Anna Sharpe

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Winthrop University students had the option to choose a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) grading system for all classes for the spring semester.

Provost Adrienne McCormick said the school was aware that students would be in need of more grading options this semester since Winthrop has moved classes fully online.

“We knew that students were going to need some options this semester, so we started the conversation in Academic Leadership Council (ALC), a group that includes the provost, deans and other leaders in Academic Affairs. We shared ideas with the registrar and looked at what other schools were doing,” McCormick said in an email to the Palmetto Report.

On Friday, March 20 the student body received an email that outlined the new guidelines for the S/U grading option.

Typically, students are only able to S/U five courses over their academic career and can only elect to S/U one course per semester, with the exception of first-semester freshman, who may elect for two courses.

Also, the normal policy states earning a C- or higher in a course resulted in an S on a transcript and earned credit for the course. Anything below a C- that resulted in a U and course credit was not earned. Additionally, final grade is not factored into a student’s GPA.

“We wanted to make sure students had the best information when deciding whether to S/U a course, because an S/U grade does not impact the GPA. That can be good or bad. A U won’t lower your GPA, but an S can’t help increase your GPA either. So depending on where a student’s GPA was in fall, that student would need to make careful decisions about whether to choose this option,” McCormick said.

For the spring 2020 semester, students are able to choose S/U however many classes they need, regardless of major or minor requirements. This means it is possible for students to S/U all courses they are enrolled in this semester.

A C- or higher will still result in an S; however, all D grades will now result in a CR, which means students will receive credit for the course.

“After we opened up the S/U possibilities, we went a step further and shifted all D grades to CR for credit. So students will receive the credit hours, but they will not have the D calculated into their GPAs,” McCormick said.

Anything below a D- will result in a UN.

“For F grades, these will automatically be UN for all students. No credit, no impact on GPA,” McCormick said.

The switch to remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester has been difficult for many students. With classes moving fully online, many students were left unsure of how the rest of the semester would run.

Savannah Scott, a sophomore mass communication major, said she was not surprised Winthrop made the decision to change the S/U grading system.

“I think two days before they officially announced it, there was a petition going around to S/U, being able to S/U all your classes. I really wasn’t shocked by it, but I was very thankful we were given the opportunity to be able to do that, especially since certain circumstances are really hard for us right now,” Scott said.

Prior to the amended S/U policy, a petition was created on, calling for all classes for the rest of the semester to be evaluated as S/U.

“Students are worried about the move to online classes. Many students do not do well with classes that are solely online,” the petition stated. “Switching the semester to S/U would benefit many students by reducing the stress of online school.”

Having the option to S/U as many classes necessary has allowed Scott to relax despite the stress of online classed.

“It’s harder to learn on your own than it is in the classroom setting,” Scott said. “I’m not used to that and have never done it before. However, I do think I’m more relaxed in the fact that I am able to get a D in a class and be fine.”

Students had until April 28 to decide if they would like to S/U their classes.