Pomona “Pass” Grade To Be At Professor Discretion

Just after Pomona College decided to switch to Pass/No Record Pandemic/Incomplete grading, the Independent reached out to Pomona’s administration with a few questions to clarify the policy’s details. Earlier today, the administration sent back its reply. The administration’s answers are below, edited for clarity and concision. 

Q. What’s the cutoff going to be for a Pass grade? Will it still be a C- and above, or is it entirely up to the professor’s discretion?

A. This cutoff will be at the professor’s discretion. Some will certainly elect to keep the typical practice. 

Q. Will professors be encouraged by the administration to keep shadow grades for letters of recommendation?

A. Professors will continue to keep grades for individual assignments and tests. Some may change how they grade, going forward, in light of our new policy. This is likely to be highly individual, and we support the academic freedom of our professors to operate within our policies. We will encourage our faculty to retain information that will be useful for letters of recommendation, (although we have no doubt they already are doing so – our faculty takes letters of recommendation very seriously). 

Q. When and how will Latin honors for the class of 2020 be decided?

A. Latin honors will be assigned at the time of degree conferral, using the same policy that we have historically used. The only difference will be that we will drop the requirement that 75% of courses must be taken for a letter grade. 

Q. How will Incomplete grading affect seniors? And how will underclassmen be affected?

A. Incomplete work will need to be finished by the end of the first week of the fall semester; otherwise, the grade will be automatically converted to NRP (No Record Pandemic). In the case that an incomplete leaves a senior with less than 32 credits, degree posting will be delayed until the work is completed. 

Q. Is there any way students taking classes at other members of the Consortium could adopt that institution’s grading policy? For example, if a student is taking the majority of their classes at CMC, would that student be able to opt into letter grades? If so, how would that show up on their transcript?

A. Pomona students will be graded in all of their courses in accordance with the policy just approved by our faculty, whether or not some courses were taken off campus. 

Q. How was the faculty vote split? What percentage of faculty were for the current policy, and what percentage were against it?

A. The policy was voted in by a large majority of the faculty – more than 75 percent of the votes were to approve it.

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