The UW-Madison Office of the Provost sent a campus-wide email stating that there will be a special grading option for the Spring 2021 semester on Monday.
This grading option, similar to the accommodations made in Spring 2020, allows students to choose to replace the grade they receive in any eligible course with one of the following alternative grades: SD (Satisfactory-Disruption) or UD (University Disruption-No Credit). Disruption grading was not offered for the Fall 2020 semester.
Students can choose their grading options after final grades are published. A grade of SD or UD will not negatively — or positively — affect students’ GPA.
These changes were made in recognition that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an ongoing and cumulative impact on students. UW said that it recognizes that there were added challenges posed by the cancellation of the regular week-long spring break this semester.
“It is really great that the school has finally come to terms with the fact that the grading option will impact students' mental health,” said Lennox Owino, Associated Students of Madison Nominations Board Chair.
Owino sponsored ASM legislation in January that called for a pass/fail grading option for this semester.
“Given how last semester turned out, with the school choosing not to adopt an alternative grading system, having students who have had their academics impacted by the pandemic have alternative grading options this semester will at least allow them to have a breather, and similarly for those with scholarships on hinge worry less,” explained Owino.
Exams for the Spring 2021 semester are scheduled for May 2-7. Shortly after, students will be able to decide whether to take their final posted grade or to opt for disruption grades. Students are instructed to discuss grading options with their academic advisor.