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College Extends Deadline to Switch to Pass-Fail Grading to Nov. 16

College students will have until Nov. 16 to switch courses to pass-fail status.
College students will have until Nov. 16 to switch courses to pass-fail status. By Cory K. Gorczycki
By James S. Bikales and Kevin R. Chen, Crimson Staff Writers

The Undergraduate Educational Policy Committee extended the deadline for students to change a course’s grading basis between letter-graded and pass-fail to Nov. 16, Faculty of Arts and Sciences Registrar Michael P. Burke wrote in an email to students Tuesday morning.

Dean of Undergraduate Education Amanda J. Claybaugh first announced that the Educational Policy Committee was considering the change during an Oct. 7 faculty meeting. She wrote in a prior email to The Crimson that the EPC is “committed to ensuring that students have a good academic experience this year.”

The EPC considered the measure after the Undergraduate Council endorsed legislation on Oct. 4 proposing the College extend the drop and pass-fail deadline and allow courses taken as pass-fail to count for concentration and general education credit. The deadline is normally the fifth Monday of the semester, which this year fell on Oct. 5.

The UC legislation requested that the deadline be extended to Nov. 30, pointing to similar accommodations made by peer institutions such as Yale University and Princeton University this fall.

While the EPC extended the pass-fail deadline to Nov. 16, it did not extend the deadline to drop courses, nor did it change existing policies on when pass-fail courses may be counted for credit.

Claybaugh wrote in a Tuesday email to The Crimson that concentrations will determine whether they will count pass-fail courses for credit.

“The authority to determine whether courses count for concentration or program credit lies with the concentrations and programs, not with the EPC,” Claybaugh wrote.

In the spring, the committee adopted a universal emergency satisfactory-unsatisfactory grading system after all teaching went virtual and students pushed for accommodations. The committee elected to return to a normal grading system this fall, despite Harvard's decision to continue holding all classes online.

“We are going to have to work together as a community to find new ways of living and working until there's a vaccine,” Claybaugh said at a July town hall meeting. “And so we can't kind of put a pause on everything, including the giving of grades.”

In order to change their course to pass-fail grading status, students must submit a Change of Grading Basis Request Form through my.harvard and receive approval from their course instructor, advisor, and resident dean.

—Staff writer James S. Bikales can be reached at james.bikales@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamepdx.

—Staff writer Kevin R. Chen can be reached at kevin.chen@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @kchenx.

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