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What factors did the university consider when adopting the Satisfactory/No Credit grading policy for spring 2020?

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During such distressing times amid unprecedented circumstances, when most students have been displaced to homes around the world and faculty are being asked to rapidly shift their classroom courses to untested online environments, our entire Stanford community has been challenged to consider how we can best meet this moment with understanding, agility, and grace. The Faculty Senate spent nearly four hours examining Stanford’s grading policy for Spring Quarter in a special session held online. Among the key points of consideration during the discussion:

  • ensuring education equity, given that some students, especially those within our most vulnerable communities, may have limited access to broadband connection or find themselves in challenging home environments ill-suited for learning and quiet study
  • the unpredictable nature of how any number of courses may translate in a virtual format
  • embracing a primary focus on learning rather than traditional course assessment
  • the extra pressures on student mental health during an indefinite period of crisis

This message from Faculty Senate Chair Tim Stearns offers greater clarity around why the Senate reached its conclusive resolution.