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CSU allows students to opt for satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading system

Colorado State University is now allowing students to opt for a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading system for the 2020 spring semester only, according to a statement released by the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs. 

This grading system will treat grades as pass/fail to alleviate the stress of grades on students, according to Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs Kelly Long. Opting for this model will allow students to receive credit for their courses but not have it impact their GPA. 

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“We recognize that many students are concerned about how well they will perform in a remote (online) learning environment,” Long said. “We hoped that by allowing these choices for students, they would build their own confidence in their ability to complete the semester in a strong fashion.”

The really good news is that we are not in this alone. Campuses across the country are sharing their best thinking, and all of us, students foremost, will benefit by this large community effort to solve challenges.”  -Kelly Long, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs

Students will be able to request a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade rather than a traditional letter grade up until June 5. This grading model will not apply to students enrolled in the Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine program.

If students receive a C or above in a course, they may request to have the letter grade changed to “S” for “satisfactory.” D or F grades would appear as “U” to denote “unsatisfactory.” If a student receives a “U,” they will not receive credit nor a change in GPA. 

Students will be given the option to select individual course sections they want the S/U option to be applied to. Traditional A-F grading will be used for all other courses not selected for the S/U grade model.

Once the decision has been made to opt for S/U mode, changing back will not be permitted.

In the case of students having to qualify for particular graduate and other programs based on letter grades, Long said the Provost’s Office is confident that external parties will work with the change considering the events of this spring. 

“We know we will provide (a note on student transcripts) for some students and are debating about whether to simply include some sort of message indicating the events of this semester on all transcripts,” Long said.

With courses that aren’t well-adapted for an online platform, there have been questions surrounding how to translate certain courses for online access. 

Some programs will postpone requirements, others are utilizing online tools to support student learning and some resources are currently being developed, according to Long. 

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“The really good news is that we are not in this alone,” Long said. “Campuses across the country are sharing their best thinking, and all of us, students foremost, will benefit by this large community effort to solve challenges.”

Laura Studley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurastudley_

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