The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Taking the grade

Pass/fail options limited but still available

Have the first few weeks felt too hectic? Do electives even seem stressful? There could be some hope in sight. Students have until January 29 to declare pass/fail in courses for this semester.

According to the undergraduate catalog, pass/fail must be declared by the twelfth day of classes and is only available in elective courses or after all program requirements have been met. General education requirements can’t be taken pass/fail with the exception of CHOICES for living. In addition, only one pass/fail course may be taken each semester, with a total of 12 pass/fail credits during a student’s academic career.

“In contemporary university education, grades are the norm and pass/fail the exception. Hence, [it’s] most likely the reason to limit the option to 10 percent [or less] of a student’s work,” according to Faculty Senate president, William Bridge.

To declare pass/fail in a course, the student must first seek approval of their adviser and then get approval from both the instructor and the dean. Meeting with an academic adviser is especially important because of exceptions that apply to certain courses.

Academic adviser Christine Sekerke explains anything below a C- is still considered a failing grade, and will reflect as such when the GPA is calculated. Passing grades will not be calculated as part of the GPA, but will count toward the total number of hours the student earns.

“You have to pass the class,” academic adviser Chris Sekerke said, in an effort to dispell the notion that pass/fail classes are an easy way to get out of coursework.

Thinking beyond this semester, pass/fail can be considered as a way to broaden academic horizons without the risk. Bridge sees it as a way to explore other areas and teachers safely.

“I think that’s a wonderful way to be a little bit academically adventurous, broaden your overall education and not be risking as much as you would if you were concerned about earning that A or that B,” Pat Feldman of the Learning Enhancement Center said.

Although pass/fail can open up options, Bridge, Feldman and Sekerke seem to agree that it is important to consider the big picture.

Bridge offers some advice for the decision making process,” I would suggest first checking with her/his academic adviser, second checking with a departmental adviser, third checking on possible restrictions by potential employers, many of whom either frown upon or completely ignore pass/fail courses, and fourth articulating the reason why the student does not want to have her/his work evaluated on a more discriminating basis.”

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