NU to implement letter grading again for Fall term


Daily file photo by Catherine Buchaniec

Rebecca Crown Center. Northwestern is going back to letter grading this fall, according to an email from the Provost’s Office.

James Pollard, Summer Managing Editor

Northwestern is returning to letter grading for the Fall term, according to a Wednesday email from the Provost’s Office.

The University had previously shifted to a pass/no pass grading system in the spring. Students taking summer classes, however, have been assigned letter grades.

“In the spring, we made emergency changes to our grading systems and requirements as a result of the need for a rapid transition to remote coursework,” the email stated. “However, we have heard from many in our community that they are eager to return to traditional grading, an approach we have already implemented for Summer classes.”

In the interest of “flexibility,” considering the “public health challenges are far from over,” the email added the drop, withdrawal and grading option deadlines have been extended. Students will have until October 23 to drop a class and until October 2 to change their grading status to Pass/No Pass “where allowed,” according to the academic calendar.

The University reiterated its approach to safety in campus spaces, which includes face coverings inside buildings; six-foot physical distancing when entering, occupying and exiting campus spaces; and daily symptom surveys for those on campus.

Assigned seating can be expected to help contact tracing efforts. Passing periods will be 20 minutes long to give students and faculty time to safely get from one class to another. Cleaning materials will be available in classrooms as both instructors and students will be responsible for disinfecting their work areas upon entry. “Excess” furniture will be removed from classrooms as occupancy limits are kept at 20 to 30 percent of normal capacity in most cases.

But not all courses will take place in those classrooms — according to the email, most classes will be remote. An updated class descriptions website now features phrases like “Face to face,” which marks courses that will meet exclusively in-person, and “hybrid,” which reflects courses that will meet remotely and in-person.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @pamesjollard

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