Grading Policy Changes Considered

The SUNY New Paltz administrators set in place three recommendations for changes to the grading policy that were reviewed by the Academic Affairs Committee, the Academic Senate and faculty.

Plans are in the works to modify SUNY New Paltz’s current grading policy.

Two years ago, college administrators set in place three recommendations for changes to the grading policy. This fall, the proposals were reviewed by the Academic Affairs Committee, the Academic Senate and the faculty at an all- faculty meeting.

“New Paltz is a place where faculty, staff and students take academics seriously. These policies were not in line with serious academics,” said L. David Eaton, vice president of enrollment.

Student Association Vice President of Academic Affairs and Governance Ayanna Thomas, a member of the Academic Affairs Committee and the Academic Senate, said the administration recommended these changes  to the grading policy due to “budget constraints” and because “many students are getting locked out of classes because there’s so many students retaking courses.”

Proposals made by the administration are sent to the Academic Affairs Committee, who then sends it to the Academic Senate for review, and then the faculty review the proposals. The faculty makes the final decision, said Thomas.

The first proposal made administrators was to give students the ability to change their S/U option to a letter grade after the withdrawal deadline.

The S/U option provides students with the means to “experiment with courses that are harder than you think you can manage and not risk your grade point average,” said Eaton.

The current policy that’s in place now gives students up to three years to change an S/U to a letter grade.

When the Academic Affairs Committee received this proposal they modified the administrators’ proposal and recommended a new grade policy change that allows students to have a year to change an S/U option to a letter grade.

The S/U recommendation made by the Academic Affairs Committee was passed by the Academic Senate and faculty, said Thomas.

According to Eaton, the S/U option policy needed to be modified because the current policy is too flexible.

The second grade policy proposed by the administration was that students will only be allowed to repeat courses in which they received an initial grade of C minus or lower, said Thomas.

The current policy allows students to repeat a course no matter what grade the student received in their first course enrollment.

The second recommendation from the administration was revised by the Academic Affairs Committee to allow students to repeat a course if they received a grade of B minus or lower.

Thomas said this decision by the Academic Affairs Committee was made based on fiscal research from Eaton that showed that most students who do repeat courses had a B minus or lower.

This second recommendation was passed by Academic Senate but opposed by faculty at an all-faculty meeting; therefore, this policy will not go into effect.

The administration’s last proposal regards the replace grade option. They proposed that there should be a policy where “all circumstances a grade in the [repeated] course always replace an earlier grade in GPA calculations,” said Thomas.

This means that if students repeats a course, their second grade, not their highest, will be figured into their grade point average.

The  current policy in place for replace grading  is  that although both grades for the repeated course will appear on a student’s transcript, only the highest grade will be calculated into your accumulated grade point average.

Eaton supports the revision of this policy.

“We really want people to think really hard about repeating a course and to take it seriously,” said Eaton.

This revised proposal was passed by the academic senate and faculty.

These proposals won’t go into effect until next semester.