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Grading and Course Information for Spring 2020

Arapahoe Community College recognizes the stresses that students and instructors are currently facing in their academic and personal lives. To reduce academic uncertainty and increase flexibility when trying to adapt to remote instruction, Arapahoe Community College is:

  1. Extending the normal withdrawal deadline to May 5 for all courses scheduled to end at the end of the Spring 2020 semester.
  2. Providing an alternative grading option of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) for Spring 2020 semester.  

We understand that you have invested time and energy into courses prior to ACC’s spring break. We also understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for everyone and created challenges that no one expected when we started this semester. A temporary policy was developed by the Colorado Community College System and supported by ACC to allow students the option to select S/U (S = Satisfactory, U = Unsatisfactory) grades for this term.

If an S/U alternate grade option is selected for a course, a grade of “S” will equate to a standard letter grade of “C” or better; a grade of “U” will equate to a standard letter grade below “C”. S/U grades do not calculate into the grade point average (GPA). Students will receive all applicable credit for courses with a grade of “S”. Students will not receive credit for courses with a grade of “U”. The grade of “S” or “U” will be posted on the student’s transcript, and an additional note will be placed on the transcript, indicating that the S/U grade was entered related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note the following important information about the process:

  • Students will indicate they would like to explore the S/U option, and for which courses, by completing the Alternate Grading Interest form. 
    ​​​​​​​*The time frame to request alternate grading options has closed. If you would like to discuss this further, please reach out to your ACC Academic Advisor. Who is My Academic Advisor? Academic Advisors are assigned to students based on a number of factors. To find out which ACC Advisor has been assigned to you, login to Navigate. If you have not met with your Advisor yet, make an appointment today. It is important to your success to meet with your Advisor before you register for classes. Make an appointment through Navigate.
  • Students wishing to pursue this option MUST discuss it with their academic advisor, who will make a final decision to approve or deny the request. 
  • Advisors will be inviting students to submit the form and make a virtual appointment to discuss the request. Following the discussion, the Advisor will forward an email to the student, Instructor(s), and the ACC Records & Enrollment Services office with their decision to approve or deny the request.
  • For any course approved by the Advisor for S/U grading, the Instructor will assign the S/U grade following the completion of the course.
  • If a student requests S/U grading for a course, and that request is approved by the Advisor, S/U grades will be considered equivalent to:
    • Letter grades A, B, C will be converted to an S;
    • Letter grade D, F will be converted to a U;
  • Due to accreditation / licensure considerations and the particular discipline, not all programs are eligible for the S/U grades in the Spring, 2020 semester. A list of programs for which S/U grading is not available, is provided below.

We understand you may have other questions pertaining to academic standing, credit toward your major, fulfilling graduation requirements, impact of an S/U grade over a letter grade, etc. This is why it is critical you discuss this option with an academic advisor and your instructor to see if it is an option for you.

ACC has also developed a set of answers to some questions that you may have about S/U grades. We encourage you to read through the questions to find any answers that may apply to your situation. If you have additional questions, please contact your academic advisor

We understand there has been a great deal of information sent in recent weeks, but please keep checking your ACC email account. We stand ready at ACC to support you during this challenging time and hope you stay safe and healthy. We know you have invested time and energy into your studies and we are committed to working with you to reach your academic goals while balancing all of the changes and challenges.

Spring 2020 Grading FAQs

Why is S/U a grading option for students this semester?

ACC understands that students may be facing challenges not of anyone’s doing given circumstances related to COVID-19. To maximize student success and learning, ACC recognizes the challenges inherent as courses have moved online and students and faculty work remotely.

If I select this option, how is my final grade determined?

The instructor of your course will calculate a grade at the end of the semester in D2L. In fact, you should be able to see your grade in D2L as the semester continues.

After meeting with an academic advisor, students will indicate they wish to have their grades recorded on their transcript as “S” or “U”. If the student has requested this option, and the Advisor has approved the request, the instructor will leave the grade in the D2L gradebook, but record an “S” or “U” on the student’s official academic record.

Which programs does S/U grading not apply to given accreditation or licensure?

Updated April 13, 2020

  • Cosmetology Certificate
  • Esthetics Certificate
  • Mortuary Science, Associate of Applied Science
  • Nurse Aide Certificate
  • Nursing, Associate of Applied Science
  • Paramedic Certificate
  • Paramedicine, Associate of Applied Science 
  • Physical Therapist Assistant, Associate of Applied Science

Will the credits from a course recorded as S/U count toward graduation?

As long as the course is not part of one of the excluded programs listed above, students will receive course credit toward graduation for any course in which they earn an “S”. Students will not receive course credit toward graduation for any course in which they earn a “U”.

Can I pick and choose which courses to take S/U?

As long as the course is not part of one of the excluded programs listed above. Yes, students may request the S/U alternate grade option for one or more of their Spring, 2020 courses.

Will an “S” grade satisfy a prerequisite?

As long as the course is not part of one of the excluded programs listed above, yes, students who earn an “S” grade in a Spring, 2020 course may use the course to fulfill a prerequisite minimum grade requirement in a future semester at ACC. The Colorado Department of Higher Education has offered guidance for all colleges and universities across Colorado to accept any “S” grade given during Spring, 2020.

Does the course instructor grant approval or permission for a student to switch to S/U grading?

As long as the course is not part of one of the excluded programs listed above, no; the student decides whether or not they want to request an S/U grade for a course. The request is made and discussed with the student’s academic advisor, who will approve or deny the request. We do recommend that you check your grade status with your instructor and review your grade in D2L prior to requesting the S/U grade option for a course.  

