Update: College maintains opt-in Pass/D/Fail policy

Students+can+declare+Pass%2FD%2FFail+using+an+electronic+form+from+the+Registrar%E2%80%99s+Office.

BENJY RENTON

Students can declare Pass/D/Fail using an electronic form from the Registrar’s Office.

By BOCHU DING

The college will not alter its current opt-in Pass/D/Fail grading policy after student groups called for changes to the existing guidelines, but will extend the deadline to invoke the option to May 8, according to an email sent to students by Provost Jeff Cason, Dean of Faculty Sujata Moorti and Dean of Curriculum Suzanne Gurland.

The updated policy also establishes an extended window from May 9 to May 15 during which students may revoke Pass/D/Fail. Previously, students had until May 1 to declare the option and could not retract their decision. 

The college will add a memo to students’ transcripts, indicating that a grade of “P” is not reflective of diminished academic rigor, but “should be interpreted as a reasonable response to these extraordinary circumstances.” 

The announcement follows a heated debate between opposing #OptInMidd and #FairGradesMidd platforms, among others. On Tuesday, the Student Government Association (SGA) sent out a survey asking students to indicate their preferred grading model. The survey received 1,843 responses, with 59.2% of respondents indicating the Dual A model as their first choice. Universal pass/fail followed, comprising 22.4% of respondents’ first choice and opt-in pass/fail 18.4%. 

COURTESY PHOTO/STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION

An overwhelming majority — 93.8% — of students also supported extending the deadline to invoke Pass/D/Fail so that students could make a decision after professors released spring semester grades (in the event that the college upholds its opt-in Pass/D/Fail system). 

COURTESY PHOTO/STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION

SGA president Varsha Vijayakumar ’20 said in a text to The Campus that, to the best of her knowledge, the SGA had yet to share the survey data with administrators. 

Before reaching their decision, administrators considered the arguments of both campaigns, individual students and faculty members, according to the email. The decision was also informed by conversations with individuals from the health professions office, elected faculty committees, registrar’s office and peer schools.  

The college maintained its current policy on the grounds that proposed solutions were either inadequately compelling or introduced new issues. “Each time we considered a potential change to the announced policy, we either weren’t convinced it actually did a better job of achieving equity and fairness, or found that it would create a different, even worse problem,” the email read. 

Students can invoke Pass/D/Fail using this form provided by the registrar’s office.