Monday morning, Michigan State students had news personally delivered to their student inboxes: The university would be implementing a satisfactory/non-satisfactory grading option for both the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.
The option offers students the opportunity to not report the grades they receive on their transcripts, and instead be displayed as either S for satisfactory, or NS for non-satisfactory. 0.0 grades will automatically be written as NS, whereas grades 1.0 and higher can be hidden if the student chooses to do so.
Following the announcement, students shared their first reactions.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Teresa Woodruff's announcement is different from the No Record-COVID (NR-C) grading scale that was announced in an email sent on Oct. 22, though faculty explained the option to students beforehand.
Psychology junior Serena Boykin said, "I like the S/NS grading better because it is a little bit more forgiving on our GPA’s and compensates for some of the struggles we might have had to deal with with everything going on in the world that may have made it harder for us to focus on our classes.”
With the option to hide class scores, students have the opportunity to spare their GPA in the event they get a low score.
“I think this is a great decision because for people who found it hard to adjust they get a second chance to salvage their GPA and stay on track for graduation," Marketing junior Todjanae Jones said. "GPA does not always equal intelligence.”
This semester was held almost entirely online. The switch may have been a harder transition for some students than others.
“Everybody learns different and this semester was really a trial run for every student on what works and doesn’t work for them,” Jones said.
Under the previous NR-C option, students that hid their grade would not receive course credit.
“At least with the S/NS option being implemented again, I know that if I do hit another rough spot but still earn the credit, I can still protect my gpa and not have to have a low score on my transcript. I think the S/NS grading system is a more empathetic approach to grades that is really necessary during this time,” Boykin said.
For business sophomore Emily Silwka, having the option to change grades will allow her to focus more on actually learning the course material, she said.
“I think that this option is going to help me worry less throughout the rest of the semester and help me really focus on my learning all around," Silwka said. "Overall I just think that this option is going to bring relief to many students.”
“I think this option is better in general because students can have the option to keep working hard in their classes and even if they didn’t receive the results that they had hoped this will give them the option to get the credit for the course and not drastically change their GPA,” said Silwka.
Students who opt to hide grades through the S/NS grading system for fall semester have between Dec. 23 and Jan. 5, 2021 to request their grade be hidden.
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