Dartmouth College students forced out of the classroom by the COVID-19 crisis won’t have to worry about the impact of remote learning on their GPAs, after the school announced current classes will be graded pass/fail.
“Spring term courses may be used for general education requirements and can be applied toward a student’s major but will not be factored into grade point averages,” Dartmouth Provost Joseph Helble said this week.
Other New Hampshire colleges soon could follow suit.
Helble said Dartmouth officials were concerned many students will have trouble keeping up with the remote learning courses for reasons beyond their control.
He cited technology challenges, time zone discrepancies and a lack of resources as more states and countries restrict movement and close public facilities like libraries. Students also could become ill with COVID-19 or may need to care for a family member who becomes ill, Helble said.
“While some students may thrive in this distance-learning scenario, we decided that uniform grading, for this term only, was the fairest way to support all of our undergraduate students, and would give our faculty time to focus on the content of their coursework while also providing the opportunity to develop assessments that can be used if remote learning continues into summer term,” Helble said.
Other schools in the Granite State are considering moving to a pass/fail system for the rest of the school year. Erika Mantz, the University of New Hampshire’s executive director of media relations, said a decision on undergraduate and graduate grading is coming soon.
Most colleges and universities have gone to remote learning for the remainder of the year.
Kelly Ricaurte, Keene State College’s director of strategic communications and community relations, said Keene State could also go pass/fail.
“This approach is being discussed as an option ... but a final decision is forthcoming,” Ricaurte said.
Mike Pezone, with Colby-Sawyer College in New London, said the school is offering students the option of pass/fail grading.
“We’ve actually extended our deadline for students to be able to choose ‘Pass/Fail’ grading as an option until April 13,” Pezone said. “‘Pass/Fail’ isn’t the ideal option for every class, so we are making it an option for students to discuss with their academic advisers.”