Credit or fail

March 20, 2009 / Claire Potter’s idea for simplifying the first year grading scheme.

Claire Potter, with a proposal to save time in academic departments:

Make the freshman year credit-fail. This one’s tricky, but stay with me. There are roughly 800 first year students at Zenith: multiply by four courses and two semesters, that’s 6,400 final grades given in the first year alone. Then multiply by the roughly 4 grades pieces of work given in each course, that 25,600 grades that have to be decided! And since at least 20% of those grades will be below the grade of A-, that’s at least 5,120 incidents of upset students, at least half of whom (2,560) will want to see their professors for at least 15 minutes per incident to explain that they have never received such a grade before. Now you see where I’m going, don’t you? Think how much better it would be for the students not to stress out about grades their first year, and how much better for we, the faculty people not to have those stupid conversations about grades and spend our time teaching instead.

The money cataclysm inspiring more creative prioritisation.

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