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Most Duke graduate and professional schools move to satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading

Despite the increasing role of technology in higher education, more professors are banning the use of laptops in classrooms in an effort to hold students’ attention.
Despite the increasing role of technology in higher education, more professors are banning the use of laptops in classrooms in an effort to hold students’ attention.

One day after undergraduate classes moved to a default satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading option, some graduate and professional courses are following suit.

Out of Duke's 10 graduate and professional schools, most are following the undergraduate model by making S/U grading the default option. Implementing a general policy is difficult due to the differences among programs and respective accreditations and licensures. 

Regardless of the grading scheme, courses will count toward curricular, major, continuation and graduation requirements.

"We hope this change in policy eases some of the stress many of you are facing at this extraordinary time, while at the same time encouraging your learning and engagement for the remainder of the semester," administrators wrote in a Thursday afternoon email to students. "More than anything else, we hope you and your loved ones remain healthy and safe." 

Duke Divinity School will have opt-in S/U grading, and the School of Medicine will largely adopt the S/U model except for some clinical activities. 

The email noted that the School of Nursing and School of Law are working to determine whether S/U grading is acceptable, given policies related to "accreditation, licensure, as well as state-by-state regulatory bodies."  

This also means that undergraduates taking graduate-level courses can elect to take their courses on an S/U model.

"Concerns about stress and anxiety apply equally to our graduate students, indeed perhaps more so given the existence of young families for some, dislocation from familial support for others, abrupt changes in schools, childcare and work environments, and disruptions in markets generally," the administrators wrote. "We understand these emotions and want to avoid adding to them." 

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