and hence shall be subject to the PASS/FAIL policy for undergraduate students. In the event that the student desires to have a course (in which they received a P grade during the Spring 2020 semester) count toward the Master's degree, they may do so. The same petition process discussed in the policy and these FAQs applies to co-terminal students as all other undergraduate students.

Governmental  and other agencies are developing guidance now, and we anticipate that there will be wide latitude and accommodation. The financial aid office is developing a process to accommodate the disruption of this semester and IIT is committed to supporting all of our students through this event.

The Registrar has extended the “W” deadline to April 6, 2020. The “I” deadline remains in place (May 3, 2020).