Harvard Adopts ‘Emergency Grading’ System Demanded by Students

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Harvard University announced this week that it will adopt an “emergency grading system” that will force all professors to grade their students by a “pass/fail” standard. Harvard is one of many universities around the country that have adjusted their grading policies in response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. The Ivy League institution made the change based in part on student demands.

According to a report by Campus Reform, Harvard will only be graded on a “pass/fail” metric for the spring semester. Harvard announced this week that they are revising their grading policy to protect students that are struggling as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

Breitbart News reported last week that students at Penn State will be permitted to change their grades at the end of the semester if they are unsatisfied with them. Other universities and colleges have adopted similar revisions to their traditional grading policies.

In a section of the Harvard website that addresses ongoing changes to student life, school officials announced that the university is adopting an “emergency grading” policy. Under the policy, students will either receive an “Emergency Sat” or “Emergency Unsat” grade for each course. “Emergency Sat” simply means that the student passed the course. “Emergency Unsat” means the opposite.

“Over the past two weeks, as you know, there has been a great deal of discussion over whether we should shift to an alternate grading system. We have decided to do so. In the spring of 2020, all undergraduates will receive grades of either Emergency Sat or Emergency Unsat. Below you’ll find an email from Claudine Gay, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, explaining why we are making this shift,” the Harvard website reads.

Harvard Dean Amanda Claybaugh said that the decision to adopt the policy was made after reflecting on the demands of students, some of which published editorials in the Harvard Crimson. Many students demanded in March that the university adopt a “pass/fail” grading metric.

“Finally, I’d like to thank all of you who spoke out — so passionately and so thoughtfully — about this issue. Our thinking was informed by The Harvard Crimson editorials, by Undergraduate Council proposals, by consultation with the Honor Council, but it was informed just as much by the individual emails sent by so many of you,” Claybaugh wrote. “We have tried, in this new policy, to address the needs of all of our students, while also responding to the enormity of the situation we find ourselves in.”

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