Entire Ivy League Adopts Lenient Grading Policies

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

All eight of America’s prestigious Ivy League universities have adopted lenient grading policies over the Chinese virus pandemic.

As institutions of higher education across the country move their courses to online in response to the Wuhan coronavirus, schools have also been adopting lax grading policies. These schools include all of America’s Ivy League colleges and universities.

Some students are against pass/fail grading systems and other changes, as documented by Breitbart News. One student argued, “I say that the hard work that students put in should be rewarded in the form of allowing us to maintain a letter grade.”

Brown University

Brown University has given students the opportunity to decide whether they want to receive a letter grade for the semester, or be graded on a pass/fail system, according to a report by the Brown Daily Herald.

“For decades, Brown’s academic policies have promoted individualized student learning through principles defined by choice and purpose, and we continue to believe that these are also the most flexible and supportive policies for this moment,” wrote Dean of the College Rashid Zia in an email.

The email went on to state that no student’s academic standing would be negatively affected by coursework from the spring semester, adding that their academic standing reflects the number of courses students pass for each semester.

Columbia University

Columbia University also implemented a pass/fail grading system, but unlike Brown University, the grading policy is mandatory, as students will not be able to opt out or uncover their grades at the end of the spring semester, according to a report by the Columbia Spectator.

This decision had arrived on the heels of a petition circulated by students demanding to have the option to be graded on a pass/fail system. One professor argued that universities must abandon “preconceived notions” about how grades are earned.

Cornell University

In April, Cornell University announced that students would be graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory — or “S/U” — system, adding that students who had earned a C minus or higher would receive an “S” for the semester, while students with letter grades lower than a C minus would receive a “U” grade.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College has also moved over to a pass/fail system, granting students either a “CT” grade for “credit” or an “NC” grade for “no credit.”

“All Dartmouth undergraduate courses will be graded on a credit or no-credit basis for the upcoming spring term,” reported the Dartmouth in March.

Harvard University

Harvard has established a mandatory pass/fail — or “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory” — grading system in response to the Chinese virus, according to the Harvard Crimson.

Rather than standard letter grades, all undergraduate students will receive either an “Emergency Satisfactory” grade, or an “Emergency Unsatisfactory” grade for their spring semester courses.

Princeton University

In March, the Dean of the College at Princeton University Jill Dolan announced that the school is implementing an optional pass/D/fail (PDF) grading system for students who want to opt out of receiving a standard letter grade, according to a report by the Daily Princetonian.

The report added that the decision was made after the dean received “hundreds of emails” from concerned students, parents, and faculty.

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is allowing undergraduate students from all four of its schools to opt in for a “pass/fail” grade this semester in any of their classes, including courses needed for accomplishing credits toward their majors, according to the Daily Pennsylvanian.

The decision was made after more than 3,400 people signed a petition demanding the university grade students on a pass/fail system due to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

Yale University

In April, Yale implemented a universal pass/fail grading system for students’ spring semester grades, according to a report by Yale Daily News.

The report added that the announcement was made after weeks of “polarizing debate that swept through the University and its peer schools,” and that the idea of forgoing traditional letter grades for a pass/fail grading system had earned a 68 percent approval rating among students.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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