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Trinity loosens limits on S/U grading for spring 2021, releases list of mandatory S/U classes

Changes less expansive than in spring 2020

The Trinity College of Arts and Sciences has loosened restrictions on satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading for the spring—though the overall policy will remain similar to the fall—and released the list of classes with mandatory S/U grading. 

Courses for which students apply for S/U grading will not count towards the current limit of one voluntary S/U course per semester and four voluntary S/U courses during a student’s undergraduate career, wrote Martin Smith, dean of academic affairs of Trinity College, in a Tuesday email to undergraduates. Only students taking fewer than 5.0 course credits can take more than one voluntary S/U course. 

Smith wrote that individual departments will determine whether or not courses taken S/U will count toward major, minor or certificate requirements and as prerequisites. Individual instructors and academic deans must also approve students’ requests for voluntary S/U grading in the course.

Students’ requests for voluntary S/U grading should be submitted by the end of the third week of classes, and requests to change back to letter grades should be submitted four weeks from the last day of classes, Smith wrote.

The change regarding voluntary S/U grading comes was approved in November by the Arts and Sciences Council, Trinity’s faculty governance body. At the time, José María Rodríguez García, associate professor of romance studies and chair of the council, told The Chronicle that Trinity deans—working with Gary Bennett, vice provost for undergraduate education—would be responsible for implementing the policy. 

After the changes, the S/U policy for spring 2021 remains less expansive than the opt-out S/U grading adopted during the spring 2020 semester in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As in the fall, departments in Trinity can also choose courses below the 200 level to grade S/U. Students in these courses cannot opt to receive letter grades and will be able to count the courses for all requirements. 

The list of classes that have adopted mandatory S/U grading for the spring includes Mathematics 111, Statistics 101, Economics 104 and all sections of Writing 101, a similar selection to the fall. Compared to the fall’s 18 mandatory S/U courses—not including Writing 101 sections—12 courses chose mandatory S/U grading in the spring.

Similar to the fall, the policy only applies to classes that originate in Trinity, excluding courses from the Pratt School of Engineering, the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Sanford School of Public Policy.

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