UTA to implement temporary pass/fail grading system for a limited number of fall classes

The setting sun reflects off the UTA tower Jan. 19 on the corner of UTA Boulevard and Cooper Street.

UTA plans to implement a temporary pass/fail grading system for a limited number of fall 2020 classes, according to an Office of the Provost email sent Wednesday.

Implementation plans will be developed in the coming days, according to the email. More information will be released via email and posted online the week of Dec. 7.

“We understand the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous personal challenges and a semester like none other for students,” said Pranesh Aswath, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Because of the resulting hardships experienced by many students, UTA will implement a temporary Pass/Fail Policy for a limited number of courses in the Fall 2020 semester.”

Any questions regarding the system can be submitted here.

The announcement comes after UT-Austin announced pass/fail implementation earlier in the day.

During the first virtual Q&A segment of Tea with Teik on Nov. 12, interim President Teik Lim said the university had no plans to implement a pass/fail grading system for the fall or spring.

Lim said fall semester courses had not experienced disruption like the spring semester.

Many students had previously voiced their frustrations via social media. Student Senate had also worked on a resolution regarding a pass/fail grading system.

Student Body President Blaize LaFleur reached out to Aswath and additional administrators about the growing impact the pandemic has had on students’ class performance. She requested the pass/fail grading option for the fall term, Aswath said in a statement to The Shorthorn.

LaFleur said she didn’t initially advocate for the grading system since it didn’t seem feasible this semester.

“I just accepted that, and I was like, ‘OK, no one's really doing pass/fail again,’” she said. “It's just something that we're going to have to deal with.”

Student Government conducted a Maverick Opinion Board in October to gain students’ perspectives on how they felt about the semester, she said.

According to the survey results prepared by LaFleur, more than 75 students commented about their dissatisfaction with the semester. She had prepared the results to send to Aswath and other administrators when she discovered UT-El Paso had implemented pass/fail this semester.

She discussed how the university implemented the grading system with their Student Body president.

“It kind of reignited the fire, and I was like, ‘we can totally do this,’” LaFleur said.

Aswath discussed the request with Lim, then reached out for input and perspective from university governing bodies, including the Faculty Senate, the undergraduate and graduate assemblies and the deans and associate deans of each college.

Faculty and academic departments will approve each course that will apply toward pass/fail.

“The general sentiment among the whole faculty was to help our students to cope and succeed in their programs,” Aswath said.

This story has been updated with new information.



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