Isabel Le, graphic artist
Minneapolis College’s Vice President of Academic Affairs Gail O’ Kane spoke to the Student Senate last week to announce that the school is proposing an extension of the Pass/No Credit to students for the Spring 2021 semester. This extension will only be available for courses that offer Pass/Fail or Pass/No Credit as a grading option.
According to the proposal, all final grades of “F” received during the Spring 2021 semester will automatically be changed by the College to a grade of “NC” (No Credit). “If you choose A through F, any F is going to be changed to a No Credit,” said O’Kane. “There will be no F’s this semester. The thing is even though a student can’t choose Pass/No Credit, in essence, they are getting Pass/No Credit because we’ll give them a Pass/Fail grade and then we’ll take away the F.”
This proposal may be especially beneficial to students concerned about their grades impacted by COVID. “The nice part about [this] is that students worried that a Pass won’t count toward a transfer don’t have to worry,” said O’Kane. “If they think they are not going to do well they can still get their ABCDF grading, and then on the back end say, ‘Okay, well, if I win and get a C or a B or an A, yay, [but] if I get an F, it’s going to be changed to No Credit.’ The No Credit will count as a course that you tried, but did not succeed in, so it will affect your completion rate. But you won’t have a ‘W’ (Withdrawal).”
As attractive as the Pass/No Credit option appears, students planning to transfer to other colleges need to look at how the Pass/No Credit option will affect them as transfer students. “So let’s say you’re an A student,” said O’Kane, “but you think you’re going to get a C this semester because of COVID, then you would say ‘I’m going to go Pass/Fail on this because I’ll get a pass and at least it won’t drag down my GPA,’ but you would only want to do that after checking on the transfer implication stats. If GPA is more important to you, fine, but that course may now no longer be accepted in transfer.”
Student Senate President Elena Williams said that she is very much in favor of the No Credit option. “As a young student, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and some of my decisions impacted my GPA,” said Williams. “NC’s were better than F’s, but there were still some on there!”
Veterans Coordinator Alan Ramos spoke of how his GPA benefitted from the No Credit option as a young college student in the 80’s. “[The] University of Minnesota offered that No Credit [grading option] as opposed to F’s,” said Ramos. “It was just automatic, and really that saved me when I graduated [in] seven years after four years in the army. Those F’s I received don’t reflect at all on my GPA.”
According to the proposal, students who receive a final grade of “D” for Spring 2021 courses will have the option to have their grade changed to “NC.” Sometimes a “D” grade is all that is needed to be accepted as having fulfilled a program requirement or to transfer to another college. Therefore, Minneapolis College will not change any “D” grades to “NC” unless requested by the student.
Students will have until the Withdraw deadline (April 20th) to decide which of the two grading options they want to use, ABCDF or Pass/Fail.
According to O’Kane, if this proposal is approved, an announcement will be made, and instructions will be sent out to students about how and when they want to make this decision.
Anya Savvy is a pen name for a Minneapolis College student who works as a reporter for City College News. To contact Anya, please email them at anya at citycollegenews.com.