Campus Reform | Northwestern makes finals optional due to 'incredible stress' from coronavirus

Northwestern makes finals optional due to 'incredible stress' from coronavirus

This is due to "incredible stress" from coronavirus.

Northwestern University students have been informed that they do not have to take final exams.

Due to ongoing coronavirus concerns, Northwestern University students have been granted multiple unique grading exceptions and accommodations, including the option to forgo finals altogether.

In a Sunday university-wide email, Northwestern University Provost Jonathan Holloway urged professors to make all final exams optional this semester for all undergraduate students on campus, according to The Daily Northwestern.

Referencing “rapidly disintegrating travel options, the confirmed appearance of COVID-19 on campus and the incredible stress that everyone is trying to manage," Holloway explained that students who elect not to take their final exam will reportedly still receive a grade for their exam, but the grade will simply be a reflection of their scores received on their other coursework.

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“After consulting associate deans across the quarter-based schools this evening, it became clear that the complexities and nuances that are woven into end-of-term assessments at the graduate level preclude us from offering a university-wide policy on this matter,” Holloway wrote. “Final assessment policy for graduate students will be determined at the school level.”

Undergraduate students at Northwestern have also been granted the option to change their grades to a pass/fail rather than a letter grade option, so as not to impact their grade point averages.

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"That retroactive change can be pursued in the spring quarter and with the consultation of your academic advisor. More details about the mechanics of that change will be shared early in the spring term," explained Holloway. 

In addition to these grading changes, Holloway also promised that the university would add notes to official transcripts that "points to the fact that a global pandemic in winter and spring quarters 2020 required significant changes to coursework and led to unusual enrollment patterns and grades."

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