Updated pass/no pass grading policy for California community college students
Community college students across the state have just been given a lifeline to stay in school. The California Community College Board of Governors has approved an updated pass/no pass grading policy to discourage students from dropping out.
Edward Borek is president of the Associated Student Government at San Diego’s Miramar College. He also works for the college part-time and is taking 17 units of credit this semester. Because of the pandemic, he often works from his dining room table.
“I’m stressing about getting that A to maintain a 4.0 GPA, getting no sleep and not taking care of myself,” he said, “just to get that 90 as opposed to an 89. If you’re taking pass/no pass you wouldn’t have to struggle so much to succeed.”
The updated policy allows students to decide whether they want a letter grade or a pass/no pass grade to protect their GPA until their last day of class in a semester.
“Students were struggling with remote instruction and struggling with family members being ill due to COVID,” said Adrian Gonzales, the vice president of Student Affairs at Miramar College. The pass/no pass option is designed to relieve some of the stress brought on by the pandemic.
“If, in a normal situation, they would have gotten an A, but, with everything they’re dealing with, got a C, this allows them to say: 'I’ll take a pass/no pass and not have to worry about the pressure of A, B or C on my transcript,'” Gonzales said.
It’s a calculated risk for students because the policy change does not apply to four-year universities that may still require traditional grading. It will be the student’s responsibility to work with a counselor on the best transfer options.
Edward Borek has not lost hope and will continue his hard work to finish a degree in business administration. After that he plans to complete an MBA or get accepted into law school. He might even look for a joint program. “I think you have to be optimistic and shoot for the stars,” he said.