Tuesday, October 19, 2021

MSU offers Satisfactory/Non-Satisfactory grading option for 2020-21 academic year

November 9, 2020
<p>Statue of President John A. Hannah with a mask on in front of the Hannah Administration Building on Sept. 20, 2020.</p>

Statue of President John A. Hannah with a mask on in front of the Hannah Administration Building on Sept. 20, 2020.

With the announcement of a Satisfactory/Non Satisfactory, or S/NS, grading option, students will finally get the grading system they have been advocating for from the university.

The announcement comes from the Office of the Provost, in an email titled “Progressive Planning Update on Academic Records for Faculty and Students.” The announcement came Monday, following a string of actions between students and student government.

Most recently, a meeting between Provost Teresa Woodruff and Abii-Tah Bih, Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, president and deliberation on Bill 57-28 in the University Committee on Undergraduate Education.

The announcement states:

"We offered a Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory (S/NS) binary grade reporting option for students in spring 2020, and we will offer this option again to students for fall 2020 and spring 2021. Students will earn numerical grades and will have the option to maintain their grades or to record a S/NS for their coursework. For undergraduate students, the threshold between S and NS will be 1.0. Grades of 0.0 will automatically be converted to NS and undergraduates will have until January 5, 2021 to view their grades and decide on a class-by-class basis if they would prefer to have a grade in any particular course recorded on their transcripts with the numerical 1.0-4.0 grade or with S. All original grades will be retained by the Registrar’s Office in case students need them reported sometime in the future."

Students can start requesting that grades for the fall semester be recorded as S/NS on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020 until 11:59 EST on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. S/NS will replace the previous No Record-Covid option.

The Office of the Registrar will retain the original grades in the case a student needs them displayed on their transcript at a later date.

ASMSU passed legislation, Bill 57-28, advocating for S/NS for the fall semester in their Oct. 22 General Assembly meeting. A petition, which is still collecting and sits at over 4,100 signatures at the time of publication, advocates for the same.

Although advocacy for this pass/fail grading option has been in motion since the summer, the general response from administration prior to this announcement is that students have known about the online format leading up to the semester and that if no other schools have this option, students will be less competitive when applying for graduate schools.

In response, on Monday, Nov. 2, Bih and 12 other Big Ten student body presidents from the Association of Big Ten Students released a letter asking their universities to implement some form of Pass/Fail or S/NS grading for the fall semester. This way, Bih said, students from every Big Ten university might have the option, leveling the playing field. So far, MSU has been the only university to respond by granting the request.

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