Middlebury Institute

Dear MIIS Students and Faculty,

As we work to ensure academic continuity in this period of great disruption, we strive to be as adaptable and responsive as possible. In considering changes to our grading policies for the spring semester, we started out by surveying the community so we could understand your perspectives on the issue. More than 500 of you shared your thoughts. We thank you and want to say, we heard you.

The survey results indicated a decisive and collective preference, both among students and faculty, for flexibility and optional pass/fail grading on a class-by-class basis. After careful consideration, and consulting stakeholders across campus, we have decided to adopt the following policy for the 2020 spring semester:

Optional Pass/Fail Policy

For courses currently evaluated by a letter grade, students can choose—on a class-by-class basis—whether their transcript will reflect letter grades or P/F grades. We are offering these two options:

  • Option 1 is the default to which all students are assigned unless they choose otherwise. For this option, letter grades assigned by faculty will be reported on students’ transcripts.
  • Option 2 is available to students through the opt-in process. For this option, grades of D- and higher will show on transcript as a P (pass). An F grade will show as F (fail).

This policy applies only to semester-long courses and courses that began in the second half of the spring 2020 semester.

Faculty will assign letter grades as usual and will not know whether a student has opted for pass/fail. Thus, students’ choices under this new policy cannot affect professors’ decisions about grades.

The last date for students to opt into the pass/fail option is Friday, May 8, 2020. Students are encouraged to seek information about their academic progress, and faculty are encouraged to share feedback before that date to enable students to make as informed a decision as possible.

How Pass/Fail Impacts GPA

A “pass” grade awards academic credit but does not impact the student’s GPA. A “fail” grade does not award academic credit and also negatively impacts the student’s GPA.

Transcript Notation

Students’ transcripts will note that the Institute began remote instruction March 3, 2020 and extended the use of a pass/fail grading system for all grades assigned in spring 2020.

Institute Policies for Withdrawal/Drop/Incompletes/Leaves of Absence Remain Unchanged

If a student has not met the April 3 and 7 deadlines for withdrawal and add/drop as outlined on the academic calendar, they should submit a Petition for Waiver of Academic Regulations. In this waiver they must request a withdrawal and explain why they were unable to comply with the stated deadlines. In approved cases, a “W” grade will appear on the transcript (for “withdrawal”) and the GPA will not be affected.

For further guidance on the Institute’s policies regarding incompletes and leaves, we encourage you to read the Academic Policies and Standards Manual.

Thank you for participating in the survey and helping us reach these important decisions around spring semester grading. We will be back in touch soon with more information about the implications of the pass/fail option on your individual degree. As always, academic and faculty advisors are available to answer any questions you might have.


With appreciation,

The Institute Council