Scripps announces new grading policy; students can opt in to pass/fail before May 6

A concrete courtyard with a round-about in the middle. In the round about there is green foliage and tall palm trees. The courtyard is surrounded by white college dorm buildings.
Scripps College students can opt in to pass/fail grading until May 6. (HuxleyAnn Huefner • The Student Life)

Scripps College students can now elect to have their classes graded pass/fail prior to May 6 due to coronavirus-related disruptions, registrar Kelly Hogencamp said via email Monday. 

The email instructed students to discuss their requests with professors, but said that professors will grant all pass/fail grading requests, a change from previous policy, under which professors had the discretion to approve or deny requests. Students can receive a pass/fail grade by emailing their instructor — no paperwork or petition is required.

A passing grade is now D or higher, rather than the previous policy of a grade of C or better in years past.

Many students had hoped for more sweeping changes. In a survey conducted by a group called 5C Students for Grading Equity, in which 56 percent of Scripps students participated, 85 percent of respondents expressed support for a B+ grade floor, 81 percent expressed support for grade inflation, 73 percent supported universal pass/fail grading with a letter grade option and 70 percent expressed support for universal pass with a letter grade option.

The survey did not ask students about their thoughts on a policy like the one Scripps implemented.

“I’m glad that the policy has been changed to ensure that the students have the power to decide whether P/F or a letter grade is right for them,” SAS president Niyati Narang told TSL via message. “However, any policy that is not universal is inherently not equitable.” 

Scripps’ updated grading policy differs from those announced last week by Pitzer College and Harvey Mudd College. Pitzer’s policy grants all students a pass/no credit grade by default, with an option to select a letter grade instead until May 15 — after final exams and most final assignments are due. 

Mudd’s policy is more similar to Scripps’, but, unlike Scripps, students will be able to see their final semester grades before requesting a pass/no credit grade. HMC students can opt in to pass/no credit until May 26. 

Pomona College and Claremont McKenna College have not yet announced updated grading policies in light of the pandemic. Classes moved online at the 5Cs March 30.

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