TCU should allow students to decide at the end of each academic year if they want to elect the Pass/No Credit option for one of their classes.
The university allows students to P/NC up to two classes during their undergraduate career. Often times, students exercise this option when they fear a low grade that could affect their GPA. However, once the decision is made to P/NC there is no longer an incentive for the student to try his or her hardest in the course.
If this could be a retroactive decision, students would no longer face the dilemma between working hard and only needing a passing grade. In the current system, there is a lack of incentive to achieve the best possible grade once a student selects P/NC. Since the student must only achieve a C or higher to pass the class, he or she does not have to strive to achieve that higher grade.
Creating this disincentive is a problem for universities that want students to contribute their full potential to every class, and TCU is a university that prides itself on student academic achievement, as stated in its core values.
Since each course’s individual grades receive varying percentage weights, many of the larger weighted items are not submitted until after the mid-semester P/NC deadline. Students are making a decision about the future of the class while only knowing a small portion of the grades for the course.
College students are stressed enough without having to predict what their grades will be for assignments not yet explained or completed.
And this lack of comprehensive knowledge about assignments leads students to make rash decisions when electing P/NC.
They do not always think through all of the potential grades that will bring the overall average to their desired goal. Students see a poor grade from only one or two assignments at the beginning of the semester, overreact, and elect P/NC.
This decision should not be taken so lightly.
It is a decision that can affect a student’s scholarship or even his or her major, and students need to set appointments with their advisers before choosing this option. However, since the decision has to be made in the middle of the semester, many students make the decision without consulting any outside advice.
And P/NC has larger implications than just two classes. For instance, a student who takes Introduction to Psychology in his or her first semester of freshman year and elects P/NC for that class midway through the semester will not receive credit for that course if he or she decides to change to a Psychology major the following semester.
Considering 80 percent of students change majors at least once, the decision to P/NC should be handled with greater weight.
Students should not be held responsible for such a impactful decision midway through a semester. They should make this decision at the completion of the year’s classes to reduce the number of rash decisions.
Making P/NC a retroactive decision will improve student performance.