New policy allows students choice in how courses are graded


Mesa College Office of Communications

Mesa College students can now opt to have certain classes graded as “pass/fail” instead of a traditional letter grade.

Dylan Wright, Staff Writer

A new grading policy has arrived in the San Diego Community College District, which may affect how students control their academic experience. 

According to the SDCCD, “students in good standing may elect to be graded on a pass/no pass basis when there is an option.” Students who choose to be graded with pass/no pass option are limited to 12 units completed on that basis, and may not take any courses required for their major as pass/no pass. The policy also states that “students who are planning to transfer to a four-year institution should review the pass/no pass acceptance policy of that institution.”

How might taking courses on a pass/no pass basis affect students’ transfer status? The office of the registrar at San Diego State University has a policy remarkably similar to what is being applied in the SDCCD. The policy at SDSU states that pass/no pass courses are limited to 15 units, and will not contribute to a student’s overall GPA. Mesa College student Cole Hurst said, “If I knew I would probably do that option for some of my general ed math classes I struggled with.”

Mesa professor Kevin Cox fully supports the policy saying “as a salute to mediocrity everywhere–and overcoming the challenge of taming classes that aren’t part of a major–I wholeheartedly support pass/fail courses.” 

It also has some pros and cons pertaining to GPA. For example, a student taking four classes this semester with two of those classes taken as pass/no pass, the performance of the graded classes will be what affects the student’s GPA. This means that if they perform poorly in their graded classes, they will not be able to help raise their GPA by performing better in their pass/no pass courses. On the other hand, a student who does well in their graded classes can take courses as pass/no pass without worrying about those courses potentially lowering their GPA.