Pomona Faculty to Debate P/NC Grading Scale

Pomona College faculty will vote Wednesday to switch the college’s grading scale to a mandatory pass/no credit system, meaning only Pass (P), No Record Pandemic (NRP), and Incomplete (I) grades would be given. The switch—which will only apply to the current semester—comes amid classes shifting online and the majority of students leaving campus. 

Pomona College’s student body government—Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC)—voted for, and recommended a double-A grading system—meaning that only A or A- grades will be awarded—to the faculty for a vote.

“We’re writing to share with you the motion that the Executive Committee (EC) has just released to the faculty. The faculty will be meeting this Wednesday at noon to debate and vote on the motion; if it passes, it will become our grading policy for Spring 2020.

The motion calls for students to be graded on a Pass (P), No Record Pandemic (NRP), or Incomplete (I) basis. It also calls for Pomona College transcripts to bear the notation ‘Covid-19: Enrollment & grades reflect disruption of Spring 2020.’ The motion further asks faculty to exercise the highest degree of flexibility and compassion regarding student learning and expectations. P grades will count for all major and minor requirements, including senior exercise. When curricular pathways are vertically-designed, departments will devise fair and equitable ways to ensure students are prepared for their future studies,” ASPC wrote in an email to students.

ASPC expressed its disappointment in the same email: “We know that you may not think this motion is optimal policy. We agree — we asked for an A/A- policy, and the faculty will not endorse that policy. We are disappointed that our top choice wasn’t proposed. But we feel proud of this process, one where faculty did listen to student input. ASPC’s recommendations were grounded in the views of hundreds of students as expressed in the 5C survey conducted by 5C Students for Grade Equity (which included 681 responses from Pomona students), seventy-six written comments sent directly to us, an ASPC survey that received 467 responses (including 122 written comments), a two-hour-long open forum, and our open Senate meeting. Armed with all of that input, we supplied students and faculty with two reports, including ASPC’s formal policy recommendation.”

A survey compiled by 5C Students for Grade Equity—a student group of the five Claremont Colleges, consisting of Pomona, Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges—highlighted the need for “equitable” grading. The group cited lack of workspace or internet access among students who had fewer resources at home.

Pitzer College opted to adopt a pass-fail grading policy with letter grades optional.

 

This story is developing and will be updated.

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