Some colleges and universities in the United States have been struggling with student performance, particularly since they began spending more time protesting Israel or the police than on the classes they signed up for. And the DEI push concerning who does or doesn’t get admitted isn’t helping either. But no school wants to go public and say that they are graduating a bunch of sub-par students, right? Western Oregon University has joined the ranks of those who are finding creative solutions to these challenges. They will simply no longer issue failing grades to anyone such as “D-” or “F.” They will simply assign “no credit” to those who fail to complete the work in the hope that they will be less likely to drop out. Brilliant! (Fox News)
An Oregon university announced they will abandon failing letter grades, citing a “GPA fixation” that negatively impacts students.
Western Oregon University issued a news release earlier this month that revealed the school would be replacing “D-” and “F” grades with “no credit” to discourage undergrads from dropping out.
Students who do not earn a passing grade in their course will be required to repeat the course and demonstrate proficiency.
The university’s press release specified that there is a difference between receiving a failing grade and receiving a “no credit” grade. The NC grade will “not negatively impact student GPAs.” In other words, any course that students fail will be ignored and their GPA will only include the scores received in classes where they did well. So if you were taking seven courses this semester and you failed six of them but received a “B” in Transgender Women’s Philosophy (I haven’t checked, but I would wager they offer it), then you will be recorded as a “B student.”
Let’s stop and ask ourselves who is really being served by a policy like this. Are the parents who pay the hefty tuition costs for this school getting their money’s worth? Are the employers who might hire that “B student” after graduation getting all the information they need to determine the best candidates? Are the students themselves being served by being led to believe they’ve received a top-notch education when they have actually failed to learn the basics they will require in their chosen field of study?
Fox News reports that in the previous semester, 65% of the students who dropped out had received at least one “F” in their studies. Students who drop out stop paying tuition. This seems to be the problem that Western Oregon University was focusing on. But if students are earning an “F” in their coursework, might that not be suggestive of other, more serious problems? Perhaps their professors are not delivering the required information in an effective manner. Maybe the student wasn’t well enough prepared in high school to tackle this sort of work. Whatever the underlying cause, surely we can do better than simply passing them along as if everything was fine and launching them out into the professional world without the required skills to succeed.
One administrator told reporters that “GPA will now become a “true reflection” of “student success and course mastery” and failing grades will “no longer mask” their “demonstrated abilities.” What does that even mean? The entire idea of “course mastery” is that a student has mastered the underlying material offered in the course. You “demonstrate” those “abilities” through testing. What other metric do we have beyond job performance in their chosen field? And if you received an “F” in your class, it’s unlikely that the performance in question will lead to any new patent awards.
This is just more woke nonsense from the country’s collegiate system. Given the amount of money these schools charge for tuition, they should be providing something of value in return. And the only measure of that value is how well-prepared the students are to head out and thrive in the adult world. Nothing short of that should be acceptable.