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FAMU Gives Students the Option Of Choosing Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Or Letter Grades

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Florida A&M University (FAMU) will allow students to choose between letter grades and satisfactory/unsatisfactory for eligible courses taken during the spring semester.

The announcement comes as students and faculty begin online and remote instruction for the final weeks of the spring semester as a precaution to prevent the further spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The Satisfactory /Unsatisfactory (S/U) Policy only applies to courses offered during the Spring 2020 semester. The grading policy does not apply to the College of Law.

The University has modified the Grading Policy to allow students the option of receiving either a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) or letter grade (A/B/C/D/F) in courses that are approved to offer the S/U grade. Students will be required to request the S/U option for eligible courses. They have until May 6 to decide how they want to be graded.

The University’s Senior Leadership Team, Faculty Senate and Deans Council have all endorsed the policy. 

“These are extraordinary times, and undergraduate, graduate and professional students need as much support as possible,” said Maurice Edington, Ph.D., provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “For numerous courses, teaching modalities and class requirements will be changing in an environment of high anxiety. Having flexibility in course grading will help ease some of the burdens on students during these stressful times.” 

Hours earlier, during the Board of Governors meeting Wednesday, State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser III spoke about giving students the opportunity to make an “informed choice” to decide between unsatisfactory/satisfactory and letter grades depending on their major, their status and financial aid.

   “I appreciate all of the hard work by the universities to make sure students have enough information to make the best choice that is good for them,” Criser said. 

Highlights:

  1. Each undergraduate, graduate, and professional course (excluding the College of Law school) will be designated S/U eligible (by default) or S/U ineligible.
  2. Deans, in consultation with faculty, may request that a course be designated S/U ineligible by April 1, 2020.  All sections of a course must be either S/U eligible or S/U ineligible. Final decisions on requests to make courses S/U ineligible will be made by the Provost based upon justification that must accompany the request.
  3. A student’s request to be graded with S/U will be automatically granted in S/U eligible courses, provided they submit the request between April 15 and May 6, 2020
    1. Note: Courses offered by the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering will follow the FSU S/U Grading Policy (FAMU students enrolled in these courses should consult with the Office of the Dean). 
    2. Note: Restrictions accompanying the current S/U grading policy will be lifted for the Spring 2020 semester.
  4. Students who choose S/U grades will receive a statement such as: 

“In certain circumstances, and for various reasons, faculty, advisors and other university officials may recommend that students NOT select the S/U option. Students on academic probation are strongly encouraged to consult with their academic advisor before making any decisions about the S/U option. Departmental policies, graduate/professional program admission requirements, and rules regarding external accreditations, among other factors, may influence the advice all students receive about this policy. However, the choice to select the S/U course grading option is the responsibility of the individual student.”  

  • Faculty will be notified of the policy that students have the option for S/U (for S/U eligible couses) or letter grading. 
  • For Undergraduate Courses: “S” grades will be given for “A”, “B”, and “C” grades and “U” will be given for “F” grades. In limited cases, an academic program may determine that assigning an “S” grade for an earned grade of “D” is acceptable for certain courses.
  • For Graduate and Professional Courses: “S” grades will be given for “A” and “B” grades and “U” grades will be given for “D” and “F” grades.  In limited cases, an academic program may determine that assigning an “S” grade for an earned grade of “C” is acceptable for certain courses.
  • Note: Some students may need to retake a course if their program requires a particular letter grade they have not earned (e.g., “S” grades may not be acceptable).
  • Students may not change the grade to S/U or back to letter grading after May 6, 2020
  • S/U grades will not affect the GPA.
  • A note will be added to all students’ transcripts for Spring 2020 denoting “Extraordinary Circumstances (COVID-19)“ or a similar statement.

Incomplete (I) Grades: The “I” makeup period will be extended through the end of Spring 2021 for Spring 2020 courses only. For students with Fall 2019 “I” grades, the period has been extended through the Fall 2020 semester. 

Course Withdrawal (W): The date to request a “W” for the Spring 2020 semester has been extended to April 24, 2020. Any “W” grade received during Spring 2020 will not count towards the maximum number of course withdrawals of five (5) permitted during matriculation at FAMU.

Additional guidance and information for students will be placed on the Registrar’s website on March 27, 2020.

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