Update 12/08/2022: This article has been updated to reflect comments from ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President James Weichert.
In response to a formal request from UC Berkeley’s ASUC, the Letters and Science executive committee has extended the pass/no pass late action deadline to Dec. 11 at 11:59 p.m. This change only applies to students in the College of Letters and Science.
Any request to change to pass/no pass submitted between now and the new deadline will not count towards the College of Letters and Science’s limit of two late actions, according to an email from Scott Saul, English professor and chair of the Letters and Science executive committee, and Jennifer Johnson-Hanks, demography professor and executive dean of Letters and Science, today. All passed grades, the email noted, can be used to fulfill Letters and Science essential skill requirements including reading and composition, quantitative reasoning and foreign language.
The email adds that while students can switch from letter grades to pass/no pass, they cannot switch back to a letter grade.
This change comes after the ASUC requested the executive committee adjust the emergency grading policy in light of the continued strike of UC academic workers and subsequent “disruption of learning and teaching,” the email says.
ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President James Weichert said students face the long-term impact of the strikes. Missing three to four critical weeks of instruction, labs and staff support has altered the scope of education available to students, he added.
“Students are being expected to perform or achieve at the same level as a ‘normal’ semester but this is not,” Weichert said. “It boils down to giving students the choice to make decisions based on what’s best for them, and their personal preferences and academic and professional goals.”
Weichert hopes the policy adjustment provides “tangible relief” for students, whom he encouraged to consult with the Student Advocate’s Office to address case-by-case concerns with emergency grading procedures.
Students face immense pressure under current grading systems, according to Weichert. He suggested follow-up conversations with campus to determine whether long-term changes to grading policies could be viable, following a trajectory he alleged has gained traction in recent years.
Despite the current changes, the email notes that the University of California still requires that undergraduates take two-thirds of their courses for a letter grade in order to graduate. In addition, the email says that departments within Letters and Science have discretion over whether to adjust the number of pass/no pass courses that can count towards each major.
Weichert noted major departments will notify students whether courses taken pass/no pass will count towards major credit, a process he hopes will occur “as quickly as possible.” He added that similar requests were sent to other colleges on campus, which he hopes will follow suit.
However, the email notes that students should consider all impacts that pass/no pass grades will have before making a decision.
“Student decisions to take a class P/NP can have consequences for a student’s academic and professional trajectory,” the email adds. “For example, high-impact majors within L&S often consider students’ academic performance in prerequisites and related coursework to determine whether to admit them to their major.”
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