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Trinity allows departments to choose S/U grading for courses below 200 level

A grading change is coming to Trinity three days before the start of fall classes. 

Under a new policy, departments in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences can choose a mandatory satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading scale for any course below the 200 level. Students in those courses will not be able to choose to receive letter grades but will be able to count the classes toward graduation requirements. 

The decision was made by the Executive Committee of the Arts & Sciences Council, which is chaired by José María Rodríguez García, an associate professor of romance studies. Martin Smith, dean of academic affairs for Trinity, announced the new grading policy in a Friday email to undergraduates.

The list of classes that have already adopted the mandatory S/U grading scale includes all sections of Writing 101—the mandatory writing class for all first-years—as well as the introductory calculus courses Mathematics 111 and 122. Statistics 101 will also shift to S/U grading. 

The policy change only covers classes that originate in Trinity, which excludes courses from the Pratt School of Engineering, the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Sanford School of Public Policy, which all offer undergraduate courses. The policy currently does not extend to the spring semester.

The change comes less than two weeks after the Duke Student Government passed a resolution calling for an S/U policy for 100 and 200-level courses and asking departments to consider making other classes S/U. 

That resolution asked Duke to lift restrictions on counting S/U 100 and 200-level courses toward graduation requirements, but requested an opt-in system rather than the mandatory S/U scale adopted for Trinity classes under the new policy.


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