American University To Stop Giving Students Bad Grades?

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( – Western Oregon University has decided to move away from traditional failing grades, introducing a new system where “D-” and “F” grades will be replaced with “no credit” (NC). This change aims to mitigate the adverse effects of GPA obsession on student morale and persistence, encouraging students to stay in school by not allowing failures to affect their overall GPA.

Under this new system, students who do not achieve a passing mark will need to retake the class until they reach the required level of proficiency, but without the burden of a failing grade lowering their GPA. This decision was influenced by university data indicating a high dropout rate among freshmen who received at least one “F.”

Jose Coll, the Vice President of Academic Affairs at the university, emphasized that this initiative is designed to better reflect students’ true academic achievements and competencies. He critiqued the traditional reliance on GPAs and standardized test scores like the SAT and ACT as outdated measures that fail to accurately represent a student’s capabilities and potential for success in higher education.

In response to concerns about grade inflation, Coll defended the policy change by questioning the effectiveness of the current grading system and standardized testing in truly measuring student abilities. He advocates for a more individualized approach to education, where students are evaluated based on their strengths and provided with the support they need to succeed, drawing a parallel with his experience in the Marine Corps where additional training was provided to those who did not initially qualify.

Coll also pointed out that skill-based assessments are already a crucial part of many professional fields such as nursing, firefighting, and counseling, where demonstrating competency is essential. He suggests that such assessments can be an effective way to gauge student learning and proficiency.

This move by Western Oregon University comes amid broader discussions about grade inflation in higher education, with reports from prestigious institutions like Yale and Harvard showing a significant percentage of students receiving high grades, sparking debates about academic standards and evaluation methods.

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