The Strategic Application of Alternative Grading to Improve Retention and Enhance Equity (Spring 2023)
Teshome Abebe and Michael Gillespie
Universities across the United States have been using the Pass/Fail grading system for a variety of reasons and in many different ways. There are so many uses of the system as there are universities.
In general, universities have used the Pass/Fail grading system to: help reduce stress and pressure on students; provide more flexibility in course selection and encourage students to explore and pursue interest without fear of damaging their GPA; reduce perceived discrimination and bias in grading, providing more equitable opportunities for all students regardless of race, socioeconomic status or prior academic background; and to improve retention rates by reducing the risk of failing a course and being unable to complete a degree or program. The case is made for a Pass/Fail grading system and suggested options are identified.
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