Now that Harvard is doing this, expect many other schools to follow suit.

The Harvard Crimson reports:

Harvard College Adopts Universal Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory Grading for Spring 2020 Due to Coronavirus​​​​​​​

Harvard College will adopt a universal satisfactory-unsatisfactory grading system this semester as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay and Dean of Undergraduate Education Amanda J. Claybaugh announced in respective emails to faculty and students Friday afternoon.

All undergraduates will receive grades of either “Emergency Satisfactory” or “Emergency Unsatisfactory” in their spring classes. Faculty may supplement this terminology with a “qualitative assessment of student learning” in my.harvard.

The decision comes several weeks after University President Lawrence S. Bacow announced in a March 10 email that all classes would move online and that Harvard would require students not to return to campus after spring break.

The Committee on Undergraduate Educational Policy, an FAS standing committee that oversees undergraduate education, made the recommendation for a universal grading system after conducting a review comissioned by Gay. In its survey, the EPC solicited input from directors of undergraduate studies, the Undergraduate Council, and the Honor Council, as well as from graduate, fellowship, and internship programs, according to Gay’s email.

Gay added that the Faculty Council discussed the proposal “at length,” ultimately granting it a “unanimous endorsement.”

“We of course remain committed to academic continuity, but we cannot proceed as if nothing has changed. Everything has changed,” Gay wrote. “This new terminology is purposefully chosen to indicate the unique nature of this semester in the archival record and to distinguish this semester’s grades from Harvard College’s standard grading system.”


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