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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Carthage College Academic Senate voted Thursday in favor of a resolution to change the undergraduate grading system to a system of A/B/C/D/W grades for the 2020 spring semester.

“These motions are a measured and empathetic response to the challenges our students now face,” said Carthage President John Swallow.

Carthage faculty elected to remove the “F” grade option for the spring semester. Students who are unable to meet a course’s academic standards for credit due to new challenges will now receive a “W,” or “Withdrawal.” While they will not receive credit for the course, the W grade will not negatively affect the student’s overall GPA or financial aid.

“Our students’ lives will be better for it,” President Swallow said. “Whether their situation is lack of access to a computer, sufficient internet speed, or reliable cell service, or they’re caring for family members affected by the virus, our students and faculty now have the tools for informed judgments about how to record the evaluations of students this semester.”

In addition, all undergraduate students will now have the ability to change their grade received in any course this semester to a “W” or “S” grade. An S grade (“Satisfactory”) will count for academic credit and satisfy general education and major/minor requirements, but will not affect a student’s GPA.

All changes must be made in consultation with the student’s academic advisor or department head, and students can make the decision at any point until September 23.

“I am proud of our faculty for working hard, in a short time window, to put in place a grading policy for this semester that leans toward the student while providing them great flexibility and choice in these difficult times,” said Carthage Provost David Timmerman. “In truth, just another day at Carthage College: The faculty putting students first. It’s not true at every school; it is true here.”

Carthage transitioned to remote teaching and learning on March 23, after five weeks of face-to-face classes.