Implementing an S/U Undergraduate Research Course in a College of Agricultural and Life Sciences


  • Wendy Dahl
  • Amanda Ford
  • Allen Wysocki



undergraduate research, assessment, syllabi, grade transcript


Undergraduate research experiences provide engaging learning opportunities but are often not formally assessed for gains in knowledge and skills. This study examined undergraduate research assessment practices and the implementation of a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) research course in all academic units within a college of agricultural and life sciences. During the 2013-2014 academic year, students registered for a letter-graded research course, and supervising faculty were surveyed regarding assessment practices. Based on survey responses, an S/U 0-3 credit research course and syllabus template were implemented and subsequently evaluated in the 2015 and 2020 fall semesters. At baseline, most students did not receive a syllabus (87%) but were informed of expectations (89%); grades were determined by attendance and participation, findings confirmed by faculty respondents. Following implementation, 58% agreed or strongly agreed that they were more likely to participate in research with a 0-credit option (78%) and that having research on their transcript was important (89%). By 2020, 64% of respondents preferred a 0-credit option. Receiving a syllabus continued to be uncommon. S/U-grading of undergraduate research may be most appropriate for participatory-based assessment; however, steps are needed to promote the 0-credit option and ensure syllabi use for transparency of expectations and assessment criteria.


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How to Cite

Dahl, W., Ford, A. ., & Wysocki, A. (2024). Implementing an S/U Undergraduate Research Course in a College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. NACTA Journal, 68(1).