Scripps Associated Students Endorses “Universal Pass” Grading Policy

Anna Liss-Roy ’20
April 21, 2020

On the morning of April 21, Scripps Associated Students (SAS) sent an email to the Scripps student body announcing its endorsement of a Universal Pass grading policy, a decision that was reached through a unanimous vote.

Under the Universal Pass policy, every Scripps student would pass their courses, regardless of which campus they are taking the class at, and would receive credit toward their major, general education requirements, and graduation.

This differs from Scripps’ current revised grading policy, under which students may opt-in to a Pass/Fail grading option but the default is still letter grades.

SAS cited grade equitability as a motivation for its endorsement. “As Scripps students, we are struggling with concerns relating to illness, consequences to mental health, job insecurity and unemployment, physical displacement, and many other difficulties,” said SAS the email sent this morning. “Among those most impacted by the pandemic will be the students without the resources and privilege to alleviate its effects.” According to SAS, this includes students of color, first generation students, low income students, immunocompromised students, and students dealing with mental health issues while in quarantine.

SAS’ endorsement follows weeks of organizing by student group “Nobody Fails at Scripps,” whose efforts have included sharing a survey to assess interest in a Universal Pass policy, engaging in discussions with faculty members, organizing email campaigns to pressure faculty members to consider the Universal A grading policy (since changed to Universal Pass after this policy was passed by Pomona on April 17), and organizing social media campaigns.

In a grading policy survey disseminated by 5C Students for Grading Equity, in which 66.2 percent of 5C students participated, a B+ grade floor and Universal Grade Inflation were the most popular choices, receiving 80.3 percent and 75.2 percent of votes respectively. 68.3 percent of students voted for Pass/Fail grading with the option of letter grades, 64.1 percent voted for Pass with the option of letter grades, 48.1 percent of students voted for Universal Pass, and 44.5 percent voted in support of Universal Pass/Fail.

Pomona is the only Claremont College that has instituted a Universal Pass policy. On April 10, Pitzer announced a pass/no credit grading policy, allowing students until May 15 to request letter grades. Harvey Mudd’s policy defaults to letter grades, allowing students until May 26 to opt-in to a pass/no credit option. Claremont McKenna students have until May 26 to opt-in to a credit/no credit grade, after letter grades are released May 20.

Scripps’ Faculty Executive Committee will meet Thursday to vote on the Universal Pass policy.
SAS will host an open forum through Zoom from 6-7pm PST on April 21, where Scripps students will be able to share thoughts, concerns, questions, and comments. Access to the forum can be found via this link: https://scrippscollege.zoom.us/j/91820929144?status=success
Questions can be submitted anonymously through the Google forum, also created by SAS, at the following link: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/sas-grading-policy

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Universal Grade Inflation and Universal Pass were the most popular choices. A B+ grade floor and Universal Grade Inflation were in fact the most popular choices. Universal Pass was actually the second to least favorable choice. The data attributed to the survey disseminated by 5C Students for Grading Equity have since been corrected.

Image Credit: YouTube