CMC approves grading policy: students can view final grades before electing to take courses credit/no credit

Claremont McKenna College students will have until May 26 to request credit/no credit grades, after final grades are released May 22, under a new policy faculty approved at a Friday afternoon faculty meeting. The faculty also voted to extend the senior thesis deadline to May 11, dean of the faculty Peter Uvin announced via email Friday. 

Any student, in any course, may request a grade of CR/NC via email. All CMC instructors will honor requests for CR/NC, a change from the previous policy that grading changes would be granted at faculty discretion. 

It will also be noted on CMC students’ transcripts that spring 2020 was the COVID-19 semester.

“Faculty may consider adjusting their assignments or grading systems, so that students’ final grades will reflect their learning and accomplishments in light of the challenges we all are facing,” Uvin said. “We are not telling faculty what grades to give. We are also not favoring any particular system.”

We the faculty of CMC recognize the tough circumstances many of our students face. This has not been a normal semester for students or for faculty,” he added.

ASCMC endorsed the policies that CMC’s faculty passed Friday, ASCMC President Johnson Lin CM ’21 told students via email April 6. The administration and curriculum faculty committees previously did not support the extended thesis deadline, Lin told TSL via message. ASCMC also endorsed a grade floor and/or grade inflation, on which faculty did not vote. 

Four members of ASCMC were present at the Friday faculty meeting to present their proposed policies and answer questions. The faculty deliberated for approximately three hours, Lin said.

“I’m a little disappointed that we were unable to pass the grade adjustment but glad that our other three proposals succeeded,” Lin said. “At the very least, ASCMC was able to channel student perspectives into key decisions and I’m hopeful that it sets a good precedent for how students interact with administration in the future.”

In a survey conducted by student group 5C Students for Grade Equity, in which 47 percent of CMC students participated, grade inflation was the most popular option among CMC respondents — 84 percent supported it. 

Other options popular among CMC students included a B+ grade floor garnered with 82 percent, pass/fail with a letter grade option with 70 percent support and universal pass with a letter grade option with 66 percent support. A universal pass/fail system with no letter grade option was less popular, at 46 percent. The poll did not ask students about their opinions on an extended credit/no credit deadline. 

Harvey Mudd College and Scripps College are allowing students to opt in to take individual classes pass/no credit or pass/fail, respectively, while Pitzer College made P/NC the default and allows students to opt out. Pomona College also announced their updated grading policy Friday — becoming the only one of the 5Cs to adopt universal pass/no record grading.

Grading policies across the 5Cs will travel with each colleges’ students, according to information distributed by both HMC and Scripps. Faculty at each respective college will honor grading policies of the other campuses when assigning final grades.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

This story was updated April 17 at 6:56 p.m.

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