If I select the S/U grading option for a course, can I use the course in a future semester as a prerequisite that requires a minimum grade?

As long as the course is not part of one of the excluded programs listed above, yes, students who earn an “S” grade in a Spring, 2020 course may use the course to fulfill a prerequisite minimum grade requirement in a future semester. 

How does an S/U course impact my grade point average (GPA)?

A grade of “S” or “U” will not factor into your GPA.

What if I am graduating in May? How does an S/U graded course impact my graduation?

Please consult with your academic advisor to discuss the specific graduation requirements for your program (degree or certificate). Generally speaking, if your program requires a grade of “C” or better in every course and is not one of the excluded programs listed above, a grade of “S” will meet this requirement. Any course where a grade of “U” is earned will not count toward graduation requirements. Students who are planning to directly transfer to another Colorado institution with a statewide transfer degree need to have an “S” or “C” or higher to meet requirements. Please work with an academic advisor if you have questions about transfer requirements outside of Colorado or questions.

How do I choose the S/U option?

As long as the course is not part of one of the excluded programs listed above, please fill out the Alternate Grading Interest form to request the S/U alternate grade option.  Also – academic advisors will be reaching out to students to see if you are interested in this option. Either way, please plan to meet virtually with your academic advisor to discuss the option further if you are interested. If this option works for you and your program, please submit the electronic Alternate Grading Interest Form by May 5, 2020. We encourage you to review your grade in D2L prior to May 5 to confirm you decision to select the S/U grading option.

*The time frame to request alternate grading options has closed. If you would like to discuss this further, please reach out to your ACC Academic Advisor. Who is My Academic Advisor? Academic Advisors are assigned to students based on a number of factors. To find out which ACC Advisor has been assigned to you, login to Navigate. If you have not met with your Advisor yet, make an appointment today. It is important to your success to meet with your Advisor before you register for classes. Make an appointment through Navigate.

What happens if a student does not request a course’s grade be changed to S/U?

Unless a student specifically chooses to have their grade in a course recorded as “S” or “U”, they will be graded in the traditional A-F grading system.

Is S/U grading optional?

As long as the course is not part of one of the excluded programs listed above, S/U grading is entirely optional. It is not normally available and is being offered during the COVID-19 crisis to provide students alternate grading options and will not negatively impact future academic success. 

I am a Veteran receiving educational benefits. Will S/U grading impact my benefits?

As long as the course is not part of one of the excluded programs listed above, guidance offered by the VA indicates that “S” grades will satisfy requirements for any classes required for your degree or certificate.

How will transfer, graduate or professional schools view grades reported as S/U when students apply to their institutions?

Many institutions have already gone to some type of alternative grading option for Spring 2020. That being the case, one can reasonably expect that graduate and professional schools will take the unique circumstances in mind as they consider applications. If you are planning on attending graduate or professional school, you may want to elect to receive letter grades. We recommend you discuss the option with your academic advisor or faculty member.

Will “S” and “U” grades impact my financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and ability to get financial aid? What about withdrawals?

To maintain SAP, students must complete and pass at least 67 percent of cumulatively attempted credits. “U” grades (like F and W grades) will count as credits that have not been completed. If you do not meet SAP standards due to COVID-19 related circumstances, you will have the opportunity to appeal to continue receiving Federal Financial Aid. Under current federal financial aid rules, withdrawing from a course prior to completing at least 60% of the course can result is owing back federal financial aid. The federal government is working on various reliefs for students who may have to withdraw due to COVID-19, but we do not have all of those details yet. This is why ACC is encouraging students to attempt as much of the course as they are able and we have extended the withdrawal deadline to May 5, 2020.

If I am currently receiving financial aid and on financial aid probation, how will choosing the S/U grading option impact my eligibility for financial aid?

If you are receiving financial aid on a probationary status contingent upon meeting certain requirements or following an academic plan, please contact Financial Aid to discuss how converting to “S” and “U” grades will impact your eligibility. If you have questions, please email finaid [at] arapahoe [dot] edu or call at 303.797.5661.

I am a concurrent enrollment student, can I request the S/U grading option for my ACC courses?

You need to check with your high school guidance counselor prior to making this decision. Students taking concurrent enrollment courses at their high school location should follow the instructions of their high school. Questions should be directed to your high school counselor or to acc [dot] ce [at] arapahoe [dot] edu.

Students taking courses on an ACC campus (Littleton, Parker, Sturm Collaboration Campus) prior to the shift to remote learning are able to select the S/U option, however ACC cannot guarantee it will meet your high school requirements and advises you to directly work with ACC’s Concurrent Enrollment team and your high school counselor.

What if I change my mind and want the grade changed back to regular A-F grading?

If you have submitted the form and change your mind and wish to have a standard letter grade, you have 10 business days from May 5, 2020 to request in writing the change by emailing Rebecca Woulfe, ACC Vice President for Instruction and Provost at  rebecca [dot] woulfe [at] arapahoe [dot] edu. After this date, you will not be able to revert back to standard letter (A-F) grading.

What other factors should students consider before selecting the S/U option?

  • A student who is doing well may decide to not convert a course(s) to S/U because a strong letter grade will improve the GPA.
  • A student planning to transfer to a four year college outside of Colorado may want to confirm they will first accept an “S” grade for transfer.
  • A student who is concerned about not having a letter grade for graduate of professional school may not want to convert to S/U.
  • A student who plans to enter a profession where a letter grade is critical for competitive employment may not want to convert to S/U.
  • A student who plans to pursue overseas employment where a letter grade is essential may not want to convert to S/U.

I still have questions. What should I do?

Please make an appointment with your academic advisor. Check your ACC email for an appointment invitation to discuss your questions.