Beginning this semester, professors are required to submit midterm grades for each student, regardless of their performance in the class. Rather than a typical letter grade, these grades appear in Banner as an S (satisfactory), U (unsatisfactory) or N (never attended).
“This [system] was implemented to give students and advisors a better picture of the student’s progress to-date in their current courses,” said Wes Hillyard, director of Academic Services. “It will allow students to make informed decisions regarding individual course withdrawal and potentially, planning for future courses in the subsequent semester.”
Previously, professors were only required to notify students if they were performing unsatisfactorily in a class.
On Oct. 14, students received an email from Registrar Rita Dunston, informing them that their midterm grades were available to view. Students can view their grades by logging into Banner, selecting Student and Financial Aid, then going to My Student Profile and View Grades.
“The purpose of the mid-semester grade is to serve as a reality check of your academic performance midway through this semester,” the email said. “The grades are not reported on your permanent record and are not indicative of the grade you will earn for the entire course.”
Dunston also informed students that they should reach out to any professors who did not upload grades in order to check on their progress in the class.
Hillyard believes this new system will be helpful for students and advisors in creating academic goals and plans going forward.
“This is very important for students who need to successfully complete courses to progress in majors, improve their GPA, and plan for degree completion,” he said. “The more information we can get into the hands of students and advisors, the better equipped we are to help our students maintain academic progression towards degree completion.”
Many students and professors have found this new policy to be beneficial.
“Since the grade does not actually impact our transcripts or overall grade, I think it’s a great way to see which classes we might need to work a little extra in,” said junior environmental science major Faith Jones. “As an athlete, we’ve already gotten mid semester grades and I’ve always found them as a helpful check in, especially when I have professors who don’t update Canvas with grades frequently, so I’m glad it’s being implemented for all students.”
On the other hand, some professors have noted that while helpful, this system subtly takes away accountability.
“Midterm grading is a convenient and nice thing to do for students,” said economics professor Shawn Humphrey. “However, every time we professors do something for you that you should already be doing or learn how to do for yourself, in this case keeping track of your grades, we erode your agency. Our culture and society keeps telling you to grow up but then we take away opportunities for you to do just that. It is a bit insidious, all in the name of convenience.”
Some students also feel that the new policy may be discouraging and unhelpful, especially for those who are just transitioning into college.
“If the goal is to rehabilitate and give perspective to those struggling, I think that there are a lot of better ways to do that aside from categorizing people into either being ‘satisfactory’ or ‘unsatisfactory,’” said freshman Joey Gasink.