Explained: UWL’s satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading policy


Graphic created by Sam Stroozas.

Luis Acosta Jr., Student Government Reporter

A temporary university “satisfactory/unsatisfactory” grading system has been established, as of April 23, in a proposal initially brought to the faculty senate on April 2. A temporary proposal for academic eligibility was also passed.  

The temporary grading measure will follow the regular 4.0 grading scale UWL has followed since the fall semester, where students will be able to “petition for the conversion of their earned letter grade, on a course-by-course basis, to the S/U designation,” according to the program change request presented to the faculty senate on April 20. Letter grades “C” or better will be converted to an “S” for satisfactory, letter grades “D” or “F” will be considered a “U” for unsatisfactory.  

To petition your case for an “S” or “U” letter grade, a completed form will need to be submitted to their respected Dean’s office by June 12. Once the form is approved by the Dean’s office, it is then passed over to the Committee on Academic Policies and Standards (CAPS) for further approval.  

The program change request continues as follows: “The result of the decision will be communicated to the student in a timely manner. May graduates’ requests will be given priority. Approval is likely, but not guaranteed. Impact on the student’s academic progress or programmatic accreditation will be considered.

If approved, “S” or “U” grades cannot be reversed. Students who do not apply for this grading policy by June 12 can appeal the deadline to CAPS. CAPS will not hear appeals after one year. “S” grading will initially stand as “a ‘C’ or better,” while satisfying pre-requisite, and major/minor requirements. 

A “U” grade will serve as the opposite, where it will not count towards credits earned and will be in its current practice that a “U” be treated as an “F’ for undergraduates. The final determination of how to treat a “U” grade is up to the institution reviewing the transcript.

As regular policy stands, a minimum grade point average of 2.0 and higher is needed to graduate, and students who may be opting to convert their grades over into the “S/U” system should be advised that it may end up reducing their grade.  

By adopting a petition process, we are still sensitive to students with barriers to full online engagement associated with COVID-19 including but not limited to the unforeseen financial situation, family situations, family or personal health considerations, and other life challenges as well as access issues read the CAPS report.    

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