CWU implements pass or fail grade options

Abigail Duchow, Senior Reporter

Due to all classes being taught online, CWU has implemented a system to help students succeed in a learning environment they may not be familiar with. The system CWU will be using for spring 2020 is pass or fail grading. 

Interim Provost Lynn Franken described how pass or fail grading works during the virtual Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting on April 9.

According to Franken, professors will continue to grade students as usual. However,  with pass or fail grading, students can choose if they want to accept their letter grade within 4 days of when their final grades are posted. If they are not satisfied with their grade, they can convert it to a pass or fail grading. 

“The reason they might want to convert to an emergency fail is because those grades will not be calculated as part of the overall GPA,” Franken said. 

Franken also said CWU is doing its best to assist students in being successful during the changes taking place this quarter due to COVID-19. This grading option is part of what CWU is doing to try to help students.

“We’re really thinking about how we can best support students, particularly those who are not accustomed to learning online, so they can be successful throughout the semester,” Franken said.

ASCWU VP of Legislative Affairs Zackary Turner said this grading tactic will be helpful and provide accommodations for students that are not used to online classes. 

Turner said not everyone is handling the changes resulting from COVID-19 the same way. According to Turner, it can be especially difficult for people such as students who have children or students with behavioral disabilities. 

“We want to make sure [students] are staying in classes, we know that when you drop out for one quarter your odds of coming back are significantly lower,” Turner said.

Turner talked about how this grading accommodation is helpful for people who may not be used to an online learning environment. He said it can be useful to those who might usually be “A students” but find an online class more difficult or have technical difficulties resulting in a lower grade like a C.

“This gives [students] an accomodation that’s like, ‘I tried my best and I got a C, I’m usually an A student, but I got a C and that sucks,’” Turner said. “But now it’s not haunting them forever.”