Temporary Compassionate Grading Policy supports learners
Athabasca University (AU) has approved a new policy to support learners whose studies have been disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of our ongoing effort to support mental health and wellness, and to recognize the impact the pandemic is having on our learners, AU is temporarily allowing a flexible grading option for one course per academic year (Sept. 1-Aug. 31). What this means for learners is that under the Temporary Compassionate Grading Policy, the grade for one course can be unweighted and not included in your GPA. It would instead appear on your transcript as “P” for pass.
“We recognize the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our learners and understand many learners may not have been able to achieve the grade outcomes they wanted,” said Anne-Marie Scott, Deputy Provost, Academic Operations. “This policy will provide a flexible grading option to mitigate the impact of that on a learner’s GPA.”
The flexible grading option is available to learners who have achieved a minimum passing grade in their course, C- for undergraduate learners and B- for graduate learners. All learners are eligible, regardless of course load.
To be eligible under the policy, the course must have been completed and the grade entered into AU’s systems between Mar. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021. The policy will be reviewed in Nov. 2021 to determine whether it will be extended beyond 2021.
Some courses may not be eligible under this policy due to external accreditation requirements or other internal factors. Undergraduate learners should contact an adviser and graduate learners should contact their program director to confirm that a course is eligible under this policy.
Questions and answers
Who is eligible under this policy?
This policy applies to all learners—whether they’re program students or just taking a single course with AU—that have completed or will complete a course between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021. The mark for the course must have been entered into AU’s system within that date range to qualify for this policy.
How often can I use this policy?
Learners can use this policy for one course completed per academic year, which begins Sept. 1 and ends Aug. 31. A course is considered completed in the calendar year when a grade was awarded and is indicated on the learner’s record at a date within that range.
What courses are eligible?
There are some courses that won’t be eligible for this policy, due to external accreditation requirements or other internal requirements. Undergraduate learners should contact an adviser, and graduate learners should the program director for their program to confirm that a course is eligible under this policy.
Why was the threshold set at C- for undergraduate learners and B- for graduate learners?
The benchmark has been set at the minimum pass grades for undergraduate and graduate courses respectively.
Will using this policy affect my ability to get into another program or get a professional certification?
This is up to the receiving institution or professional organization.
Learners planning to apply to other programs or seek accreditation should consult with the institution or organization to understand what impact this policy will have on their eligibility. If a “P” is awarded under this policy, the change is final and cannot be reversed or appealed.
Why does this policy expire/will this policy be extended beyond December 2021?
This policy is intended to address the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic. It will be reviewed in November 2021 to determine if the policy will be extended beyond December 2021.
How will using this policy affect my student loans?
AU does not expect this policy to affect funding.
How long will it take to have the change implemented?
It could take as long four weeks to implement the change. We appreciate learners’ ongoing patience.
Who is the final authority/can I appeal the decision if my request under this policy is denied?
Advisers and program directors will be able to determine if learners are eligible for this policy. Their decision cannot be appealed.