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TWU to allow undergrads to opt in to alternative grading system for spring semester

Undergraduate students at Texas Woman’s University can opt in to a Pass/DCR/No Credit grading system for the spring semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Provost Carolyn Kapinus announced Thursday. 

Undergraduate students can choose to continue with the university’s regular A-F grading system or opt for a Pass/DCR/No Credit grading scheme for each course they are enrolled in, according to an email from Kapinus Thursday morning. Courses graded with traditional letter grades (A, B, C, D, & F) will continue to be calculated in a student’s GPA, while Pass/DCR/No Credit options will not be. Students must continue to attend and participate in a course through the end of the term to be eligible for the Pass/DCR/No Credit option, which is not available for dual-credit courses. 

With classes forced online amid social distancing guidelines passed down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Denton County’s stay-at-home mandate, the move is meant to ease the burden on students who are facing difficulties amid fallout from the virus. 

“Texas Woman’s University cares deeply about our students and we know many of you are facing unusual difficulties,” Kapinus wrote. “I believe we have arrived at an option that allows undergraduate students who want to make the choice of an alternative grading system to have that possibility.”

Instructors will submit grades normally at the end of the term and students who have opted for Pass/DCR/No Credit will have the regular A-F grades converted to the corresponding Pass/DCR/No Credit – prior to GPA calculations – as follows: 

  • Pass (P) will be awarded for grades of A, B, or C. Pass will not impact the student’s GPA.
  • Credit (DCR) will be awarded for the grade of D. DCR will apply to all degree plan courses requiring a D or better to meet specific major and pre-requisite course requirements. DCR will allow the student to receive course credit but will not negatively impact the GPA. 
  • No Credit (NCR) will be awarded for the grade of F.  NCR is non-punitive; it will not harm the student’s GPA. 

While some Pass/Fail systems do not give credit for D grades, TWU’s interim grading scheme would convert a student’s D to credit for courses where a D is considered a passing grade.

A Pass grade during the spring 2020 term, like all passing letter grades, will be applicable toward degree requirements, according to the Registrar’s website. A No Credit grade is not applicable toward degree requirements, similar to a letter grade of F. A grade of DCR will be applicable to degree requirements where there is no requirement for a minimum grade of C.

There are some caveats to keep in mind for students choosing to opt in to the interim grading policy. The Pass/DCR/No Credit option selected for Honors courses will not satisfy the Honors requirement of a “B” or better grade to receive Honors credit for the course, and Pass/DCR/No Credit grading could impede a student’s ability to reach the minimum GPA requirement for graduating with honors or qualifying for the Dean’s List. 

“Students for whom improving the GPA is a priority should consider that Pass/DCR/No Credit has no impact on GPA and may not be a better option for them,” the Registrar’s webpage states.

Additionally, some graduate programs may require students have a letter grade on prerequisites rather than a Pass, and some accredited and/or clinical programs may have specific requirements that must be met in order for a student to continue to progress in a particular program. Each program can provide specific information to students enrolled in that program.

The university is also encouraging faculty in graduate programs to “be as flexible and supportive to graduate students as possible during this challenging time,” and has implemented other changes in consideration of potential student difficulties this semester, including:

  • The course drop deadline has been extended to May 1. Dropping a course during Spring 2020 will not count against the six-drop limit established by the Texas Education Code for undergraduates.  
  • Students who do not achieve good standing at the end of Spring 2020 will not be placed on academic probation. 
  • Students who began Spring 2020 on academic probation will not be placed on academic suspension at the end of the semester if they have not achieved good standing.
  • Transcripts will contain the following notation for Spring 2020: “The COVID-19 pandemic required significant academic changes.  Unusual enrollment patterns and grading may reflect the disruption of the time, not necessarily the student’s work.” 

Kapinus said she hopes the changes will make a positive difference for students facing uncertainty during the global health crisis.

“One of the stressors of our current health crisis is the lack of control people are experiencing,” Kapinus wrote in an email to The Lasso.  “Giving students the choice of an optional grading system allows people to exert some control (even if limited) over their situation.  This has psychological as well as academic benefits.” 

Students must electronically submit a form indicating they opt to have one or more courses graded on the Pass/DCR/No Credit scheme to the Registrar’s Office no later than 5 p.m. May 8. Students who do not submit a form will receive traditional letter grades on their transcripts. 

“Please know that as an institution, we are committed to your academic success and doing everything we can to provide a continuation of services so you can maintain academic progress,” Kapinus wrote. “We will get through this together!”

Amber Gaudet can be reached via email at and is on Twitter as amb_balam.

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