Special Grading Model Introduced at Zayed University Amid Remote-Learning Period

14 Apr 2020

Following the three weeks of Remote Learning, Zayed University (ZU) announced the implementation of a special grading model for courses of the Spring 2020 semester, to ensure students GPA won’t get effected due to current circumstances.

The Pass/No Pass (P/NP) model, which has been adopted by several reputable higher education institutions regionally and globally, will apply to all undergraduate and graduate students of ZU. To express alignment with Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the P/NP model is considered as an appropriate way forward for the Spring 2020 semester. However, further clarity will be provided on the Summer Semester in due course.

"We recognize that students are concerned about their grades during this remote learning phase. The decision, of the Pass/No-Pass grading model, was done after consultation and benchmarking with international standards. We are offering this flexibility because COVID-19 has forced such massive adjustments in all of our lives. " said Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Acting Vice-President of Zayed University.

"Zayed University is ready for all the eventualities that can affect the learning process and has developed plans and actions that will assist in making the E-learning journey smooth. Come what may, the external challenges do not steer us away from our promise to our students – and that is to continue to deliver the highest academic standards and practices. It is our obligation to persist in honoring the University’s values and to ensure continuity so as to enable our students towards long-term success and to thrive as the future of contributors of the UAE. " Al Yousuf Added.

“The P/NP model will be based on faculty assigned final grades, which they produce on regular course bases, according to the University's Grading System.  The Students Registrar's Office will inform students to review their grades and to decide if they want to accept the grade of each course as posted or to have some, all or none converted to a P/NP grade,” Al Yousuf said. “Students will be given a deadline of 7 calendar days to decide and indicate their choices for grade conversion, if any.  And Those who elect to opt to the "P/NP" option, a note is added to his/her record/transcript indicating that 'A special grading option was adopted by the institution for this semester due to the academic disruption by COVID-19 pandemic.”

The (P) grade is assigned when a student's overall academic performance in the course is Satisfactory, which is 60 or better for undergraduate courses and 70 or better for graduate courses. This grade will give students credits without impacting their GPA. The (NP) grade is assigned when a student's overall academic performance is Unsatisfactory, and this grade will neither earn credits nor impact the GPA.

The Pass/No-Pass grading model allows students to focus on their learning outcomes and growth while having more opportunities to improve and ease the pressure on the fear that a student's GPA could get affected due to the current circumstances.

"Delivering practical sessions remotely is certainly more challenging and relevant colleges are approaching instructional delivery innovatively and are continuously exploring new techniques," ZU Acting Vice-President said.

Majors that require lab work have been modified by converting laboratory sessions into theoretical assignments that require critical thinking skills and creativity while still meeting the required learning outcomes.  We are also experimenting with the use of 'virtual laboratories', where students can experience a virtual version of a particular experiment through their computer or device.

"Current assessment and quality assurance measures have been modified, and we are currently incorporating new methods suitable for e-learning such as open-book exams; active collaborative assignments, projects, and research papers."

Al Yousuf encouraged the Zayed University community to be patient, flexible, and to continue to kindly provide constructive feedback into how the learning experience could be improved.