Unlike SIUC, SIUE is not planning to offer a pass/no credit grading option due to concerns regarding timing and possible long-term effects.
Denise Cobb, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, said the university is not planning to offer the option as they did last spring because this semester was not an unexpected change.
“We entered into this fall without the expectation of using a pass/no credit option this fall beyond its existence in current policy, because we felt like we had planned differently for this semester rather than the kind of abrupt changes that occurred in March and April and May in the Spring ‘20 semester,” Cobb said.
Cobb said SIUE has not received feedback from Student Government indicating that students want a pass/no credit option, as other universities have. However, Cobb said if student response indicated a need for the option, she would be open to listening.
“It’s not our current plan, but I also, if this is something we need to consider and investigate the possibilities for, I’m willing to have those conversations,” Cobb said.
One concern regarding a pass/no credit grading option is the long-term effect it may have on a student’s professional career, Cobb said.
“In the short term, I certainly understand why some students would’ve invoked that opportunity in spring of ‘20. In the long term, it’s unclear how it might affect opportunities for students to apply to graduate school, or professional school or for licensure,” Cobb said. “And so we wanted to be really clear that students needed to think ahead because, while a lot of licensure agencies and accrediting bodies were being flexible in the spring, we don’t know in the long term what that might look like.”
According to Cobb, another concern about implementing the grading option at this point is fairness.
“One of the considerations that I do think about is we’ve had students who have dropped courses or withdrawn already, and so changing late in the process, I do think about issues of fairness as well, right? Would those students have dropped or withdrawn had they known that a pass/no credit option would’ve existed? And so I just want to be really careful to think about how to best support students in this moment and how to be fair and equitable,” Cobb said.
Colin Boysen, a junior business major from Carpentersville, Illinois, said while he did not take the pass/no credit option in the spring, he thinks it should be offered again.
“Even though all of my classes are online, I don’t have any of them face-to-face, it’s nice for me to be able to go to the library and study and have those sorts of resources. I know there’s a lot of students out there who are at home or just are not in the best learning environment, so it’s not really their fault if their grades are suffering,” Boysen said. “So I think at least extend the option, even if students aren’t going to use it. Like if a student’s getting a B, they might not need it, but there’s some students who would benefit from that. It would be nice to throw them that lifeline, to say, ‘It’s not your fault that you’re struggling right now, more than usual.’”
Danielle Graf, a sophomore early education major from Warrenton, Missouri, also did not use the grading option in the past, but said she thinks it would help her this semester.
“I think this is the first semester as a whole that we’ve had to do completely online for many students, and also the add-on of like, a lot of students are at home, which adds extra stress for people. So I think that having a pass or fail option would give students less stress … I mean, it has been super stressful for all of them and I know some teachers haven’t necessarily taken it easier in any way,” Graf said.
See the grading guidance for taking a pass/no credit option on SIUE’s website.