Students to select grading scheme for spring courses, provost says

Sanjali De Silva | Senior Staff Artist

Sanjali De Silva, Senior Staff Reporter

Undergraduate students will now have the option to switch their courses to a P (Pass) / MP (Minimal Pass) / U (Unsatisfactory) structure.

Robin Forman, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, announced the new policy in an email to students on Monday.

Students are still able to receive traditional letter grades for their courses. Graduating students must chose their grading scheme by May 11 and all other undergraduates by May 21. These deadlines allow students to receive their letter grade before making their decision on what grading scheme to use.

The decision came as a result of the unique circumstances presented by the coronavirus pandemic, preventing some students from having access to a complete academic experience. In a change.org petition, over 2,500 people signed a petition urging Tulane administration to make all classes graded on a pass/fail basis.

“The last thing students need to worry about is how this utterly disrupted semester is going to affect their GPA,” the petition read. “… Technology is a wonderous boon to education, but it has its limits.”

Forman recommended in the email that students take do not take courses P/MP/U if possible.

“If you feel that the circumstances in which you find yourself did not allow you to do work that reflects your knowledge and ability, you will have the opportunity to switch to P/MP/U at that time,” Forman said in the email.

Students are allowed to take as many of their classes under the P/MP/U structure as they would like to, including courses that fulfill core requirements or apply to their major or minor.

A passing grade represents a C- or above, MP represents letter grades from D- to D+and U represents a failing grade.

Forman added that faculty members will not be notified which of their students have chosen to take their course P/MP/U and will still be required to report a letter grade for all students.

“At this time, we recognize that not every student is in an environment that is conducive to learning, and we do not want to see their academic progress impeded because of the current circumstances,” Forman said. “We also know that many students are taking key classes for which receiving a letter grade certifying their mastery of the material will be important.”

For students electing to take classes under the new grading scheme, the Registrar will be able to certify corresponding letter grades if a student requires one for an academic or professional opportunity.

Finally, the deadline to drop a class has been moved to Apr. 8, two weeks after the original deadline.