Florida's universities to offer pass-fail grades

Century Tower at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Florida. [Photo courtesy: UF]

Florida university students soon could choose to have their spring semester classes graded on a pass or fail scale, as university officials weigh options to help students transition to remote education amid the coronavirus outbreak.

During a Florida Board of Governors meeting Wednesday, state university system Chancellor Marshall Criser said universities will start communicating with students about grading options. The discussions will continue for several weeks, he added.

“What we are doing is taking tools that we have and giving students additional time and flexibility to consider them,” Criser said. “We want this to be a process of informed choice.”

The grading options would include pass/fail, satisfactory/unsatisfactory, or the traditional grade-point average.

“It is very important to understand that each of these decisions depend on a student’s major, courses they take, their status as a full-time or part-time student, and potentially financial aid programs, including those that are administered at the federal level,” Criser told the board during Wednesday’s telephonic meeting.

The grading discussion comes more than a week after the state ordered all universities to shift to online classes for the rest of the spring semester as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness COVID-19.

University officials have also asked all schools to consider using remote instruction for the early summer terms.