In an email to all University students, Professor Frank Lorenz Müller (Dean of Arts & Divinity) and Dr Jon Issberner (Acting Dean of Science) provided an update on the current S-coding protocol.
As of now, students who wish to complete the process of S-coding will have to follow the pre-COVID process.
S-coding refers to the process a student must go through in order to change their final module grade due to extenuating circumstances. If the module is passed, the credit is retained, but the grade is not included in degree calculations. If the module is failed, the student will have the opportunity to be assessed further, with their previous grade being voided. S-coding can only be applied to modules at level 3000 or higher.
Usually, requests for S-coding must be made before final module grades are released. But if circumstances are particularly extenuating, grades can be retroactively S-coded, meaning S-coding occurs after final grades are released. This has traditionally been extremely rare, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University allowed retroactive S-coding for all students taking modules at level 3000+ at the end of the 2020 spring semester.
However, this past semester saw this policy revoked, and the old s-coding protocol once again implemented. In response, a student petition emerged on change.org in an attempt to convince the university to return to the policy of more accessible retroactive S-coding. The petition currently sits at just above 500 signatures.
It states that, “The vast majority of students at the University of St Andrews have been struggling to cope with their academic coursework and exams in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The University has, to be sure, put a great deal of effort into making St Andrews safe, comfortable, and enjoyable for its students. However, there are various concerns, many of them beyond the control of the University, which have severely impacted the ability of its students to work effectively.”
Despite the reach of the petition, the University is not currently looking into changing its S-coding policy. The email said, “We know that many of you have experienced extenuating circumstances, perhaps more so than in a normal year, and so we wanted to assure you that S-coding will still be available to students taking modules at 3000 to 5000-level this semester. This will be handled on the basis of the usual (pre-COVID) regulations (see below), though, and is no longer a freely and selectively available option.”
The email also confirmed that the University’s stance on retroactive S-coding had not changed, “This should happen before the module results are released, but it will be possible, under strict conditions, to apply for retrospective s-coding (i.e. for an S-code to be applied after the module result is known).”