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See the Penn State Coronavirus FAQ page for ongoing information about the University's response and the Keep Learning site for information about Spring 2021 classes. 

Alternative Grading Decision Worksheet - Spring 2020

This page is intended for students who chose alternative grades for the Spring 2020 semester only. 

If you chose alternative grades for any other semester, please choose the appropriate semester to be sure you follow the correct procedures.

The information below intends to give you a better understanding of the new option for Alternative Grading in the Spring 2020 semester. Please a) read this document, b) consult the Alternative Grading Flowchart, and, if needed, c) consult with your academic adviser. If your cumulative GPA is 2.33 or below, before electing alternative grades, strongly consider consulting your academic adviser. Additional information can be found at https://remotelearning.psu.edu/alternative-grading.


Definitions of Alternative Grading Letters
Alternative Grade Definition
This grade will be available if a student earns a C or better in a course. A course with an SAT grade can be used to meet all requirements, including entrance to major and prerequisites requiring a C or better. Credits earned with a SAT grade count in total credits towards graduation, but do not factor into Penn State’s credit window.
This grade, which will be available if a student earns a D in a course, will be considered a passing grade. The student will earn credits for the course, and a V grade can be used to meet requirements for which D is an acceptable grade. The V grade cannot be used to meet C or better requirements. The V grade counts in total credits towards graduation, but do not factor into Penn State’s credit window.
(No Grade)
This grade will be available if a student earns an F in a course. Z can be used to replace an F grade and will be treated similar to Late Drop (LD). No credit is earned with a Z grade.


Alternative Grades must be entered into the LionPATH Alternative Grade Calculator and Request Tool between Wednesday, May 20th and Friday, May 29th. Students will only be able to enter this decision once per class; submitted choices are final. Make sure to get answers to any questions that you have before you request alternative grades for your courses. Your assigned adviser can assist you with these questions. You can begin looking at your grades now using the information found at http://www.registrar.psu.edu/grades/spring-2020-grading/ .

The LionPATH Alternative Grade Calculator and Request Tool will become available in LionPATH on Wednesday, May 20 and close on Friday, May 29. Until then, students can use the existing GPA calculator in LionPATH to estimate the effect of alternative grade choices for Spring 2020. 

General Guidelines from Penn State:

The general guidance is that you may want to use alternative grading for any course in which you earned a grade lower than your current GPA. For instance, if your GPA were 2.85, you would want to keep letter grades for courses in which you earned a B (3.00) or higher. You would want to select alternative grading for any courses in which you earned a B- (2.67) or lower. View the grade-point equivalent for all letter grades.

NOTE: If you have an Academic Integrity (AI) violation for any course this semester, that course is not eligible for an alternative grade. Alternative grading selections for courses unaffected by AI will be processed as you requested.


Please use the checklist below to think through whether the optional alternative grading is something you should use for your Spring 2020 grades.

  1. Find your current cumulative GPA in LionPATH.

    Click on Degree Planning and Progress button in LionPath. then click on GPA Calculator button in LionPATH . You will then see your cumulative GPA under Current Information. See example below.
    Current information section on LionPATH showing the number 29.0 in the Units for GPA field and 2.87 in the Cumulative GPA field.

  2. Determine which letter grade is above your current cumulative GPA.

    You can find the definitions of letter grades at https://senate.psu.edu/policies-and-rules-for-undergraduate-students/47-... or view the table below.

    Letter Grade Grade-Point Equivalent
    Grade Grade-Point Equivalent
    A 4.00
    A- 3.67
    B+ 3.33
    B 3.00
    B- 2.67
    C+ 2.33
    C 2.00
    D 1.00
    F 0.00

    In the example from step 1 above:

    • Any letter grade of B / 3.00 or higher (B, B+, A-, and A) would improve the student’s CGPA and DUS advisers would recommend that you keep your letter grade.
    • Any letter grade of B- / 2.67 or lower (B-, C+, C, D, and F) would decrease the student’s CGPA and DUS advisers would recommend that you consider the optional alternative grading.
  3. Review the specific entrance to major and licensure/certification considerations, if applicable.

    If you are considering a major in...

  4. Review the specific student population information below, if applicable.

    If you have additional concerns, further details can be found in the FAQs at https://remotelearning.psu.edu/alternative-grading/

  5. Review important information on Academic Warning status, if applicable.

    Students in Academic Warning have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) below 2.00 and should work closely with their academic adviser to careful consider accepting alternative grades. To return to good standing, students must earn a cumulative GPA of 2.00 (C) or higher. This generally means earning grades of C+ (2.33) or higher to offset recovery points. For more information on academic standing, please review policy 54-00: Academic Policy.

    No students will have their academic standing changed to warning, suspension, or dismissal as a result of their academic performance for the spring 2020 semester - under Graduation and Academic Progress. 

  6. . If you are concerned about how V and Z alternative grades would affect your financial aid, contact the Student Aid office: (814) 865-6301.