FAQs for Spring Term 2020 Academic Life

The Academic Dean’s Office has compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding Spring Term 2020. Page will be updated as more questions arise.

  • Why are we moving to Pass/Fail grades and not keeping numeric grades intact?

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    The Academic Working Group considered a variety of factors when opting to remove numeric grades for Spring Term 2020, including:

    • The one-week extension of Spring Break and two weeks of remote instruction representing 30% of the Spring Term.
    • Ongoing uncertainty (at the time) regarding the return to in-person classes.
    • Likelihood (at the time) that some students would need to utilize remote instruction for the entire term regardless of a return to campus.
    • Short timeframe for teachers to alter their courses for remote instruction.
    • Eliminating the pressure on students to attain specific numeric grades while adapting to the online medium.
    • Assurances from colleges that the lack of numeric grades for Spring Term 2020 would not hinder our students’ candidacies.


  • How will my Deerfield transcript look reflecting the 2019-2020 school year?

    Fall and winter grades have been recorded and will appear as usual. Spring Term grades will be recorded as Pass (P)/Fail (F) and will not have numeric equivalents assigned to them, neither internally nor on the transcript itself. For year-long courses, the course-end numeric grade listed will be the average of the Fall and Winter Terms. For Spring Term electives, the course-end grade will be the same as the Spring Term grade: P/F, and will not be factored into the student’s grade point average.

  • Will there be any numeric equivalents assigned to Pass/Fail for the Spring Term at Deerfield?

    There will not be any numeric equivalents assigned to P/F. As is customary, teachers are given discretion in how they determine grades for their classes.


  • How will colleges interpret our Spring Term grading designations?

    The College Advising Office has already received many reassurances from colleges, stating that they understand the challenges this situation poses for students and families, as well as high schools around world. They stand ready to be flexible and understanding about the ways this extraordinary moment changes normal practices, from grading, to students’ ability to take tests and participate in activities.  Some colleges have already officially changed their standardized testing requirements. They fully understand that the way they will make decisions for the Class of 2021 must be and will be different from previous years.

  • How will the college process proceed with the class of 2021?

    College advisors will continue to support students through the college process. At the beginning of Spring Term, college advisors will reach out to members of the class of 2021 with instructions on how to set up virtual meetings so they can continue their one-on-one counseling meetings and answer individual questions.

  • What are the implications of the cancellation of administration of the SAT/ACT this spring?

    The College Board has cancelled the May 2 SAT.  The ACT has cancelled its April test and students will be rescheduled to the June 13 ACT.  Colleges are certainly aware of all of these changes and will be flexible. A few colleges have even changed their testing requirement policy. Standardized testing companies are working hard to determine solutions for the future.

  • What is the plan for AP exams this spring?

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    All Deerfield courses, including AP-linked courses, are expected to reduce coverage in their classes during the spring term by virtue of the online format. The College Board recently announced plans to restructure AP exams that students will be able to take at home, and for which students can focus on the first 75% of their respective courses. Teachers can guide interested students to online preparative materials; however, this work will be considered extra-curricular. Additionally, the College Board has shared the following:

    Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, students and teachers can attend free, live AP review courses, offered by AP teachers from across the country. These mobile-friendly classes are:

    • Designed to be used alongside work that may be given by schools.
    • Will be recorded and available on-demand so teachers and students can access them any time.
    • Not dependent on current AP teachers continuing instruction. We know many AP teachers now face challenges that would make that impossible.

    For more, see: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update


  • Can students change courses for Spring Term 2020?

    Due to the extraordinary circumstances as this online Spring Term begins, the Academic Dean’s Office will not allow course changes for Spring Term.

  • When will the course request process for returning students begin?

    The course request process for returning students will proceed as usual with a slightly altered timeline. Starting the week of April 6, advisors will begin meeting with their advisees and students will have access to course request information sessions provided by the Academic Dean’s Office. Students should communicate with their teachers and advisors about sequential courses and ranking choices, and advisors will be asked to fill out course request forms for their advisees starting the week of April 13. Course requests will be due April 29. Members of the Academic Dean’s office will work with advisors and department chairs to correct and vet course requests as necessary by the end of the school year. The scheduling process will take place as usual over the summer, with schedules posted sometime at the end of the summer.

  • When will annual enrollment and financial aid materials for returning students be sent?

    Annual enrollment and information about financial aid will be sent in mid-April.