SGA plans to revise pass/no credit system


SGA House Meeting. Photo courtesy of Heesoo Yang.

By Tatum Smith

TCU’s Student Government Association (SGA) is pushing for a change in the pass-no credit system to keep students more engaged in class. 

Under the proposal, students who declare the pass-no credit option would be able to switch from a “P” on their transcript, which is the only grade you receive for passing a pass-no credit class, to the letter grade they earned in the class.

“In this, there would be a return to the heart of academics by providing an incentive to still earn a positive mark in a course because students have the opportunity to earn an A once they’ve elected pass-no credit,” said SGA President Josh Witkop. 

The revision focuses on the opportunity for students to learn and succeed in class.

SGA representatives in their weekly House of Representatives meeting.

“In that essence, we redeem the initial goal of the pass-no-credit system while providing students the opportunity to keep a grade they do in fact earn,” Witkop said.

Students cannot declare pass-no credit on major or minor classes, so Witkop said the current system has the potential to weaken the impact of TCU’s core curriculum.

Junior computer science major Blake Patterson agrees with Witkop.

“Once a student pass no-credits a class, they tend to no longer care about learning all the material presented within the class,” Patterson said. “All the student wants at that point is to earn the bare minimum to pass.”

Chancellor Victor Boschini also saw the good in this revision plan — he said it could benefit both students and professors by getting students to be engaged and excited about their classes, rather than worried about grades.

“It might make people more engaged in their classes, as I hope it will do,” Boschini said.

Students who elect pass-no credit cannot remove it once they’ve decided and it doesn’t transfer over if you change majors.

Anna Edwards, a sophomore strategic communication major, wants that to change that after she used a pass-no credit in a statistics class.

“I ended up having to take stats again because it was required for the major I ended up switching into,” Edwards said. “I wish that I could have removed the pass-no credit. I totally regret it to this day.” 

Dr. Elisa A. Foster with her class.

Witkop said this legislation would facilitate student degree navigation by allowing students a safety net to grasp their potential in a class and finish degree track courses strongly.

Witkop said if everything proceeds promptly, the revision could be effective for the fall 2020 semester.

Even with the change, students would still be limited to two pass-no credits that cannot be used for major or minor courses or associated requirements.

The pass-no credit deadline would also remain the same and once declared, students cannot reclaim that pass-no credit. The fall deadline is Nov. 12 and the spring deadline is March 31.

The Faculty Senate Student Relations Committee is reviewing the proposal. If it is approved, it moves to the Faculty Senate for a vote. 

If approved by Faculty Senate, it goes to the Provost/University Curriculum Committee, which makes the final decision.