The Penn State Law Governing Faculty recognizes that many of our students have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and that their situations may change over the course of the semester. After a deliberative process that included extensive input from students and benchmarking of other law schools, the faculty decided to adopt mandatory credit/no-credit for Spring 2020 out of concern for our students most impacted by COVID-19.
This approach prevents students facing severe challenges from being additionally comparatively disadvantaged and from having to make hard choices about whether to opt-in or out of the usual grading scheme in a semester where they simply could not perform as well as usual. It also is the approach most adopted by other law schools nationally.
Students will receive a grade of “no credit” only if they would have received an “F” for a course. For courses that have a graduation requirement of earning a grade of “C” or better (experiential courses, seminars that satisfy the upper-level writing requirement, and professional responsibility), a “credit” grade satisfies the graduation requirement. For purposes of obtaining a concentration, any course in which a student receives credit during Spring 2020 will count towards the concentration, even if the usual requirement is a grade of “C” or better. Faculty will not give CALI awards this semester because of the reasons for moving to a credit/no-credit grading scheme for Spring 2020.
The class rankings will be calculated at the completion of the Spring 2020 grading period and will be published on each student’s transcript. A student’s cumulative GPA will remain the same as it was after Fall 2019 because neither a “credit” nor a “no-credit” grade will affect the GPA calculation (although class rank may change slightly based on the total number of students in each graduating class). Students graduating in May 2020 will be eligible for Woolsack honors and Latin Honors (cum laude, etc.) if they would have been eligible based on their class rank at the end of either Fall 2019 or Spring 2020.