WSU working on possible credit/no credit grading option


Selena Favela

Empty lecture hall within the McKnight Art Center on Monday, March 23, 2020.

UPDATE: A credit/no credit option is available for undergraduate students for the spring semester. A satisfactory/unsatisfactory option will be available for graduate students.

Wichita State is looking into implementing a credit/no credit grading option for the spring semester.

While many institutions are implementing a pass/fail grading system, the proposed credit/no credit system would not penalize students’ GPAs for failing to attain credit.

Under such a system, individual students would choose at the end of the semester whether they want to be assessed by this credit/no credit criteria or receive a letter grade for a course.

The possible plan was announced at a virtual town hall earlier last week.

On the panel for the town hall were University President Jay Golden, Student Body President Kitrina Miller, Provost Rick Muma, Dean of Students Aaron Austin, and Instructional Design and Access Manager Carolyn Speer. 

Muma said that while WSU doesn’t currently have a pass/fail option they can use, a plan is being formulated.

“What we’re looking at is to have a plan where the faculty will continue to grade as they normally do, and at the end of the semester, there will be a process by where students can go in and if they choose to receive credit or no credit,” Muma said.

“Again, we’re still working out the details.”

In order for that to happen, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee will either have to review or acknowledge the change. They’ll meet this week to discuss the change, Muma told The Sunflower in an email.

He said that along with the plan come a number of important points that students need to be aware of. 

“The courses that you’re currently enrolled in, all of them count towards a degree program,” Muma said. “When we switch to . . . credit/no credit . . . we need to make sure that everybody understands that may or may not count towards your degree program.”

Muma said that’s why it’s important for individual students to choose the grading criteria that works best for them.

“We will probably have a process where you can go in and make that decision at the end of the semester after you’ve completed all the requirements for the course,” Muma said. “There’ll be many of you who want to get an A or B or a C or whatever and not get a no credit or credit option because there may be ramifications for you later on.”

Muma said that with his experience as a graduate student at an institution that followed a pass/fail system, it can cause some confusion. He said he is working with the Faculty Senate to figure out issues beforehand.

I a pass fail grading scale for my entire degree and when I transferred to another institution, it was very difficult to make sure people understood what that . . . meant,” Muma said. “We’re trying to bring all those issues forward, making sure that we’re making . . . a good decision for the benefit of all the students.”