Joining many other Universities across the country, the University of Wyoming (UW) is allowing students to apply to change how they will be graded in any class.
After discussing it with professors and advisors, students may apply to change their grading system from typical letter grades to a simple satisfactory or unsatisfactory grade-essentially pass/fail.
For a short period of time at the beginning of a typical semester, students can apply to be graded S/U in certain classes, such as electives. They are now able to request this change on all courses, but the request must be reviewed on a class by class basis.
"As I understand, it goes first to the professor who can say yes or no," Faculty Senate Chairman Ken Chestek said. "And then it goes to the adviser who says yes or no. It's basically just to make sure the students are checking in with all the people who can give them advice about whether or not it makes sense for them to go to S/U."
Depending on a student's circumstances and future education plans, it might not be in the student's best interest to make this change.
"For example, students who are thinking about going on to graduate school, they may need a course as a prerequisite that they need to have a good performance in and demonstrate that they've mastered a particular skill to increase their chances of getting into grad school. So, if they have a Satisfactory in that course, instead of high letter grade, that could hurt their chances of getting into the Graduate Schools later on," Chestek said.
This change will support students who are struggling with the move to online or other COVID-19 related issues.
"We don't want this to be another challenge that they have to struggle with. They signed up for courses under one set of circumstances and those circumstances have been radically altered by the response to COVID. A lot of students did not expect to be taking these courses by remote delivery," Chestek said. "And so there's a whole lot of anxiety for a new circumstance that they didn't sign up for. So an effort to reduce their stress level, we want to give them this option."
Students have until April 16 to request a grading system change. The application can be found on the Office of the Registrar's website.
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