Update on grading, final exams and withdrawing from courses

JMU News

Dear Students,

Academic Affairs wants to offer important information related to grading, final exams, and withdrawing from courses for Spring 2020 and registration for future semesters. Your academic progression is important to us, and we wish you success in the weeks ahead as we navigate this transition together. We know that this shift will be challenging, and we have sought to increase flexibility while maintaining academic integrity and our commitment to excellence.

Credit/No-credit Grading Option

James Madison University is providing students with expanded access to the credit/no-credit grading options for the Spring 2020 semester due to the transition from in-person to online course delivery.

Undergraduate Students

If undergraduate students choose to take a course as credit/no credit, they receive credits for successfully completing the course with a “C” or above and receive no credit or penalty for completing the course with a lower grade. At some universities, this option is called pass/fail.

Current credit/no-credit policies are suspended for the Spring 2020 semester only and will be replaced with the following:

  • Students may change any course in which they are enrolled to credit/no-credit, except those being taken with a Repeat Credit or Repeat/Forgiveness option that were previously taken for a letter grade.
  • There will be no limit to the number of Spring 2020 courses or credit hours that may be taken as credit/no-credit.
  • Spring 2020 courses graded as credit/no-credit may satisfy general education, major, minor, degree and/or elective requirements.
  • If students select the credit/no-credit option, grades of “A” through “C” will change to “CR” and will earn the number of credit hours designated for the course. These grade equivalents for “CR” align with current JMU policy and parallel practices at many other universities.
  • If students select the credit/no-credit option, grades of “C-“ through “F” will change to “NC” and no credits will be earned for the course. These grade equivalents for “NC” align with current JMU policy and parallel practices at many other universities.
  • Grades of “CR” and “NC” will not affect students’ grade point average.

All students should review the Important Considerations for Credit/No-credit Option section below before making any decision.

Important Considerations for Credit/No-credit Option

A student’s decision to switch to credit/no-credit is irreversible.

  • Before deciding to choose the credit/no-credit option, students should discuss the changes with their academic advisers to ensure there are no unforeseen consequences of switching to credit/no-credit, such as accreditation requirements within the major or minor, or future application to graduate or professional schools. Students should consult MyMadison should they need to be reminded of the names of their advisers.
  • Course prerequisites that require a certain letter grade will not be satisfied with a “CR” grade. In those instances, students must request overrides from their academic unit heads to enroll in those particular courses in future semesters. Students should consult their major advisers with questions regarding prerequisites.
  • If a course counts as part of a group of courses required for admission to a major in which grades are averaged, “CR” will not be included in the GPA calculation. Students should consult with the appropriate major and other advisers prior to changing their grading option.
  • Courses earning a grade of “CR” will count toward credits to graduate, but courses earning a grade of “NC” do not earn credits.

Instructions for Changing Courses to Credit/No-credit

  • Students should identify the courses to be changed to the credit/no-credit grading option. An electronic form will be available on the Office of the Registrar website Tuesday, April 7, for students to request a grading option change to credit/no-credit.
  • Students must submit the form no later than 5:00 p.m. Monday, May 18. Late requests will not be processed.

JMU has chosen May 18 as the deadline to change grading options to provide maximum flexibility to students. Students will be able to make the decision to choose the credit/no-credit option after receiving their final grades.

Graduate Students

For graduate students, The Graduate School will be distributing detailed information on options as soon as it is available.

Final Exam Week

Final exam week will remain as originally scheduled, May 1-7. As exam week approaches, faculty will communicate with students regarding course-specific plans for finals.

Withdrawal from Courses or the University

Withdrawal from Individual Courses in Spring 2020

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on university operations, JMU is extending the Spring 2020 course withdrawal deadline to April 24 for semester-long and Second Block (7W2) courses. This additional time will give students five weeks in which to acclimate to the new online course delivery method and assess their ability or desire to continue in the course.

Students who decide to withdraw from individual Spring 2020 courses may do so via MyMadison through 11:59 p.m. on April 24. Withdrawal from a course will not reduce tuition charges. Course withdrawal will result in the assignment of a grade of “W” and has no bearing on students’ GPA. Students are strongly advised to consult with their advisers and course professors before withdrawing from a course.

Withdrawal from the University in Spring 2020

Students who have dropped all Spring 2020 courses, or who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of needing to withdraw from all Spring 2020 courses, will find the information below helpful. Students who decide to withdraw from all courses for the semester are withdrawing from the university.

The deadline for dropping all Spring 2020 courses and receiving a tuition reimbursement was January 21, 2020. Students who withdraw from all Spring 2020 courses after January 21 do not receive a tuition refund.

Students who decide to withdraw from all courses must contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 540-568- 6468 or deanofstudents@jmu.edu to begin the steps required to complete an official withdrawal.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students who officially withdraw from the university and plan to return for Summer or Fall 2020 must apply for re-entry as soon as possible. This online process can be accessed from the Registrar’s website at https://www.jmu.edu/registrar/students/intent-to-enroll.shtml.

Students currently in good standing will be automatically approved and provided access to registration appointments for the Summer and/or Fall semesters based on the number of credit hours they have completed. Applications for re- entry must be entered prior to the beginning of registration. Summer registration will begin on April 6; Fall registration will begin on April 13.

Students who are not in academic good standing must contact the Office of Academic Student Services at acadconcerns@jmu.edu for help with the re-entry application.

Graduate Students

Graduate students who officially withdraw from the university and who wish to return for Summer or Fall 2020 should contact The Graduate School as soon as possible at grad@jmu.edu or 540-568-6131.

We recognize that this is new territory for students, faculty, and staff, and we are focused on identifying ways to make this process clear and accessible. Those of us in Academic Affairs are committed to helping all our students complete their semester as successfully as possible.

Please reach out to your instructors and advisers for information specific to you and your schedule. If you have more general questions about academic concerns, contact the academic unit head for your major. If you are unable to find answers to your questions, email AcademicQuestions@jmu.edu.

Thank you,
Heather Coltman, D.M.A.

Back to Top

Published: Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Related Articles