In response to an inquiry by the Claremont Independent, Pomona College Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Robert R. Gaines confirmed that Pomona would be returning to a policy of letter grading for the 2020 Fall semester. The grading policy will return to normal despite the recent decision to hold final exams online.
According to the email, “[i]n spring 2020, [Pomona] experienced an unexpected interruption halfway through the semester and therefore faculty decided the grading system needed to adapt.” Though the possibility remains that all or part of the semester will be conducted online, “[the] faculty will have some time to plan if a portion of instruction needs to be online,” unlike in the spring of 2020.
Pomona adopted a Universal Pass/Incomplete/No Record Pandemic grading policy for the spring of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The decision was controversial among the student body; many students argued that sticking to a traditional grading schematic would be unfair to disadvantaged students, while others were concerned that the change to the grading policy would limit their ability to take advantage of future opportunities. Though the decision to switch to a universal policy was eventually made, not everyone was happy with the choice.
Though the college has announced details for the Fall 2020 semester, the Pomona administration has yet to decide whether students will return to campus, or if faculty will continue to hold classes online.
UPDATE: Dean Gaines has clarified that, though Pomona will as of now return to letter grading, faculty will be responsible for deciding on any potential further changes to the grading policy if it becomes necessary later on.