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Pass/fail option not likely for spring, administrator says

13% opt in last spring, but option was missing last fall

By Ucari Morris
On February 22, 2021

Photo Credit:The Churchill Observer

NEW ORLEANS (February 22, 2021) – The pass/fail opt-in will not be an option this semester unless Dillard University takes another hit from the pandemic similar to that of spring 2020, according to Dr. Yolanda Page, vice president for Academic Affairs.

The pass/fail option was offered in spring 2020 but not last fall, and students were left wondering whether opt-in would be available this spring.

Page said,“At this point, there are no plans for a pass/fail option this semester. However, if we find ourselves in a situation similar to spring 2020, then the faculty will be asked to consider approving a pass/fail option.”

Registrar Robert Mitchell said 148 students, or 13 percent of the student census, opted for the P/D/F option in spring 2020.

Brea Porter, a sophomore film major from Houston, was among students who wanted the option last fall and is disappointed about not getting it this spring.

 “COVID is still a new and very scary thing for all individuals so I feel as though the least our school could do is give us an option,” Porter said.

Most recent statistics indicate Louisiana has had 424,000 cases and 9,466 deaths. That compares with national figures of 27.9 million cases and nearly a half-million deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Washington Post noted that the dead would fill a cemetery the size of Arlington National Cemetery and includes as nearly many people as live in Atlanta or Sacramento.

The CDC reported the number of cases and deaths are starting to decline as nearly 63.1 million vaccinations have been administered, but officials have expressed concern that the more contagious new variants will cause the numbers to start to rise again.

Though some students have complained about not having the option, Page explained there are pros and cons.

According to Page, “A pass/fail option can be beneficial to students who are in a class where the grade will allow them to pass but may cause their GPA to fall.  For example, a student who has a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average might choose a pass in a class where he/she might earn a C or D because that grade would lead to a decline in the cumulative grade-point average.”

However, Page added, the “cons” of the pass/fail option includes affecting graduate school admission,  financial aid and club requirements. For example, a graduate school review committee might review a student's application negatively if it sees a “P” instead of a letter grade, or a student might be deemed ineligible for a scholarship.


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