This article was written to celebrate April Fools' Day and published on April 1, 2024.  It is not real news.

The University of Michigan’s Statistics Department continues to push boundaries in higher education by adopting a new randomized grading scheme. Instead of final course grades being determined by a student’s performance on homework and exams, students will experience the laws of probability first-hand.

The randomized grading scheme is seamlessly integrated into all course Canvas pages under a new tab “Get My Grades.” After navigating to this page, students press a button to flip a virtual quarter. After only 5 flips, students will be assigned a grade based on the results of the coin toss. Under this scheme, students must get 5 consecutive heads in order to score an A+ in a course, just over a 3% chance. Students who question the randomness of the coins are permitted to bring a quarter to their professor’s office hours and flip the coins themselves.

Department administration believes the approach will shape a generation of more application-minded Statisticians. “Graduates from our program are prepared for real world problems,” argues department chair Liza Levina, “what use is calculating a posterior probability distribution if a student can’t win a simple coin toss?”

Students asked to comment on the new grading rules have mixed opinions. STATS 250 student Christopher Gilligan is happy with the new grading scheme; “I haven’t turned in any homework assignments yet this semester and I left my midterm blank. But I logged onto the website, did my flips, and I got a B+!”  Not all students feel the same about the new direction for the department. 4th year STATS 485 student Joan Wexler is feeling some anxiety as the semester winds down; “I’m supposed to graduate after this semester, but I need to pass this class first. I tried asking my GSI how I can prepare for the coin flips, but he said I just ‘need to be clutch with it.’”

Those disappointed in their grades are reminded that the department allows students to retake any course as many times as they need in order to receive a satisfactory grade (standard tuition rates apply).

Faculty and GSIs on the other hand are universally ecstatic at the news. “I’ll be able to devote more time than ever to conduct research,” said first year PhD student Julian Bernado. He continued, “I used to spend a lot of time making sure that all students were graded equitably and fairly, but now I’m confident that no students will receive preferential treatment.” Only time will tell whether the radical new grading system will help or harm the quality of Statistics majors’ education.

In related news, the department is looking to pull names out of a hat in order to determine all future graduate admissions.